on the high wheat plains of western Kansas

Last night I finished In Cold Blood. I’m wondering what kept me from reading it all these years. Here are some of the assumptions I had going into it:

1. I didn’t want to read another “killer on the road” tale.

2. What did I care about a family of four murdered on the prairies?

3. It’s 40 years old, it must be so dated.

4. Shotgun deaths: big deal! Give me some really sick stuff.

5. Truman Capote: Big swish who wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s: he can pull this off?

Ya, so call me an idiot. This book is so damn good on so many levels. I empathized with everybody in this whole affair: the killers, the Clutters, agent Dewey, Babe the horse even!

The writing is so effortless and natural. The work of the detectives (whether true accounts or Capote’s invention – I doesn’t really matter) is so correct.

I cannot get the characters out of my head. And the places Capote takes you, it’s unreal… how the hell did he do this, then essentially never write anything that good again?

I’m sorry this is a late addition to my true-crime readings; it should have been first.

For a great photo essay on the whole project check out In Cold Blood: A Legacy, in photos

“Then, starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind him the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat”


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