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.
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.
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.
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.]
"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.)
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
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.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
The infinite mysteries of the human psyche are confirmed in this potent, albeit unpleasant, literary reflection of an Ivy League dupe (Kirn) to a murderous, metamorphic mephistopheles, Christian Gerhartsreiter a/k/a Clark Rockefeller a/k/a [...etc.]
Kirn centers his tale on a seemingly sacrificial Gordon setter named Shelby. I wish I could say I found it compelling, but Kirn's literary style seemed to overly force his focus on the symbolic Shelby, to the point I found it a bit affectatious. To me, more powerful was Kirn's retrospective of how he was (willingly) blind to the signs about his "friend" "Clark" and of his gradual realization of the truth, peppered by Kirn's own shortcomings.
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.
Most interesting was how thoroughly and devastatingly the villain of the book conned just about everyone.
I didn't really like any of the parts involving the poor dog.
Revelation of how an innocent person was taken advantage of and murdered.
People who want to know more about Walter Kirn. This is more about him than the guy pretending to be Clark Rockefeller.
Maybe if it's fiction. I did like "Up in the Air."
The scenes that are specifically about Walter Kirn, like where he describes hanging out with famous people like JFK Jr., his mother and her opinons, and all the namedropping.
I didn't finish this book because I was learning nothing about this Clark Rockefeller person. If you want to read or listen to a well-written book about a bad guy, try "Whitey Bulger" by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy. I'm learning nothing about Cullen or Murphy--only about Bulger. And it's fascinating stuff.
It could be shorter, more linear.
Walter Kirn's voice is perfect to read his own books.
Listen to Walter Kirn on NPR Fresh Air. It will give you the best clues on his subject.
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
Perhaps people who didn't know most of the story ahead of time.
I doubt that most of my friends would enjoy the presumptuous writing style.
Pedestrian, Acceptable, Monotonous.
The book is too much about the author, Walter Kern, and not enough about the imposter Clark Rockefeller,
The narrative jumps around too much. Unfortunately I had heard an interview about the book on NPR. The interview was well done, but the book didn't live up to my expectations.
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.
The lackluster story, or non story if you will.
Complex yet boring
Try another book.
Key point, the name Rockefeller always sells.
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