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Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade Hardcover – March 10, 2014

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Imported from USA

.com Review

An Best Book of the Month, March 2014: An epigraph from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley says much about
what’s to come in Walter Kirn’s remarkable confessional: “He was versatile, and the world was wide!” When Kirn first met
Clark Rockefeller, he was smitten by the man’s wealth and eccentricities. Coming off a failed marriage (to the daughter
of Thomas McGuane and Margot Kidder), Kirn was a bit of a wreck, as was Rockefeller. The two men were drawn to each
other. As the friendship progressed--into some uneasy terrain--Kirn ignored the clues “spread out for [him] to read,”
and plowed ahead to become a confidant and enabler. Except, it turns out, Clark wasn’t a Rockefeller at all. Christian
Karl Gerhartsreiter was, as Kirn puts it, “the most prodigious serial imposter in recent history.” He was also a
murderer. So what did that make Kirn? “A fool,” he admits, “a stubborn fool.” This is a compulsively readable,
can’t-look-away book and, ultimately, a brave piece of work. Kirn has laid himself bare: his failed marriage, his
Ritalin reliance, his misguided allegiance to a sociopath. In exposing his own “ignorance and vanity,” what Kirn has
really crafted here is the story of a bamboozled writer who for fifteen years ignored the big story right under his
nose; who, in trusting his imposter friend, “violated my storyteller’s oath.” With Blood Will Out, Kirn has impressively
restored his storyteller’s credentials. --Neal Thompson

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In The Journalist and the Murderer (1990), Janet Malcolm dissected journalist-subject dynamics. Here Kirn
also covers that subject, but in the highly personal story of his being hoodwinked, professionally and emotionally, by a
man he knew as Clark Rockefeller, a member of of the famously wealthy industrial, political, and banking family. Over
the years, their often long-distance friendship faltered in suspicious ways, yet Kirn kept up hope, naively perhaps,
considering the flaws and untruths he uncovered, disturbing occurrences Kirn chose to ignore. But when Kirn woke one
morning to discover that his friend Clark was not even Clark, much less a Rockefeller, and going to be tried for a
murder committed years ago, he decided to finally write about their relationship, questioning along the way journalistic
integrity and the encounters between the subject and the writer. This tale’s a fascinating one (starting with Kirn’s
road trip with a paralyzed dog) that is covered elsewhere (Mark Seal’s The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, 2011), but
Kirn’s reflecting, musing, and personal dealings add a killer punch to this true-crime memoir. --Eloise Kinney

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