In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

49495This book, about the killing of a Kansas family, is important because it was the first in the “True Crime” genre.  Capote spent years reading documents and interviewing witnesses. It resulted in a comprehensive study and a fascinating read. In 1959, out on parole, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith drive to the Clutter ranch intent on robbery. The next morning, the family is found dead.  An investigation follows.  A former Clutter employee provides a clue.  He told Hickock the family kept a safe with cash as they shared a cell.  The fugitives are nabbed six weeks after the crime.  They confess.  At trial, they undergo psychiatric evaluation. Hickock shows signs of brain damage from a car accident.  He’s cocky.  Financial irresponsibility led to his life of crime.  Smith is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He’s sensitive.  A rough life, beginning with a traumatic childhood, turned him rogue.  Together, they are a perfect storm.  Hickock and Smith are found guilty, sentenced to hang, and are executed in 1965.