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Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade | [Walter Kirn]

Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade

In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a 15-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2014 - While a burgeoning novelist in the late 1990s, Walter Kirn began a peculiar friendship with the enigmatic and flamboyant Clark Rockefeller. The creative side of Kirn was drawn to Rockefeller's eccentric personality; however as time went by, Kirn uncovered a startling truth: that his 'friend' was in fact a cold-blooded killer. This true crime tale is brought to life by Stephen Bel Davies, an Audible listener favorite, who has already declared Blood Will Out the best work of nonfiction he's narrated. I could feel his appreciation for the material and respect for Kirn seep through his performance, which only enhanced the inherent drama. A chilling memoir, Blood Will Out has given me a greater interest in the true crime genre (even though it kept me up at night). —Katie, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

An In Cold Blood for our time, a chilling, compulsive story of a writer unwittingly caught in the wake of a grifter-turned-murderer.

In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a 15-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend’s murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew - a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself.

Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition, and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.

©2014 Walter Kirn (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (159 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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3.3 (138 )
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3.5 (139 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Sharon GLEN ELLEN, CA, United States 05-03-14
    Sharon GLEN ELLEN, CA, United States 05-03-14 Member Since 2012

    I am a lifelong lover of books. I got my degree in English & worked in the publishing business for many years. Now I work with wildlife.

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    "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz - this one put me to sleep"

    A really disappointing read. I kept hoping it would get better, but it never did. The narration didn't help either. The only remotely likable character in it was Shelby, the dog. I heard Walter Kirn interviewed on a couple of radio shows and that made me feel that I wanted to read the book. If I hadn't been stuck reading it on a trans Atlantic flight, I probably would have returned it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 03-08-14
    Melinda UT 03-08-14 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compilation of old news"

    Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller was a fascinating character that captivated the country's attention in 2008, even earning a place on Top Ten Imposters of All Time lists, and an FBI *Most Wanted* poster. The wanna-be Mr. Ripley had assumed the roles of art collector, ship's captain, talk show host, even a Pentagon Advisor before being captured and charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder. All the juicy ingredients for a possibly fascinating book, especially when the author is a journalist and a personal friend of the chameleon -- but author Kirn's disappointing shot misses the target. Was Kirn hoping for a comparison to one of the great crime non-fiction novels? BLOOD Will Out...In Cold BLOOD?...that's where the similarities end. But, Capote's In Cold Blood, consider to be one of the best true-crime novels ever written, is a tough act to follow.

    Blood Will Out, unfortunately, is not even on the same path. Not a chapter sheds new light, or insight, on the case against Rockefeller, or the man of many aliases. What Kirn delivers instead of smart revealing look at a psycho jackpot turns out to be nothing more than a lazy compilation of what we already know about Rockefeller, with some unspectacular personal interactions that come across as uninteresting petty incidents, even jealousies. The book lacks the research and professional polish to be an intriguing true story of a murder, or a mystery, and ends up masquerading as a limp re-hashed story. Wish it wasn't so. I followed the case and was hoping for a riveting new book and didn't even get a riveting chapter. [*Not a total wash. If this case is new to you, you might find this interesting.]



    24 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 03-08-14
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 03-08-14 Member Since 2012

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

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    "Lacked substance"

    I really enjoy true crime novels, but this one was more a story about two friends, and the lies one told the other, than it was about the crime. I actually liked Kirn's writing, his descriptions, humor and wit (which is why it gets 3 stars); but somewhere in the book I was hoping the crime story would take center stage. It never really did though, this book majored in the minor details of Kirn's relationship with Clark Rockefeller. Once I realized the book wasn't ever going to hook me, it became hard to finish.

    Although this book was a disappointment to me, I liked Kirn's writing style enough that I will look for other books by him. The narrator did an excellent job of reading this story.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-07-14
    Jean Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-07-14 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself! I practice criminal law, a member of the Arizona State Bar, love to read like everyone who loves this site.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "DON'T HESITATE. BUY THIS BOOK."
    What did you love best about Blood Will Out?

    The author's rapier wit and dynamic prose. Also loved the incredible story and Mr. Kirn's honest self-reflection.


    What other book might you compare Blood Will Out to and why?

    I think this book is one of a kind. However, you could compare it to Ann Rule's book on Ted Bundy wherein the author also has a personal relationship with the subject. However, Ms. Rule is not witty and her prose style does not match Mr. Kirn.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Of course, we all wait for the scene in which the crook is caught. However, I loved the scenes in which Mr Kirn is forced to pay the check time and again, and is always somehow wounded.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the moment where Mr. Kirn decides to write Clark's story and says to himself "look in your wallet; now look in mine."


    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Marcon 03-07-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Story about unbelievable con man"

    This book is about an unbelievable con man from the perspective of a person who was conned from when they met until the end of the murder trial in 2013. The author is very honest about how he was duped and his own culpability into falling for this con man. If the book intrigues you, then go back and download "The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" which is more of a fact based book but was written before the murder trial and focuses on the kidnapping trial. I just was looking at a You Tube interview which included both authors so they compliment each other. If you find the concept of how a psychopath can fool an author writing about him, you may also be interested in "True Story" by Michael Finkel.

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Charleston Chicago, IL USA 08-19-14
    Robin Charleston Chicago, IL USA 08-19-14 Member Since 2007

    avid reader

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    "Bizarre and interesting in an icky sort of way"
    What did you love best about Blood Will Out?

    Didn't really love it, but I was fascinated by the gullibility of the narrator/author, the evilness of the main character, and the overall bizarreness of the events that the book recounts.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most interesting was how thoroughly and devastatingly the villain of the book conned just about everyone.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I didn't really like any of the parts involving the poor dog.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Revelation of how an innocent person was taken advantage of and murdered.


    Any additional comments?

    Just bizarre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    patricia bitker-golan Israel 07-20-14
    patricia bitker-golan Israel 07-20-14 Member Since 2006
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    "You must read the Mark Seal book first"

    "The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" will give you the factual parts of the story, and is a fascinating read. This book is a personal and intimate recording of how the author was duped. There has been a lot of publicity surrounding the publication, and reviews have generally been good. I really liked it, but it would have made little sense had I not read the Mark Seal book first (which ends before the guilty verdict for murder is pronounced.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet United States 07-15-14
    Janet United States 07-15-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Disconnected"
    What disappointed you about Blood Will Out?

    It was way too drawn out. Too much detail and not enough story......kept jumping around. Finally stopped listening because nothing was happening!


    Has Blood Will Out turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I will still read books of this genre, but will never again purchase a book by Walter Kim.


    What three words best describe Stephen Bel Davies’s performance?

    Boring, boring, boring


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Memyselfhjb Arnolds park, ia, United States 03-21-14
    Memyselfhjb Arnolds park, ia, United States 03-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Walter Kirn not write"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes, number one the writer of this book was boring, and I found that I was not able to pick up whatever he was trying to put down. So if the story was interesting which from what I could gather it was not, another author maybe.


    What was most disappointing about Walter Kirn’s story?

    The lackluster story, or non story if you will.


    What three words best describe Stephen Bel Davies’s performance?

    Complex yet boring


    Did Blood Will Out inspire you to do anything?

    Try another book.


    Any additional comments?

    Key point, the name Rockefeller always sells.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Natick, MA, United States 03-17-14
    John Natick, MA, United States 03-17-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Whynning all the way!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Better narration, a better story, staying within topic of the story. Keeping with the main character as the villain instead of the incessant whining


    What could Walter Kirn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    kept on topic


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Bel Davies?

    Most anyone else


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Blood Will Out?

    Delve more into the earlier days which brought attention to the character.


    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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