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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 (200 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (66)
2 star
 (30)
1 star
 (19)
Overall
3.3 (176 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (48)
2 star
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1 star
 (16)
Story
3.5 (176 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
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2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (14)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Lukas 04-08-14
    Lukas 04-08-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Hear the Fresh Air review first"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It could be shorter, more linear.


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

    Walter Kirn's voice is perfect to read his own books.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Stephen Bel Davies?

    Yes.


    Do you think Blood Will Out needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to Walter Kirn on NPR Fresh Air. It will give you the best clues on his subject.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray West Deptford, NJ, United States 03-27-14
    Ray West Deptford, NJ, United States 03-27-14 Member Since 2013

    Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    123
    96
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Author on a Shrink's Sofa"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Perhaps people who didn't know most of the story ahead of time.


    Would you recommend Blood Will Out to your friends? Why or why not?

    I doubt that most of my friends would enjoy the presumptuous writing style.


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

    Pedestrian, Acceptable, Monotonous.


    What character would you cut from Blood Will Out?

    The book is too much about the author, Walter Kern, and not enough about the imposter Clark Rockefeller,


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 4 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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    107
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    W Perry Hall 03-06-14 Member Since 2015

    Seemingly hexed and often perplexed by the constant texting which I find most vexing

    HELPFUL VOTES
    601
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    553
    135
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    31
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Newsworthy Woes of a Willing Dupe"

    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.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Ellisville, MO, USA 03-23-14
    Dennis Ellisville, MO, USA 03-23-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Story
    "One 20/20 episode"
    Would you try another book from Walter Kirn and/or Stephen Bel Davies?

    Never ever.


    What was most disappointing about Walter Kirn’s story?

    It was Walter Kirn's story. I wanted to read more about the subject the book was supposed to be about. Please retitle this book "All about Walter Kirn and How He was Duped". Do you really think it was significant to the story of Clark Rockefeller that Walter Kirn was married to Margot Kidder's 19 year old daughter when Kirn was 35?

    The book read more like an angry letter from a jilted girlfriend. The lack of knowledge about court proceedings doesn't drop Kirn from talking about them. He just repeats what the knowledgeable court reporters told him..

    If you saw this story on TV and want to know more, don't buy this book. Terrible, simply terrible.


    What about Stephen Bel Davies’s performance did you like?

    He conveyed the bitchiness of Kirn's writing very well.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Extreme disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    Avoid this book. Wait for the sequel, "More about me" by Walter Kirn. And if you ever have dinner with Kirn, make sure you pay your half of the bill, or he might write a book about you.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    McCaleb New York, NY, United States 03-23-14
    McCaleb New York, NY, United States 03-23-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    1
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    0
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    "terrific"
    What made the experience of listening to Blood Will Out the most enjoyable?

    the sensibility of the writer in relation to the enigmatic Clark. Fascinating inspection of both men,


    What does Stephen Bel Davies bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'd probably enjoy it just as well reading it - but the actor has an unbelievable command of accents.


    Any additional comments?

    Brilliant. Part memoir, part mystery.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MartinaF 06-26-14
    MartinaF 06-26-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
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    "Fascinating Book"
    What made the experience of listening to Blood Will Out the most enjoyable?

    The story of the author's (sometimes self-serving) friendship with a psychopath and killer is truly fascinating. It's well paced and keeps the listener's interest.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The psychopathy of the book's subject, and the self-reflective relationship of the author to the subject.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen Bel Davies’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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