I had an audible credit, and I had no idea what to use it on, and I
asked the Internets, or Facebook, and someone suggested In Cold Blood. And I’ve
also wanted to read it for a while. So I guess it gave me the push to actually
read it/listen to it. I’ve also seen the Philip Seymour Hoffman movie, Capote,
which is based on the time when he wrote In Cold Blood, which also made me want
to read it. Anyway. Review? Yes.
In Cold Blood is a True Crime story about the murder of the Clutter
family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Capote heard about the murders, got really
interested, and went to Kansas to write about it. The murderers were Dick
Hickock and Perry Smith. They killed the Clutters for the supposed fortune on
the farm. The book tells the story leading up to the murders, and then the investigation
of the murders. It also tells the story of what Dick and Perry get up to before
they’re caught. And it follows them until they’re hanged.
I really liked it, it was really interesting. It was gorgeous and
I realize that Truman Capote took quite a bit of artistic license. He
writes from the perspectives of the Clutters, the investigating agent, and
Perry Smith. It’s very engaging to read from the perspectives of all these
I really liked reading about Dick and Perry’s relationship. They seem to
both love and hate each other, and being around each other. Perry admits that
he killed all four Clutters, but there seems to be some uncertainty over who
actually killed them. Dick and Perry met in jail, and Perry seems to be a
complete psycho, but he also feels sorry for himself. He was of mixed Cherokee
and Irish descent and he seems to have felt a lot of resentment over that. And
it makes him feel a bit persecuted, which I thought was interesting. He also
wants to be very manly. He is physically strong, but he was in an accident, so
his legs are short, and damaged, and that makes him very self-conscious, so he
sort of over compensates. He has lied to Dick, to make him think that he’s more
badass and dangerous than he is.
There aren’t really any chapters from Dick’s perspective, so we only see
Dick through Perry’s eyes. He’s seen as this dangerous psychopath by Perry, and
he definitely is. While it seems like Perry is the one that kills the Clutter
family Dick is the one who heard about the Clutter family, and decided kill
them for their money, and he brings in Perry. And he is the one who decides
they should kill them, he also considers assaulting Nancy Clutter, the
16-year-old daughter in the family, but Perry, in a moment of very weird and
misguided attempt at mercy, kills her before Dick can do that. Dick also
suggests, while they’re on the run, that they hitchhike, kill the driver and
steal their car. Because that’s not creepy. Obviously because we see Dick
through Perry’s eyes we can’t know what Dick is actually thinks. Apparently Truman
Capote talked more to Perry, so he got to know him better, so we learn more
about Perry. Dick also consistently tried to get his death sentence overturned,
and insists he is innocent.
What struck me most about the crime is that it seemed very senseless. It
didn’t seem rational, in any way. Now I realize that murder isn’t rational, and
it doesn’t make sense, but I didn’t see why they needed to kill the Clutter
family. They could have just taken off and run to Mexico, and it would probably
be harder to catch them, and probably less likely to get them caught. It seems
like Perry just went into a frenzy and killed them, but it also felt really…
weird. Why would you need to kill them? I realize it’s something that happened,
and I’m not criticizing the book, I’m just… They’re stupid fucking criminals.
The writing was gorgeous. It’s really beautiful and magical. And its
very natural, and the conversations between Dick and Perry were just great.
It’s so gorgeous and I’d like to read it again.
As I said I listened to this on audiobook, read by Scott Brick. Which had his pros and cons.
It was beautifully read. I felt like Scott Brick was just telling a story,
rather than reading a book, which I really loved. He also reads it in a sort of
slow Kansas drawl, which I really enjoyed, it made it feel more authentic
somehow. I just really liked having it read to me. The only negative was that
it didn’t really have chapter breaks, so I felt like I had to listen to it in
one go or sort of stop it in the middle of a chapter. I feel like that would be
easier if I read it in paper format. I would see the chapter breaks and the
paragraph breaks. So while I really loved the audiobook I think I’d read the
paper book if I wanted to read it again.
I really loved it. It was beautifully written, and it was beautifully
narrated. There was always this sense of drama and tension, and even though
it’s based on a real event and I knew how it would end, I was really worried
about how it would end. I was nervous they wouldn’t catch the killers. So that’s
good. I loved it.