In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Banned Book – True Crime)


In November of 1959 a family who lived in Holcomb Kansas was brutally attacked, killed and left.  The murders of the Clutter family were senseless. The family was well-respected humble farmers and had no enemies as far as anyone knew.

It turned out it was two ex convicts from the Kansas State Penitentiary had heard from another inmate who had worked for the Clutters at one time that the farmer had a safe of money.  As it turned out, this was untrue and the convicts left with $43 after they killed the family.

One thing went wrong after another.  The foiled crime did not give the two men the money they thought they would have to escape and start new lives.  Instead they stayed in hiding, writing out bad checks to survive until they were captured and tried for the murders.

Author Truman Capote heard about the crimes and traveled with his fellow author friend Harper Lee to investigate the crimes.  This book is the true account of the murders.

Richard Hitchcock (left) and Perry Smith were executed on April 14th, 1965 for the slaying of a Kansas family.
Richard Hitchcock (left) and Perry Smith were executed on April 14th, 1965 for the slaying of a Kansas family.


Initially this book was chosen by our book club to read for our October Classic.  To me, it was also a bonus that it is a banned book.  While I am not sure how a true crime book will go over in book club (it has been many years since we have read one as a group), I however enjoy a true crime now and then.  Enjoy?  That sounds awful.

I listened to In Cold Blood on audio mainly because I was not sure when I would get to it in book format.  Narrator Scott Brick was a good voice for this style of read.  Informative and crisp in his words, he read like a detective novel unfolding its story page by page.  I While this is a true crime book, it reads as fiction.  Truman Capote wrote this book in a story format where it is easy to slip into a fiction state of mind and forget that you are reading about horrible senseless murders.

I did enjoy (there’s that word again!) the book and learning about the crime novel that made it to a classic.  There is a lot of information about the two killers before, during, and after the crime.  At 14 hours and 27 minutes on audio, it felt a little drug out.

Over all… happy to say that I have read this one, but will more than likely not be revisiting it.


Why was In Cold Blood Banned?


Some Glendale (CA) Unified School District officials and parents attempted to block a request by a high school English teacher to add the text to the district’s advanced English curriculum because the nonfiction book was “too violent for a young audience;” the school board voted 4-0 to approve the book for Advanced Placement students.


Banned, but reinstated in an English Advanced Placement class in Savannah (GA) after a parent complained that it contained sex, violence, and profanity.


You will hear from the Bookies Book Group in October about their thoughts on the book.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 14 hours and 27 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Release Date: January 3, 2006


22 thoughts on “In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Banned Book – True Crime)

  1. I read this book for a book club in high school and remember enjoying it myself Thanks for empowering that word. I didn’t enjoy the crime, but the writing was great. Capote made it read like fiction which helped me as a reader remove myself a little bit from the violence.

  2. This is actually the ONE book my parents would not allow me to read as a child pulling War and Peace ( I still have THAT copy) off the shelves. In Cold Blood scares me still

  3. I read it back in university when I was going through my anti-Disney books. LOL. Ah, to be young. It was a disturbing and riveting read. Couldn’t put it down. But near the end I had to stop reading it before bedtime.

  4. I know what you mean about feeling uneasy saying you “enjoyed” the book or true crime in general 🙂 But they are gripping reads, and I remember being riveted to this title. Hope your book club enjoys it!

  5. I wrote my high school junior year term paper on this book and absolutely loved it at the time. It really got me reading the true crime genre and also Capote. Ever since, I’ve been interested in Capote’s life (he had an eventful one!) and read a couple bios on him. I thought In Cold Blood ended up being more like a psychological study of the killers, which I loved. Great book club pick!

  6. I don’t know how I would feel about the book now, but back when I read it at 16-17(?) I was horrified. I think it was my first truly gruesome book, and it did lead me to read a bunch of real crime novels.

  7. I’ve always wanted to read this one because it is often held up as the best narrative nonfiction book ever, and I write nonfiction myself…but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I was worried it would be too gruesome.

    Did you see either of the movies about Capote that came out in 2005/6? One was called Capote and the other Infamous – fascinating. Both were good. I think Capote was the one that went into detail on his covering the murders and writing In Cold Blood and how he sort of bonded with one of the murderers. And, of course, Capote was a childhood friend of Harper Lee and was her inspiration for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird.

    I really should read the book – thanks for the review and the inspiration to finally get to it!


    Book By Book

  8. Hello, I read this book about 15 years ago and was engrossed from the first pages. I think four of my co-workers read it and enjoyed it as well, after I raved about it. The topic is horrific but the telling, amazing.

Hmmmm... what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s