Blood Will Out

  • by Walter Kirn
  • Narrated by Stephen Bel Davies
  • 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An In Cold Blood for our time, a chilling, compulsive story of a writer unwittingly caught in the wake of a grifter-turned-murderer.
In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a 15-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.
Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend’s murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew - a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself.
Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition, and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2014 - While a burgeoning novelist in the late 1990s, Walter Kirn began a peculiar friendship with the enigmatic and flamboyant Clark Rockefeller. The creative side of Kirn was drawn to Rockefeller's eccentric personality; however as time went by, Kirn uncovered a startling truth: that his 'friend' was in fact a cold-blooded killer. This true crime tale is brought to life by Stephen Bel Davies, an Audible listener favorite, who has already declared Blood Will Out the best work of nonfiction he's narrated. I could feel his appreciation for the material and respect for Kirn seep through his performance, which only enhanced the inherent drama. A chilling memoir, Blood Will Out has given me a greater interest in the true crime genre (even though it kept me up at night). —Katie, Audible Editor

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compilation of old news

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller was a fascinating character that captivated the country's attention in 2008, even earning a place on Top Ten Imposters of All Time lists, and an FBI *Most Wanted* poster. The wanna-be Mr. Ripley had assumed the roles of art collector, ship's captain, talk show host, even a Pentagon Advisor before being captured and charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder. All the juicy ingredients for a possibly fascinating book, especially when the author is a journalist and a personal friend of the chameleon -- but author Kirn's disappointing shot misses the target. Was Kirn hoping for a comparison to one of the great crime non-fiction novels? BLOOD Will Out...In Cold BLOOD?...that's where the similarities end. But, Capote's In Cold Blood, consider to be one of the best true-crime novels ever written, is a tough act to follow.

Blood Will Out, unfortunately, is not even on the same path. Not a chapter sheds new light, or insight, on the case against Rockefeller, or the man of many aliases. What Kirn delivers instead of smart revealing look at a psycho jackpot turns out to be nothing more than a lazy compilation of what we already know about Rockefeller, with some unspectacular personal interactions that come across as uninteresting petty incidents, even jealousies. The book lacks the research and professional polish to be an intriguing true story of a murder, or a mystery, and ends up masquerading as a limp re-hashed story. Wish it wasn't so. I followed the case and was hoping for a riveting new book and didn't even get a riveting chapter. [*Not a total wash. If this case is new to you, you might find this interesting.]



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- Mel

Lacked substance

I really enjoy true crime novels, but this one was more a story about two friends, and the lies one told the other, than it was about the crime. I actually liked Kirn's writing, his descriptions, humor and wit (which is why it gets 3 stars); but somewhere in the book I was hoping the crime story would take center stage. It never really did though, this book majored in the minor details of Kirn's relationship with Clark Rockefeller. Once I realized the book wasn't ever going to hook me, it became hard to finish.

Although this book was a disappointment to me, I liked Kirn's writing style enough that I will look for other books by him. The narrator did an excellent job of reading this story.
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- Brock "So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-03-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios