I always thought of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as a boring book they made you read in high school but after pulling it off our bookshelf and diving in I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. Words like “classic” and “masterpiece” tend to get used and abused these days but I wouldn’t hesitate to use either when describing this book. It’s literature of the highest caliber that is also a brisk, page-turner. I know Capote did exhaustive research for this project but that still doesn’t explain the astonishing amount of insight he applies to every single character from the tiny town in Kansas that populates the book. I bet none of them looked at that strange little man and imagined he’d make them a permanent part of literary history. The fact that he chooses to avoid a play by play of the murder, proves to be a wise decision as he focuses on before, after and the echoes that the crime creates with staggering results. The killers, in his hands, aren’t just two cold-hearted criminals but a pair of misguided youths who never had it easy. You can feel empathy for them even if you never find sympathy for two men who took the lives of four innocent people for no reason. If I was putting together a course for young writers this would be at the top of my list so I guess all those tweed coat-ers were on to something after all.