Saturday, February 1, 2014

In Cold Blood

In 6th grade I heard my parents talking about In Cold Blood.  It sounded interesting. So the next time I went to the library, I added to my stack of books.  The librarian shook her head.  "Do your parents know you're checking this out?"  "They won't care," I said.

The librarian told me I'd need a written note from my parents.  Which naturally only made me want to read it more.  With the note in hand, I practically waved it in the librarian's face.  Told you so, I wanted to say.

My parents hadn't read In Cold Blood yet.  I'm sure they thought - how scary could it be?

It was damn scary.  It was stay awake all night because you know people are going to break into your house and kill you scary.  What was I thinking?  Reading a book about the murder of a family of four in a small town?  I was in a family of four.  I lived in a small town.  If the Clutter family could be murdered in Holcomb, Kansas, the same thing could happen to the Hamilton family in Staunton, Virginia.

Parts of the book haunted me for years.  When I read it again as an adult, it scared me as much as it did when I was in 6th grade.  It's beautifully written, true crime literature.

But don't read it at night before you fall asleep.  Trust me.


  1. I had a similar experience as a kid with Helter Skelter, which my parents advised me not to read. It scared the bejeezus out of me but I couldn't put it down. And funnily enough, I just read In Cold Blood for the first time. Finished it last week. It was amazing.

  2. I always think of you when I re-read Helter Skelter. When I (I'm sure you too) moved to LA, didn't you think about it all the time?