A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it
November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.
New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.
Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.
**** Huge thank you to Soho Teen for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****
Well I’m disappointed because I thought the idea of a retelling of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood sounds extremely creative, however, the execution just wasn’t on. It wasn’t as gripping and suspenseful as I would have liked.
The story starts out right after the Clutter family was murdered and the main character, Carly, tries to come to terms with what happened. There are also multiple flashbacks to when Nancy Clutter was alive and the time Carly spent with her. I didn’t like the flashbacks because they weren’t distinguishable enough from the current timeline (aside from Nancy being alive) and just felt messy and confusing at times.
The pacing is also pretty slow throughout the story, as I mentioned already there really wasn’t a lot of suspense. So the pacing was off the entire time and the plotting wasn’t much better, it just felt like there wasn’t a point to the entire story. Carly spends the entirety of the story trying to “solve” the murders by making a series of bad decisions such as breaking and entering as well as contaminating a crime scene. Does that seem smart? No. Does that seem like it’s “helping” anything at all? No. And why? What was the point? She also managed to pull all of this off herself and with the aid of other teens and it was all extremely unrealistic.
On top of all of the bad decision making it just felt like Carly’s reasons behind her “investigating” were selfish. She was extremely focused on making the murders about herself and her friendship with Nancy, which was kind of annoying because it’s not all about you Carly!
Then the ending just felt very rushed and too convenient as well, like the author had to hurry up and finish the story in the last two pages and try and tidy it up. Which in the end just made it feel unsatisfying.
However, I did find the writing pretty enjoyable it kept me interested enough to finish the book after all. I also liked that the chapters were very, very short which also helped keep my attention. I do think Amy Brashear has a lot of potential though!
As I already briefly mentioned I thought Carly’s character was a bit selfish and besides that she also has talent for making stupid decisions. There were times where I felt other characters treated her very poorly in which case she had some of my pity but overall I just didn’t care all that much about her. She was very underdeveloped and remained the same throughout the story, no character arc whatsoever.
There were quite a few other characters but no one was developed at all and everyone just felt very plain and one dimensional. I didn’t really care for any of them either. As for some of Carly’s “friends” such as Landry and Mary Claire they seemed to only show up when it was convenient for the plot and then just disappeared and ignored Carly afterwards. It was odd.
One thing about the characters that I did enjoy was the occasional historical figures that would pop up here and there, of course Truman Capote was one but also JFK as well.
There was sort of some romance in the story and also kind of a love triangle? It, like many other parts of this book, was very underdeveloped. Carly seemed to have fallen for two different boys but it also never really seemed like she cared about either especially by the end of the story since she didn’t really end up with anyone. It was all sort of pointless.
Overall the writing and story were okay but mostly forgettable. As I mentioned earlier the premise sounded great but the execution just didn’t cut it.
What I Liked:
- Decent writing and short chapters
- Historical figures added into the book
What I Didn’t Like:
- Plot and pacing were off
- Carly constantly makes bad decisions
- Underdeveloped characters
- Rushed, abrupt ending
- Friends conveniently showed up and then disappeared
- Romance was underdeveloped as well
I can’t really say I’d recommend this one, unfortunately since the premise sounded really interesting but the story itself was not.