This was my pick for the “read a True Crime novel” for the ReadHarder Challenge 2018.
I have never read a true crime novel so I didn’t know what to expect. But I selected In Cold Blood as it was to be the birth of a genre. Why not start at the beginning when you are starting something new, right?
I am amazed I refrained from googling anything in the book to prevent spoilers. I didn’t even search for a picture of the murderers before after I finished the book.
In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
Synopsis by GoodReads
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
the social science
characterisation of the victims
Despite the dark topic and the fact that it’s a true story I really enjoyed this book.
The story is divided into sections related to the course of the case. It starts by introducing the murder victims and describing their last day. It’s mostly dramatised. This section ends by informing the reader that this was their last day. Then it moves to the killers and describes their day before the murder and everything leading up to the murder. Then we turn to the local population and what evolved after the crime and how it was discovered. The story then reverts back to the killers on their journey to freedom. We now get two sides to the story as we at the same time follow the detectives on their hunt for the killers unknown. These two points of view connect and the final phase of the book is about the court case and eviction.
Its basically a true crime tv show without the ads and the repetition.
I really liked how the author has personalised the characters in this story. As far as I know, he didn’t know any of the ones involved and based it all on account from other sources. But I still felt as if I got a connection to both the victims and the killers. I didn’t feel the killers were as bad as they were before the court case happened and we got that contrast of a normal human being vs these killers. It was very well done.
This is a multi-perspective view and there is a lot of bak and fords between narrators. There were points in the book when I was confused as to who was actually speaking. This had mainly due to the fact that when the narration changes you aren’t told, or I wasn’t told in the version I read.
Apart from that I had no issues with the writing and found it very engrossing.
I highly enjoyed this book and it felt more fiction than real life even though it had some photos etc. Yes, the real-life events this book is based on are horrific and not “enjoyable”. But the book as a whole was very “enjoyable” even though it’s the wrong word to use… I don’t know which word to use, maybe “entertaining” covers it.
I highly recommend this if you want to start off in true crime or are doing the ReadHarder challenge and havent read a true crime novel yet.
Have you read this? What did you think?