Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Hey guys!

I finally finished another item on our book challenge. It felt like it took me forever, but I finally finished Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. A friend warned me that it was a hard book to read, but maybe I didn’t understand quite what she meant, or how difficult it might be. Perhaps that partially explains the time it took me to get through it. Maybe I’m becoming a sensitive muffin, but this was a tough one, guys. The main reason that this book was so spectacularly tough was that Capote did such a stellar job describing exactly what happened to the victims of the crime. Totally solid job on a story that needed to be told, Capote. I’m just a little bummed that this level if brutal nonsense happened in the first place.

At any rate, In Cold Blood tells us about a pretty brutal murder that takes place in Kansas, USA. We are introduced to the unfortunate victims of the crime in the beginning of the book, who don’t appear to have very many enemies at all. Capote also introduces us to the perpetrators of the crime, who meet each other in prison for notably nonviolent offences. Upon release from prison, these guys decide to team up, pull off a robbery, and then head down to Mexico where they hope to relax with all of their newly found treasure. The problem is that the story doesn’t quite line up with their plans, if we can call them plans. The victims of this story don’t really keep loads of cash lying around, which left me wondering what the actual motive for the crime was. Was it really robbery at all? The book kind of floats around different motivations for the crime (none of which actually seem to make any sense). I wondered if the criminals even understood their combined motivations, since they seemed to be butting heads pretty much the entire book.

“Imagination, of course, can open any door – turn the key and let terror walk right in.

– In Cold Blood

Nevertheless, the guys did get a tiny bit of money along with a few random items on their way down to Mexico. Upon finding out that the vision they had in mind for their treasure-laden vacation wasn’t all too realistic, they head back to the USA. Good one, there, guys. I struggled to find anything that happened that was supposed to happen according to the “plan” that they had in mind. Anyway, now that the murdery bit is over, the book becomes loads easier to read. Imagine that, right? So now comes the super interesting part where the motivation for the crime becomes a heck of a lot clearer. That doesn’t mean that you feel any better about it, the story just makes more sense and feels a whole lot less confusing.

As I’ve said before (and I doubt it needs to be repeated here), this is one of the tougher books to get through that I’ve read in a little while. The main problem for me was my own imagination, I guess. Capote is a great writer and my own brain was damn good at filling in any and all the scary details that made the scary story even more so.  I remember a few, or maybe a dozen,  times that I was absolutely terrified and had to put the book down for my own sanity. I quite honestly haven’t been this scared in quite a while. I had a sense throughout the entire book that I was right in the middle of it all. -shudder- I’m just glad I made it out alive. Anyway! If you love crime novels or American pop culture, this is a pretty solid choice. If you love suspense and scary shenanigans, also totally a solid choice.

Ali

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