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Editorial 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.

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