I’ll admit that I read this book for research. There’s a book of my own I’ve been kicking around for about thirteen years now, and I’d not known quite how to approach it. Having settled (at least for now) on long-form journalism, I wanted to study one of the masters of this form.
I did have initial trouble with Capote’s writing style. There is a lot of description and exposition included right in the middle of sentences where I wouldn’t have put it. I assume this is due in part to contemporary context: Capote was writing in the 1960s, and I read this in 2014. I prefer more straight-forward sentences rather than those that meander through the twists and turns of a half-dozen or more commas. This is the only reason I give the book four stars rather than five, and it’s purely subjective.
That having been said, “In Cold Blood” truly is a masterpiece of research and storytelling. I do wish Capote had found another way to refer to himself in his interactions with the convicted murders than simply as “the journalist,” but I’m glad he didn’t insert himself into the story. I understand there has been some controversy in recent years about the author’s glossing over some details of the assumptions made by several of the characters, but to a certain degree that’s artistic license, even in a “true crime” book.