As I mentioned yesterday, this is National Banned Books Week. In honor of this, I decided to highlight a banned book for the Monday Mystery Backlist title. Last year I reviewed TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for Banned Books Week, which in my opinion is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, crime fiction book. This year, I'm highlighting a book by an author who was actually represented in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. For those that don't know, the character of Dill was inspired by Harper Lee's childhood friend, Truman Capote. Harper Lee also worked with Truman Capote to research the crime that became the basis for IN COLD BLOOD.
IN COLD BLOOD, banned as recently as 2000, is a true crime novel about the 1959 brutal murders of Herbert Clutter, his wife and their two children. The crime takes place in Kansas and the novel chronicles not only the Clutter family but also the lives of the two men convicted of the horror, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, and the effects on the community. IN COLD BLOOD was originally published as a four-part serial in THE NEW YORKER in 1965. It was then published in book form by Random House in 1966.
IN COLD BLOOD was banned for a short time in a high school in Savannah, Georgia, when a parent complained about "sex, violence, and profanity" in the book, which was a part of the schools AP English program. Luckily, a community protest resulted in a reversal of the ban.
IN COLD BLOOD has subsequently been adapted into several feature films and a miniseries.
Presently, IN COLD BLOOD is available from Random House in a hardcover edition (ISBN: 978-0375507908) re-released in 2002 as well as a Vintage 1994 trade paper edition (ISBN: 978-0679745587). For the audiophiles among us, there is an unabridged version (ISBN: 978-0739333648) from Random House Audio produced in 2006.