‘In Cold Blood’ is a sublime, psychological thriller of a novel. Truman Capote produced this masterpiece in 1965, at the age of 40, and the story still captivates its readers in a trance to this day.
Traically; on the 15th November 1959, “the rich and respected Clutter family were brutally murdered in the small Kansas village of Holcomb.” This sickening act is the true tale that Capote decided to write about, and he does this by altering perspectives from the unfortunate Clutter family at the start, to the two murderers (Dick Hitchcock and Perry Smith) throughout, and then to the detectives and folk of the village who wanted to catch this ghastly culprits. The case is laid out before us relatively early in this novel, but we’re taken on a journey of crime and punishment over 336 pages of superb description.
Personally, I found that despite the length of this book (being fairly thick), it never, ever became tedious. The way Capote crafts this novel is what I applaud most about it, because shifting between the mindset of the victims, to the murderers and then to the detectives, adds extra dimensions to the story that forever keeps you on your toes. Had we just had one person’s viewpoint for the entirety of the book, then we would soon get bored, most likely, and it would make it difficult to convey all the information, as one person can’t be everywhere at once and know everything. The expert description too is a key to what makes this novel a beautiful one, as Capote allows us to really delve into the lives of these Holcomb residents in the 1950s and 60s; we feel as though we too are on the run from committing a homicide, and that’s what makes this tale so unique and such a rousing account. Similarly, it’s difficult to emphasise with people who kill an entire family, although Capote’s heavily detailed recital of both Dick and Perry’s younger lives generates some levels of appreciation for how tough some people lives are, and how they feel entrapped in their own existence, like they can’t ever be free to do as they please and must resort to crime eventually. It could be argued that it takes awhile to properly get into the flesh of the novel, and there’s maybe an excess of description occurring, however I was satisfied with it for the most part and really can’t complain because it’s an enthralling tale.
Naturally, I wouldn’t recommend this novel to the faint hearted, as there are many incidents of extreme violence and upsetting occurrences, and if you’ve suffered anything similar in your own life, then please read with caution as this is a very real book. Other than that, if you’re after something dark and grim, yet veritable and stimulating, then ‘In Cold Blood’ is a perfect thriller that will leave you thinking for a long time after putting it down. You’ll learn things, while remaining intrigued over the course of this account that takes you all over the US and more. A stunning tribute to the lives of Herbert, Bonnie, Kenyon and Nancy, who were all untimely taken from this earth on the 15th November 1959. RIP.