When I first started this book, I was thinking I would probably describe it as the quintessential true-crime novel. Now that I've finished it, I know that would be a grave injustice. In Cold Bloodlaidthe foundation upon which all true-crime novels are built. The fact that it was written by Truman Capote only makes it even more amazing.
In cold blood chronicles the murder of a family in western Kansas in the late 50's, and the subsequent hunt for their killer/killers. What makes the book especially interesting, is that the murderers hadn't been caught when Capote commenced research on the novel. Yet, he still walks the reader through the story with the organization necessary to keep track of the evidence, but the emotion required to bring about the question that any good true-crime novel provokes: Why?
Capote places himself in an unusual situation as an author. There is no suspense revolving around who did it or will they get caught. Everybody new the answer to these questions by the time the book was published. From the beginning, the book sets out to profile the type of men who could commit such a horrible crime. We learn about their backgrounds, families, and their relationship with each other. Endlessly twisting and turning in the mind why they did what they did. Did Dick talk Perry into it? Did Perry have a plan ulterior to Dicks? Were both men just insane?
In addition to the why, Capote leaves us wanting to know how; regardless of how gruesome it is. Early on you learn the outline of how the family ideas, which only leaves you wanting to know more about the scene of the crime. There are clues dropped here and there in the sections describing the murderers' trek after the crime, but the suspense of it builds and builds until it reaches an apex in the confession room.