In Cold Blood – 7 Days of Books

“How much money did you get from the Clutters?”

“Between forty and fifty dollars.”

I thought I’d share my favourite non-fiction book for day 3. Though it arguably has more in common with novels than its non-fiction counterparts, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is a compelling true crime read.

The book chronicles the murders of the Clutter family from a small town in Kansas, detailing the lead-up and aftermath of the horrific crime with interviews with the killers themselves. Weaving multiple narrative strands, Capote creates a tense read with fascinating insights into the motive behind the crime.

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What sets this book apart is how much it focuses on the victims. Written with descriptive prose, the first half of the novel follows the daily lives of the Clutters in the days before their death, allowing them room to breathe on the page as more than just victims. The reader is invited into their lives, learns of their friends and loved ones and who they were as people, which I think is incredibly rare in true crime – especially in a text that features conversations with the culprits so heavily.

It is an intensely interesting and upsetting story, with three film adaptations – two of which focus on Capote’s experience writing the novel and his somewhat ambiguous relationship with one of the killers, proving that it is as compelling on the page as off. It is truly an incredible cornerstone of the genre.

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