As someone who loves to read the odd True Crime book and listens to My Favorite Murder, I have of course read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Aware that he stated that his book was all true, and was explosive in it’s time leading to a film adaptation as well, I was aware that Capote probably took some liberties in the creation of his powerful book. What I hadn’t really thought about was that he might have been fed the story by people involved. Every Word Is True sheds some incredible knew light in the story of the Clutter murders in Kansas in the 1960’s which we all thought was a cut and dried case, that we all knew what had happened.
The Clutter’s were a well respected and wealthy farming family in their community, who were slaughtered one night by two ex-cons who were looking to make a quick buck. Getting away with only $40 and a radio, the brutality of the almost random killing shocked the nation and traumatised the small rural town. Capote’s book detailed the case, and also researched the sad, violent lives of the perpetrators.
Years later, though, a man saved some signed books and papers from the trash when his mother was cleaning out her home. Those documents belonged to his deceased father, Harold Nye, a man who was a detective on the case of the Clutter murders and who went on to become director of the KBI. What he had were just personal notes on the case and copies of the case files, but when he went to sell the signed books, copies of In Cold Blood signed by the author and the people involved in the case and the film, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation came down hard on him and started a legal battle that would take four years and cost upwards of six figures, even though the case would be thrown out of court eventually.
What came to light was that Capote either didn’t tell or didn’t have the whole story. Were Hickock and Smith actually paid to kill the Clutter family? What have the Kansas Bureau been so eager to cover up all these years?
This story is incredibly well known and many people will want to read this book to hear the final chapter about what really happened to the Clutter family and why, and find some answers to some of the holes in the In Cold Blood story. I found this book really fascinating to read, even though it didn’t feel as well written as say, an Anne Rule book, the facts of the case and the story of the Nye family is truly compelling. It’s clear that there is even more to this story that the Kansas government are covering up and that this book can’t tell us about, but I always felt like there was more to this case, and now I feel like this book has provided those missing peices where something just didn’t add up.
Read It If: you’re a true crime fan, this book is a must read. It’s fascinating, even though it’s perhaps not as beautifully put together and composed as some other true crime you may have read.
Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy of this book. All opinions in this review are honest and my own.