True crime is the most disturbing kind to read. In Cold Blood is the true-life story of a despicable crime against an innocent and well-respected family committed by contemptible criminals. Truman Capote starts the book by placing the reader in the village where the crime occurred, a lonely area of Kansas that feels even more isolated by Truman’s descriptions of the wail of the locomotive whistles and the scuttling tumbleweed; a quiet place where residents don’t even lock their doors. Perhaps this is what makes the crime more shocking.
The writing is exceptional. A lot of time is spent on detail of the criminals backgrounds, which slows the pace. For me, the suspense lies not in the crime itself, but in the investigation and the capture of the killers. Capote’s account of their trial, their time and experience on death row, culminating in their execution, was fascinating to read.
The story is told through several points of view, giving the reader a feel for the depth of each individual and the impact of the crimes, or lack of, on each one of them. The writing almost leaves the reader with a sense of empathy for the killers – almost, for the reminders are woven in that this is true crime – and leaves them to question their own opinion on capital punishment. In the words of one of the killers : “it’s revenge.”
Definitely recommended reading.