In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
I’ve so loved everyone’s spooky reads popping up on insta and I thought I’d throw one into the mix. Because, let’s be honest, what’s scarier than the truth?
Though calling In Cold Blood the truth is a little misleading — it is non-fiction but parts have been fictionalised. Indeed, Capote himself described it as a non-fiction novel. I read it many years ago and I’ve read nothing like it since.
On 15 November 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were murdered. Shot at brutally close range. There appeared to be no motive and no clues pointing in the direction of the murderer.
When the news of this horrifying crime broke, Capote travelled to Holcomb, accompanied by his friend who you may have heard of — Harper Lee, who’d just finished writing To Kill a Mockingbird. With Lee’s assistance, Capote began his own investigation into what happened. This became In Cold Blood; a multi-million copy bestseller across the world.
You don’t need me to laud Capote’s superb writing, namely his ability to weave and shift between perspectives — moving from the victims, the murderers, the community and America at large. You don’t need me to tell you about the depth and breadth of his research and the precision with which he’s created this unparalleled book.
What you may not know, though, is what Capote himself said about working on this masterpiece:
‘No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me. It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me.’
And perhaps that’s the scariest thing of all.