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In Cold Blood | [Truman Capote]

In Cold Blood

Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s a story that most people know, told here in an unforgettable way – an audio masterpiece that rivals the best thrillers, thanks to Capote genre-defining words and Brick’s subtle but powerful characterizations. 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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: To experience Truman Capote's genre-defining work for the first time with Scott Brick at the helm was a real treat. Brick's understated inflection and characterizations of the victims and the killers are subtle, but powerful. This riveting listen - a true audio masterpiece - rivals the best thrillers. —Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

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.

©1965 Truman Capote; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The resulting chronicle is a masterpiece, agonizing, terrible, possessed, proof that the times, so surfeited with disasters, are still capable of tragedy." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 09-09-06
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 09-09-06 Member Since 2005

    From Austen to zombies!

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    "Portrait of a town with two killers"

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 12-12-09
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 12-12-09 Member Since 2015
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    "Masterpiece!"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 02-07-08
    Linda 02-07-08

    Saltlady

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    "I'll Never Look at a Stranger the Same Way"

    I had heard of In Cold Blood all of my life, but I had never read it. I decided to download it and it has been an incredible experience! Scott Brick was captivating as he brought each character to life in such a way that you felt they, themselves, were speaking. I found Capote's writing masterful, eloquent, beautiful and haunting as he took me from the Sunday morning in the country and the brutal murder of an entire family to the final moments of the murder's lives. Every accolade that Capote was given was well deserved, it is a masterpiece few, even accomplished writers, could have even undertaken much less succeeded at so brillantly.

    They say a good book never really leaves you and in this case, it is true. I was amazed at the ease and lack of conscience that Capote portrayed in the two men who planned and executed the murders. The people they encountered after the murders and how easily they intended to murder others who they could use or who inconviently got in their way. Sadly, I will never take a stranger for granted again, or am I likely to turn my back as easily as I did before I experienced this capitvating novel.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 08-05-07
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 08-05-07 Member Since 2014
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    "outstanding"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Huntsville, AL, USA 01-22-06
    Monica Huntsville, AL, USA 01-22-06
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    "compelling classic"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Brooklyn, NY, USA 01-27-06
    James Brooklyn, NY, USA 01-27-06 Member Since 2013
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    "Captivating 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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 04-27-14
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 04-27-14 Member Since 2014

    retired writer

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    "True Page Turner!!!"

    Great oldie but goodie!! Based on a true story of Murder and Mayhem... Narrator does an excellent job. The story is chocked full of interesting characters. The description provided on this site provides a good snapshot of what this novel is about. Recommend if you are interested in the psychological and mental health background of the killers. The author really develops each of the victims so that you get to know them well and care about them... as well as individuals in the community who are impacted when this prominent family is murdered.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sarah san francisco, CA, United States 11-11-11
    sarah san francisco, CA, United States 11-11-11 Member Since 2011
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    "easily best audiobook so far"

    I am squeamish. I don't like horror films and a even Buffy the Vampire Slayer has kept me from sleeping on occasion. I was worried from other reviews that the book might be gory or disgusting and that I wouldn't make it through. Not so. I also worried that the book would drone on, as others had complained. Not for a second. Finally, my biggest worry was that the writing would be poor or the narration bad (side note: ALWAYS listen to the sample read before purchasing an audiobook). No and no.

    Scott Brick is masterful. I mean, I don't know where this guy might go for a little recognition, or how he acquired such a skill, but his reading is superb.

    Capote's writing is masterful and the language and detail he chose to include are so literarily perfect it is hard to believe that he is relying on quotes and facts. Brilliantly executed. Capote's quotes of the real people put Steinbeck's fictional characters to shame. On this count, the book is a gem in the American cannon.

    Finally, there is an beautifully walked line between giving us the details and putting the reader in touch with the the truly horrifying events, without the melodrama and theatrics that most authors can't help but fall into.

    This was an audible that after a long draught, got me finding reasons to take the dogs out or go for a long car ride. I was listening first thing in the morning and before I went to sleep (no problems sleeping!). I devoured this and now want to see the movie.

    I am a scrooge when it comes to my credits. This one was perhaps the best one I have spent to far.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel D Offenberg 09-12-10 Member Since 2012
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    "Wow!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-24-07
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-24-07 Member Since 2013

    marlin515

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    "I See Why It Is a Classic"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Steve
    Doncaster, United Kingdom
    1/26/06
    Overall
    "Cool, balanced recounting of brutal event"

    Capote avoids all the easy options. His book is not a blood and guts horror tale; it's not a socio-pschological tale trying to evince sympathy for the murderers; it's not a who dunnit detective story.
    In a sense it's all these and more as he recounts events from multiple points of view - the murderers', the police, the community, the families affected, the judicial system - all are given their place so you have an objective and balanced account where you have to form your own views and decide where your own sympathies lie. Capote's tone is cool (old sense!) and measured throughout.
    Well read by Scott Brick

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
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