Actually a well written book. The author does a nice job of moving back and forth between when the trial was happening, and the previous interaction he had had with the subject of the book. The book also shows how some people can be influenced by a "slick talker".
Walter Kirn echoes Capote’s In Cold Blood in his riveting memoir Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade, meditating on his friendship with the child kidnapper and murderer Clark Rockefeller (real name: Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter). In a contemplative first person narration, Kirn’s traces the path of their friendship. How did Clark deceived him, Walter, an alumnus of Princeton and Oxford? Because Clark is a man of many masks: Chris Chichester, Charles Smith, Chip Smith – these are just a few of his pseudonyms. Kirn first met Clark in 1998; he drove a handicapped dog from Montana to New York City for Clark. Clark first claims to be a “freelance central banker,” and later other faux professions arise (art collector, physicist, Quaker). The real Clark, Gerhartsreiter, was born in Germany and at age 18 traveled to the US as an exchange student. Walter eventually learns that Clark is a man of multiple convictions: in 2009 for parental kidnapping, assault, and battery; in 2013 for first-degree murder. As the facts accumulate, Kirn sees who “Clark” really is: a liar and a murderer. He realizes his own capacity for egotism while mazing through their encounters; he wanted to believe Clark was Clark because he liked to associate with the aristocracy. When he asks Clark his secret to manipulation in a jailhouse interview, he replies: “Vanity, vanity, vanity.” The epigraph from Patricia Highsmith captures the enigmatic character of Clark best: “He was versatile, and the world was wide!”
A good enough read because of the different take on a popular (not in a good way) story. The timeline is confusing sometimes, what with the back story being weaved into the current story. I'd give it a 3 out of 5.
I agree with matcat44, but I did finish the whole bk. What the author is doing in this is "vamping", or trying to make more of what little story he has. I didn't really learn anything new about the rich & wealthy.
Didn't like the style of writing or the personality of the author, so I couldn't really get interested in the subject. Why put that pitiful little dog through such a trauma to please a (seemingly) rich man. Couldn't get past that, so didn't want to know the rest.
This is a terrific book that describes the amusing peccadilloes of its subject, the kindness of his marks, the brutality of his murders, the identity of his victims, and the literary and cinematic referents that drove his life, all interspersed with the insightful introspection and quality writing of one of his dupes, the author.
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