[Review] In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage International Edition/Knopf Doubleday. 2012. First published in 1965.
Genre: Narrative nonfiction. True crime.
Pages: 352 printed pages.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of true crime.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

Link for the book @ Barnes and Noble.

Link for the book, which is a link to Penguin Random House: In Cold Blood.

Truman Capote. 1924-1984.

Capote is pronounced Kapotee.

Links on Truman Capote:



A less than 6-minute fascinating interview.


In the wee hours of the morning, Sunday, November 15, 1959, four members of the Clutter family were murdered in their home. They lived in a farming community, and near the town of Holcomb, Kansas.

Thanksgiving would be the following week.

The older two Clutter daughters did not live at home.

The family members were Herbert “Herb” Clutter a prominent farmer. Bonnie Fox Clutter, wife to Herb and the mother of their four children. Eveanna, Beverly, Nancy, and Kenyon. Only Nancy and Kenyon were living at home.

Nancy was 16 and Kenyon 15 at the time of their deaths.

The murderers were Perry Edward Smith and Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock.

Truman Capote shares several things in the writing of this true crime story: short bios of the Clutter family members, longer bios of Smith and Hickock, the time leading up to the murders, the night of the murders is chronologically told, the following morning after the murders-how they were found and by whom, the criminal investigation, the capture and imprisonment of Smith and Hickock, the trial, the psych evaluations of both young men, the time spent on death row, their executions, and the aftermath of the murders for the neighbors and friends of the Clutter family as well as the families of Smith and Hickock.

In Cold Blood was first published in a series of articles in the New York Magazine in 1965. The book form of the story was published in 1966.

This link is to read various articles in the New York Times about Truman Capote and his work.

This link is to read a first part article written about the crime in the New York Magazine, from the September 25, 1965, issue.

My Thoughts:

I have a library book on articles from the 1960s that New York Magazine published. Of course, not all their articles are included, but those that are pivotal and reflect that decade. I’m currently halfway through it.

In this library book is an excerpt of In Cold Blood. It is from a later point in the book, when Smith and Hickock are in the small jail that housed them until after the trial. Reading this snippet whet my appetite to read the full story.

It’s been a few summers ago that I read several true crime nonfiction books. Those books are on the Golden State Killer, Charles Manson, the Zodiac killer, Ted Bundy, the BTK killer who is Dennis Rader, and Charles Manson. What I find the most fascinating is reading their psych profiles. The methodical and devious and vile and evil planning and murders are beyond difficult to read. It is not something I can wrap my mind around. They are books I don’t forget. They are troubling and menacing.

One of the scariest books I’ve read is written by a man who was working on his doctorate in criminal behavior. He worked in a lockdown unit of the facility that housed only those considered the most violent murderers. That book is frightening!

A problem I have with In Cold Blood is that I’ve read Capote’s story is not 100% accurate. Specifically, the portrayal of the mother of the Clutter family. This makes me wonder how many of the other true crime nonfiction books I’ve read that have inaccuracies.

I watched the film, Capote, that cast Philip Seymour as Capote. Capote’s interviews and research and writing of In Cold Blood is a big part of the film, but this film shares Capote’s relationship he had with Perry. It shares how this writing project impacted Capote. It is not a film only about the murders as is the book. There is a film that was made in 1967 that is titled In Cold Blood. It is considered accurate to the book.

The background story of In Cold Blood is a story itself. I’m referring to the research and writing of it. All the interviews Capote did. His writing project partner, Harper Lee. Going out to the house where the murders took place. The several years of work on it. The impact of this experience.

If you are a true crime reader, In Cold Blood is a necessary read. It is one of the first printed stories and films about true crime.

In most, if not all, the true crime books I’ve read, there is a heavy cloud of expectancy and anxiety about the stories of murders that take place in the books. A very interesting point about In Cold Blood is Capote’s writing style is both matter of fact and calm. Think about the word calm in reference to a book about serial killers, murders, and horror. It is hard to compute. This makes the book easy to read and yet hard to read. It is the later part of the book that dissects the murderers with psych evaluation results and the impact of the people.

The book is not about Capote’s relationship with the murderers.

Capote is the voice in the story unless he lets the people who were interviewed speak.

The last point I’d like to mention is I read that after In Cold Blood was published, and after Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, their relationship ended. Harper Lee was Capote’s assistant in research and interviewing for In Cold Blood. Capote dedicated the book to her and his partner, Jack Dunphy. He did not mention Lee in the Acknowledgements section.


[Review] The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley

Publisher and Publication Date: Pegasus Crime. 2014.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Pages: 312.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of the history of murder in Great Britain. Readers of British detective murder mysteries.
Rating: Good to very good.

Link @ Amazon.

Includes 40 illustrations, several of them are in color.

Webpage of Lucy Worsley.

An interview with Lucy Worsley:


The Art of the English Murder is less about the act of murders, and more about the English crowds and fans these murders created as well as their legacies.
Beginning with Thomas DeQuincey (1785-1859) in late Georgian London. His use of Laudanum and its contributing factor to his essay, On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, began a sensationalist view of murder for its readers.
The Art of the English Murder is a brief historical record of several murders that happened during the 19th century. Some of them influenced writers. For example, Charles Dickens and Alfred Hitchcock.
The murders in the early 19th century brought about a central Metropolitan Police force in London, instead of individual parish police.
The murders recorded in this book are the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, Estrel Murder, William Corder and the Red Barn Murder, Bermondsey Murder, the Road Hill House Murder case, and the murders done by Jack the Ripper.
There are chapters devoted to the impact of the murders on writers. There are chapters devoted to screenwriters and film. The final chapters are the mystery writers, specifically the women who made a name for themselves: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. There is also information on the history of the Penny Dreadful serial stories and the Wax Museum.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this book, but I’d hoped for more. My hopes were that the book would go into more detail about the murder cases-including the detective work on those cases. I love to read true crime books. This book is brief about the murders. It is extensive about the impact on people who have a morbid sense of excitement about viewing the murdered bodies, etc. I don’t want to see the bodies who are carved up and oozing. I do enjoy reading about the crimes and how the murders are solved. However, The Art of the English Murder is a good book. A solid narrative nonfiction account.

What I love (and learned):

1. The introduction gave me the reason for this book and the direction of it.
2. I didn’t know the history of police and detectives in London until reading this book.
3. The perspective of how citizens viewed dead bodies is explained as not out of the ordinary for that time. I didn’t know this.
4. I feel the book is thorough in the impact on writers, screenwriters, films, and magazines.
5. Medical students used to dig up dead bodies to do research. I didn’t know this either!
6. Lucy Worsley is a charming, personable, knowledgeable, and engaging person. Whether she is speaking in a documentary or has written a book: both are engaging and entertaining!

(Review) Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, the Man who Killed Bonnie and Clyde by John Boessenecker

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Dunne Books. 2016.
Genre: Nonfiction. Biography. Texas History. Texas Ranger History. True Crime.
Pages: 525.
Source: eBook public library.
Audience: Readers of Texas history.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon link

Frank Hamer 1884-1955

Frank Hamer (pronounced Haymer), had a unique blend of personality, character, and physique that created a great lawman.
He grew up in the Hill Country area of Texas.
He learned to live off the land, knowledgeable about birds and animals, strong firearm ability, ranch hand experience, an athletic man.

He enlisted in the Texas Rangers for the first time in 1906. He was 22 years old.

He had other law enforcement jobs besides Texas Rangers:
He was the lone marshal of Navasota, Texas.
He was a special officer in Houston, Texas.
A federal agent enforcing Prohibition.
And a security guard for shipping and trucking interests.

Hamer was a Texas Ranger more than once. During the time of the Bonnie and Clyde’s hunt and killing, Hamer was not working in law enforcement. He was hired by the Texas Highway Patrol for the specific job of finding and stopping Bonnie and Clyde.

My Thoughts:
The 2019 film, The Highwaymen is about Frank Hamer and Maney Gault’s hunt for Bonnie and Clyde. I recommend this film if you have not seen it. It’s currently playing on Netflix. But, consider this film to be a Frank Hamer, basic class 101 of the true historical person.
If you decide to visit Waco, Texas to see Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Market, swing by the Texas Ranger Museum. The museum is easy to find. It’s on the north bound side of I-35 near the Brazos River. I don’t know what the hours are because of COVID, but it is an easy to access, park, and walk through museum. I highly recommend the place for history buffs.

The first thing I want to mention is this book is not just Frank Hamer’s hunt and killing of Bonnie and Clyde. This part of the story is in the later part of the book. This story is about Frank Hamer’s life. This story is about Texas history during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century. I’ve read a few reviewers didn’t like reading about his whole life, but only wanted to read about Bonnie and Clyde.

What I love about this book:
~A strong account of Texas history in the last of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century.
~Detailed research of Frank Hamer, law enforcement, racial injustice, Texas ranching, the people groups in Texas, Texas politics, lynching history, Jim Crow laws, Mexican Border War, and the Democratic National Convention in Houston-1928.
~Information about Bonnie and Clyde that is accurate, not speculation or legend.
~The personal life of Frank Hamer.

~The Sherman Texas Riot in 1930. I’d not heard about this horrible history.
~The lynching history of blacks in 1920s Texas.
~I didn’t know the KKK also abducted and abused white citizens. If a white man was an adulterer he was subject to abduction, flogging, or tar and feather.
~Rape was a capital offense until 1972. An interesting article about this: Timeline.
~A brief history of Miriam A. Ferguson (Ma Ferguson).

Final Thoughts:
~The Epic Life of Frank Hamer is told with honesty about a historical figure who was not perfect; yet, he was humble and had great courage.
~The book is detailed and graphic. This is not a story about a tame Texas.
~There is tension and conflict both with Hamer and the environment.
~I feel the title aptly defines the story. Frank Hamer had an epic life.

(Review) A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Love, Hope and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

A Serial Killer's Daughter

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. January 29, 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime. Biography.
Pages: 336.
Source: I received a complimentary ebook copy through NetGalley/Thomas Nelson, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Okay.
Audience: Readers of true crime who don’t mind Christian language per Bible verses and belief.



Article from People magazine about Kerri Rawson’s story.

Author Info:
Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father’s arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.
Facebook page: Kerri Rawson.
Kerri Rawson

Further links on BTK:
Investigation Discovery

On February 24, 2005 Dennis Rader was arrested for murder. Between the years 1974 and 1991, Rader murdered ten people. The murders were both adults and children. Rader had a wife, daughter, and son. He had a job. He had a home. He lived a double life. There were a few glimpses of that “other” person in the home with his family.
Kerri Rawson has written a biography of her life with Dennis Rader.

My Thoughts:
Thomas Nelson is the publisher. This is Kerri Rawson’s first book. I’m sure Thomas Nelson had an editor work with Rawson, but the book is her lone words.
This point is important, because often with a first book by a new author, a more experienced author will work alongside to help tell the story. When the inexperienced author writes their biography the reading can come across choppy or remote. Add to this mixture, through most of the book Kerri Rawson is in shock. She bounces between, “Oh my God!” and “he is my dad…this can’t be true.” At times, I felt yanked along like a pet out for a dangerous walk. On the other hand, Rawson’s story is organic and raw.

This year I’ve read true crime books for the first time. It has been important for me to read a book written from the perspective of the criminal’s family. It’s rare to find a book or article written from this perspective. I now realize, a serial killer’s family does not want to be found and interviewed. A Serial Killer’s Daughter gave me an idea of what they go through: news media who peak through windows, telephone constantly ringing, family members homes are watched, interviews by law enforcement, and warrants for search and seizure. A serial killer’s family become victims too. It is a death to the life they “thought” they had. It is a death to privacy. And, it is a death to the relationship they had with the family member who is the criminal, perpetrator, and murderer.

Through the entire story I looked for how Kerri felt. Further, how does she feel about how she feels? The book is more about what is happening and less about how she feels. These emotions were hard to find. Later in the book she explains her, “life feels like a lie.” She expresses words like, “numb,” “shaking,” and a “stinging” feeling “in brain.”

I believe the book centering on Kerri and how it relates to her dad as a serial killer should be in the book. It’s unnecessary to give an entire descriptive bio of Kerri’s life. For example, Kerri describes in detail about how she fixed her hair and what clothes she wore.

It is so interesting how Kerri has brought along her father (so to speak) in telling her story. For example, she explains how her father did things, how he taught her to deal with strangers, etc. Can someone explain this one?
Kerri felt they had a close relationship before his arrest. It must be painfully difficult, awkward, and confusing to try and understand and define life as Dennis Rader’s daughter.

I bought the documentary through Prime Video, BTK: A Killer Among Us. Kerri Rawson is interviewed for this documentary. In addition, family members of the victims are interviewed. The law enforcement who were apart of the investigation are interviewed. This is a well put together piece about the BTK. This documentary followed by reading the book clarified some things. It’s a brave act for the victims families to come forward for interviewing. Heartbreaking.



(Review) The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy by Ann Rule


Publisher and Publication Date: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. Copyright 1980. My edition is 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. True crime.
Pages: 592.
Source: Self purchase.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: True crime readers.

54 black and white illustrations

Kindle Unlimited ebook is Free

Ann Rule died in 2015-New York Times
Seattle Times
Bio from Wikipedia
The starting chapter of the book is titled, “The Final Chapter? – 2008.” Ann Rule wants to set the record straight about Ted Bundy. She wants to correct previously untrue information about Theodore Robert Bundy.
This book was first published in 1980. A preface is included from this year.
At the end of the book is an “Update: Twenty Years Later-2000.”
For me to say Ann Rule is a thorough writer is an understatement. No stone is left unturned. This is the first thing I love about her writing. A second reason, and it pertains to this particular book, Ann Rule personally knew Ted Bundy.
Rule has a keen eye, law enforcement experience, intelligence; and, the ability to examine and put together a graphic detailed account of Bundy’s personal life, personality, mental make-up, criminal behavior and activity.
I had a few reader friends ask me if I’d read this book. While shopping in a Barnes and Nobles this book was on an endcap.
It is a lengthy book at 592 pages.

Why should you read this book?
The main reason is it delves deep at a serial killers planning, stalking, and methods of killing. Ted Bundy is the serial killer studied. However, the reader will understand a great deal of what goes on in a serial killers planning and carrying out of a crime.
I did not read the book to know the person Ted Bundy. His birth and growing up years are only an interest in how they may have contributed to his killings.

At times in the book, I felt Ann Rule was torn. She was torn between wanting to believe Bundy was innocent, because she personally knew him. And in seeing what the evidence showed and that he was guilty. This point made the book personal, and not just an analytical viewpoint.

Further points in the book of interest:
•Ted Bundy’s IQ.
•A mental makeup of Bundy’s personality and mental health.
•Other murders he may have committed.
•His wife and daughter.
•The complicated relationship with his mother.
•The autopsies and the victims.
•Bundy’s behavior during the trial.
•His death at the electric chair in Florida.

Ann Rule died in 2015.


The film, The Stranger Beside Me from YouTube.

I recommend “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” on Netflix.