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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
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In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood - Truman Capote On an unseasonably warm Kansas morning in November 1959 a small Kansas town was introduced to fear. Overnight, four members of the Clutter family, bedrocks of the Holcomb community, had been brutally murdered in their home. Suddenly neighbors were looking at each other with fear and doors that had never before been locked were kept tightly shut. When the law finally caught up with the murderers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, after they had traveled across the country, down into Mexico and back again, they were found to be without remorse or moral compass.

In Cold Blood is considered by many to be the first true crime novel, and also one of Truman Capote's masterpieces. While the stories were horrifying, Capote did a flawless job at giving both the victims and the criminals a human face. In fact some might say he did too good a job where it concerns the killers. He manages as an author to really pull out who they are and create sympathy, most especially for Perry, for two cold-blooded killers. This book, was meant to tell a story, so while it is based on fact and in regards to what happens, sticks to that fact, also has many elements of fictionalization, particularly when it comes to private conversations that he could not have been privy too. For me this actually detracted from the novel. I don't mind some elements of fictionalization when it comes to a true crime novel, but I far prefer a book that sticks to the known and leaves the unknown alone as much as possible when reading true crime. However it was still a very well-done book and for any fan of the true-crime genre it is a must read.