Review: In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

in cold blood truman capote

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Non-fiction, True Crime


In Cold Blood tells the true story of the gruesome murder of the Clutter family, and the subsequent hunt for the killers.

I’ve been looking forward to read this for a while! In Cold Blood is Truman Capote’s most famous work, the last book he ever finished, and has been on my list for many years now. I decided to pick it up as an audiobook, and I’m a bit disappointed to say that it’s not a book that worked for me in audio. I’m sure this influenced in some capacity my enjoyment of the book in general. It’s not that the narrator isn’t good, he is, but the writing style sounds pretentious and a bit repetitive when read out loud.

My main issue with In Cold Blood is that the articles I read on the case and on Truman Capote’s relationships with the killers were far more entrancing and interesting than the book he wrote, and I was reading up on the case so much while I read it just to hype myself up for the book – which I wasn’t too excited about. It felt strange and a bit wrong that In Cold Blood focused so much on the killers and we don’t really get much about the victims. Which I understand, since Capote spent years interviewing the killers and never met the Clutter family.


8 thoughts on “Review: In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

  1. The focus on the killers was a setback for me as well, though I enjoyed this a bit more in the physical copy. I did feel like the short glimpse into the Clutter family’s life in their final day felt emotionally manipulative rather than considerate of lives lost, so I completely sympathize with your disappointment about the focus. True crime has come a long way- but it’s still interesting to see where the genre started, I thought! I think this was the first true crime book published.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I suppose the physical copy makes it much better. It just sounded quite repetitive & slow in audio, and I normally don’t mind slow books, but I don’t listen to them. I’m giving this another chance, another time!

      And I totally agree that the glimpses of life of the Clutter family felt like emotional manipulation rather than humanization of them.

      Yes, definitely! I’m still quite glad I read it, and I think upon re-reading and knowing what to expect, I might enjoy it more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review – this is the most common criticism that I’ve seen of this book, and I absolutely understand it. I’m fascinated by murderers and serial killers and I found the focus on the killers to be compelling and unsettling, but from a more human perspective it is a bit weird that this book is framed the way it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m also very interested on the murderer’s POV, I think it’s as you said, very unsettling! It’s just that in non-fiction it’s odd to me, I much prefer to read books like that in fiction. But it’s definitely a book that started the genre and was very unique back then. I’m very glad I read and I’ll probably re-read it another time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Books that disappointed me in 2019 | Naty's Bookshelf

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