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In Cold Blood
Cover of In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood
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On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
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    9 - 12

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door. He took off his hat and came slowly forward. The floorboards creaked under his boots. In his black suit he stood in the dark glass where the lilies leaned so palely from their waisted cutglass vase. Along the cold hallway behind him hung the portraits of forebears only dimly known to him all framed in glass and dimly lit above the narrow wainscotting. He looked down at the guttered candlestub. He pressed his thumbprint in the warm wax pooled on the oak veneer. Lastly he looked at the face so caved and drawn among the folds of funeral cloth, the yellowed moustache, the eyelids paper thin. That was not sleeping. That was not sleeping.

    It was dark outside and cold and no wind. In the distance a calf bawled. He stood with his hat in his hand. You never combed your hair that way in your life, he said.

    Inside the house there was no sound save the ticking of the mantel clock in the front room. He went out and shut the door.

    Dark and cold and no wind and a thin gray reef beginning along the eastern rim of the world. He walked out on the prairie and stood holding his hat like some supplicant to the darkness over them all and he stood there for a long time.

    As he turned to go he heard the train. He stopped and waited for it. He could feel it under his feet. It came boring out of the east like some ribald satellite of the coming sun howling and bellowing in the distance and the long light of the headlamp running through the tangled mesquite brakes and creating out of the night the endless fenceline down the dead straight right of way and sucking it back again wire and post mile on mile into the darkness after where the boilersmoke disbanded slowly along the faint new horizon and the sound came lagging and he stood still holding his hat in his hands in the passing groundshudder watching it till it was gone. Then he turned and went back to the house.

    She looked up from the stove when he came in and looked him up and down in his suit. Buenos días, guapo, she said.

    He hung the hat on a peg by the door among slickers and blanketcoats and odd pieces of tack and came to the stove and got his coffee and took it to the table. She opened the oven and drew out a pan of sweetrolls she'd made and put one on a plate and brought it over and set it in front of him together with a knife for the butter and she touched the back of his head with her hand before she returned to the stove.

    I appreciate you lightin the candle, he said.

    Cómo?

    La candela. La vela.

    No fui yo, she said.

    La señora?

    Claro.

    Ya se levantó?

    Antes que yo.

    He drank the coffee. It was just grainy light outside and Arturo was coming up toward the house.


    He saw his father at the funeral. Standing by himself across the little gravel path near the fence. Once he went out to the street to his car. Then he came back. A norther had blown in about midmorning and there were spits of snow in the air with blowing dust and the women sat holding on to their hats. They'd put an awning up over the gravesite but the weather was all sideways and it did no good. The canvas rattled and flapped and the preacher's words were lost in the wind. When it was over and the mourners rose to go the canvas chairs they'd been sitting on raced away tumbling among the tombstones.

    In the evening he saddled his horse and rode out west from the house. The wind was much abated and it was very cold and the sun sat blood red and elliptic under the reefs of bloodred cloud...
About the Author-
  • Truman Capote was born in New Orleans on September 30, 1924. He rose to international prominence in 1948 with the publication of his debut novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms. His other works of fiction include Breakfast at Tiffany's, A Tree of Night, The Grass Harp, and Summer Crossing, the author's long-lost first novel, which was rediscovered in 2004 and published by Random House in 2005. His nonfiction novel In Cold Blood is widely considered one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. Capote twice won the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Prize and was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He died on August 25, 1984, shortly before his sixtieth birthday.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine If the Oscar-winning film CAPOTE has brought this story's outline to a new audience, Scott Brick's outstanding narration should introduce a generation of listeners to the complete story. Capote's 1965 "nonfiction novel," built around the senseless murder of a Kansas family, is a marvelous blend of rigorous reporting and poetic license. His portrait of the two killers is sympathetic--the act was monstrous, but the men were not monsters--and the soft edges of Brick's voice convey this perfectly. Though the recording is more than 14 hours, Brick is just so easy to listen to. It's not so much what he does, but what he doesn't do: he attempts no Kansas accents, no melodramatic phrasing. He steps back and lets the story breathe, and in doing so, leaves the listener breathless. D.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 1, 2006
    In the wake of the award-winning film Capote
    , interest in the author's 1965 true crime masterpiece has spiked. Capote's spellbinding narrative plumbs the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland. In the audio version, narrator Brick keeps up with the master storyteller every step of the way. In fact, Brick's surefooted performance is nothing short of stunning. He settles comfortably into every character on this huge stage—male and female, lawman and murderer, teen and spinster—and moves fluidly between them, generating the feel of a full-cast production. He assigns varying degrees of drawl to the citizens of Finney County, Kans., where the crimes take place, and supplements with an arsenal of tension-building cadences, hard and soft tones, regional and foreign accents, and subtle inflections, even embedding a quiver of grief in the voice of one character. This facile audio actor delivers an award-worthy performance, well-suited for a tale of such power that moves not only around the country but around the territory of the human psyche and heart. Available as a Vintage paperback.

  • Newsweek

    "Rambunctious, high-spirited...All the Pretty Horses is a true American original."

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