I first read "In Cold Blood" when it first came out in 1966, when I was just a kid growing up in a dusty little prairie farming town not very different from Holcombe, Kansas. At the time, I took Capote's rendition of the lives of the Clutter family for granted -- it was all I knew. Didn't everyone live like that?
I've since learned different, of course. Not only does 'everyone' not live like that, but hardly anyone does, or not anymore, anyway. Just as 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Truman Capote's friend Harper Lee defined a certain kind of life in the south, just as did 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' by Betty Smith define life in Brooklyn, so Capote's 'In Cold Blood' defines the essence of prairie life in the 1950's. For that reason alone, it's an American classic.
Since then, I reread the book a couple of times, just because I became a dedicated fan of Capote's writing (if not of his lifestyle). But never has the brilliance of his writing come home to me as it did, in listening to Scott Brick reading it. The book and narration constitute a masterwork, by any standard. Yes, Capote perfectly captured the rhythm of life in rural Kansas, but it seems to me he was just as adept at getting inside the minds of the ruthless killers. I haven't any standard to measure that, of course, but the killers are just as believable as were the Clutter family, their traipse through Mexico and back again just as real.
This is an audiobook I will listen to again and again -- honestly, I might not read it again, but listen again? Absolutely. So many nuances jump out at you when you're listening, little details your eye might skim over when you're reading it. What's really interesting is how scary this book is, even though there's very little gore, in the purest sense. Today we're bombarded with 'serial killer' books, with detailed descriptions of the horrors they perpetrate on their victims. You won't find that here, and yet the horror comes through with an even greater impact.
This is a brilliant book, genius-class, for sure. And the narration couldn't possibly be better. This book belongs in everyone's home library. Don't miss it.
In this amazing book, Capote managed to explore the lives of ordinary people, and mesh them into a spellbinding epic. In order to appreciate the human and social values laced into the narrative, it is important that the reader know the events that lead of the making of the book before reading it. When it was published in 1966 the said events were probably still fresh in the readers' memories. Knowing the end that all the protagonists met with brings every detail of the story to a monumental scale.
The narrator Scott Brick can do no wrong. As usual he serves the book with intelligence and sensitivity.
From Austen to zombies!
In Cold Blood isn't a mystery. It's more or less a true crime novel, detailing the murder of a family in sparsely-populated Western Kansas.
It's also more than that. The author gives us detailed psychological and biographical portraits: of the two men who committed the crime, of the Clutter family, and of the place they live. Those looking for a sensational Manson-type true crime experience will be disappointed.
But if you have ever wondered why people would kill total strangers, this book is for you. Masterfully structured, the book builds sympathy for the victims as well as the killers and the town, while the actual crime takes a back seat. The author shows us a criminal who isn't really a criminal, a "nice guy" who maybe isn't such a nice guy after all, a town that trumpets its homey friendliness--but how homey is it really, and how friendly, especially toward outsiders?
The psychological quality of the novel is close to that of Albert Camus's The Stranger, another book in which a senseless murder is committed.
The book is also beautifully written; the author's prose is of a quality seldom seen in popular fiction. Capote gives us an astonishingly sharp portrait of middle America in the Eisenhower years, in the days before cable TV and the Internet brought other cultures within reach of "country folk," as one killer's mother describes herself.
Enjoy Scott Brick's quality narration as you decide for yourself who the good guys and the bad guys really are.
I expected this to be a good listen, since the book has been both a critical and popular since success since the 60's. It turned out to to be the most engrossing audiobook I have enjoyed to date. It is of course very well written, but I think the masterful reading by Scott Brick is what put it over the top for me. If you like true crime, mysteries, etc., I could not recommend a book more highly.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
In Cold Blood is true tale of a grizzly set of murders of four of the Clutter family in Kansas. Set in 1959, Capote brings this tale to vivid life and Technicolor description. I especially like the way he helps you to get to know each character -- good and bad; he also gives you excellent depth in the supporting characters. From the depth of these characterizations, he weaves a very descriptive tale which draws the listener forward through charter and verse.
Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators and he brings an added bonus to the work. This novel will be liked by the who-dunnit crowd even though who-dunnit is know; the thriller people will love it as well. Add this book to the bucket list!
I'm a new fan of the author. You'll believe you've watched this first hand, the writing takes you into the home and into the heads of every character. Really a great book.
A great book. It's amazing how in depth he gets into the lives of everyone surrounding the case. A really captivating story.
The only funny thing is, after seeing Capote the movie, to note that although he has put in so much detail, he purposely left himself out of the book, when he actually got quite close to Perry Smith and played a role in getting the guys good lawyers and such when they were on death row. The only time he hints at himself is when he mentions "a reporter" who made frequent visits to the prisoners.
but nevermind all of that. The book is great.
I'm not totally unfamiliar with Truman Capote's work, but I never got around to reading "In Cold Blood" before. I now see why it is seen as an American masterwork, and Capote's personal magnum opus. I felt totally pulled into the story and couldn't put down---the prose is mesmerizing, the story itself is captivating and Scott Brick is perfectly suited for this reading.
For those who aren't really familiar with the book, a short synopsis: This is a "true crime" story about the murder of the Clutter family in the small western Kansas town of Holcomb, and the story of the murderers and the aftermath of the crimes. It isn't a mystery---we know from the outset who committed the crimes and that they were caught---but the details of the criminals' ongoing escape, the pursuit and the reaction of the small community provide a stunning story.
One word of warning: This book is pretty graphic in places with regard to the state of the murder victims. Not for small children or the squeamish.
It took me a while to get up the nerve to buy this and listen to it. Listening to a true story about a horrible murder is not always easy. The author's approach made it much more interesting. I see why this book has endured for decades.