In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
In the list of classic books I should have read a long time ago – like in college or high school – was “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. Especially after seeing the film “Capote” for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar in 2005. I love Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I really enjoyed this book, which reads kind of like an episode of Law & Order. What nags at you throughout the book is why the killers did it. I think that is one of the things that has made this book so compelling. But honestly, it’s mostly the way Capote wrote it. He writes in the kind of detail that you would find in a fiction book, though the introduction is candid about how some of it is fictionalized – it is based on Capote’s conversations with Perry Smith during Smith’s years on Death Row in Kansas.
There is an area in the book where Capote quotes long sections from psychiatrists/psychologists regarding the brain of a murder, which I found very interesting. I can’t say I’d ever thought about any of that.
I don’t know if I would qualify this as a “light summer read”. There were times when I read it late at night and felt a little spooky! But I do think there is a good reason this book is a classic and I thought it was very good. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of Law & Order type mysteries that don’t necessarily have a clearcut ending, but spend a lot of time really thoughtfully solving the crime and learning about the perpetrators. Now I want to see Capote, the film, again!