And Every Word Is TrueNewfound evidence reveals Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is not the end of the story—and the legal battle Kansas fought to suppress its publication.
By Gary McAvoy
With a Foreword and Personal Stories by Ronald R. Nye, son of Harold R. Nye, Former Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation
Published March 2019.
“McAvoy writes in a clear-eyed, no nonsense prose style ideally suited to the true crime genre. The author capably and meticulously details information in a manner that will keep readers engaged. By combining elements of true crime and memoir, McAvoy offers an immersive account of an infamous murder case. Most unusually, the author raises compelling questions about the veracity of Truman Capote's accounts and the role that In Cold Blood played in influencing public opinion."
✏️ The BookLife Prize
“McAvoy’s disclosures are provocative, if not earthshaking; most notably, McAvoy echoes Capote’s potent prose style and deep humanizing of his subjects, while broadening the conversation about truth, intention, and narrative representation.”
Publishers Weekly/BookLife (Full review below and at Publishers Weekly)
"What a fascinating book! I read it with interest and much admiration… The author has done a great service in highlighting the limitations of journalism in ever trying to pin down what really happened, and all fans of 'In Cold Blood' must surely appreciate the way in which McAvoy tied together so many different and previously hidden aspects of the case… Completely engrossing, so lucidly written and so interesting that I read it in a single session, pausing only to eat!"
✏️ David Robinson, former Books Editor, The Scotsman (UK) and author of In Cold Ink
“'And Every Word Is True' kept me absolutely spellbound. In painstaking detail, McAvoy has peeled back the underlying layers of a story we thought we already knew. I couldn’t put it down!”
✏️ Michael Ohoven, Oscar-nominated producer of the 2005 film Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman; CEO of Infinity Media
“'What if all you thought you knew about the 1959 Kansas Clutter family murder case from Truman Capote’s famed In Cold Blood wasn’t entirely true? In Cold Blood was a first in true crime writing and remains a bestseller more than 50 years after it was first published. Very much in a sequel rather than a critique, And Every Word Is True by Gary McAvoy breaks open the Clutter murder case and the investigations that followed revealing some startling secrets. Using the personal papers and notebooks of Harold R. Nye, one of the senior investigators on the case, McAvoy and Nye’s son Ronald Nye, have been on a painstaking journey. Sued by the State of Kansas in a desperate bid to seize the materials and prevent their publication served to highlight the KBI had something to hide. And Every Word Is True is the result of six years of legal battle and diligent research to reveal new revelations about the motives behind these brutal murders, who may have been involved and the pressure and influence the KBI had over Capote and the story he told in In Cold Blood. Well-written and expertly presented, And Every Word Is True is a must read for any true crime fan. The story of the Clutter family murders is far from complete.”
✏️ Fiona Guy, Crime Traveller 5-Star Review
"'And Every Word is True' will take you back to that night in Holcomb, Kansas, November of 1959, when two hard-luck men slaughtered an entire family in their farmhouse for a few meager dollars—changing forever our definitions of fear, safety, and how we sleep at night. Now, Gary McAvoy's scrupulously researched book shines new light on some of the conclusions drawn by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation—and later endorsed by Truman Capote's classic 'In Cold Blood.' McAvoy has done a great job of bringing to life a history that is still alive and still terrifying, and now, perhaps, even richer."
✏️ T. Jefferson Parker, Edgar Award-winning author of Silent Joe, California Girl, and The Room of White Fire
“This book turns the Clutter murder case inside out! Truly an eye-opener into a part of my father’s life where I really thought I had known all of the salient details. This was more than just a ‘good read’—this was a compelling work of factual art.”
✏️ Dean Rohleder, Son of Garden City Assistant Chief of Police Richard Rohleder, the acknowledged “hero” of the Clutter murder investigation
“As deputy sheriff in Garden City at the time, I can say without reservation that Mr. McAvoy has done admirable work here. He has clarified many of the ‘facts’ in Capote’s book, and pulled back the curtain to expose many contradictions in the Clutter investigation.”
✏️ Keith Denchfield, former Deputy Sheriff of Finney County, Kansas, and son-in-law of Undersheriff Wendle & Josephine Meier
"With a passion, tenacity, and respect for facts that would make original investigator Harold Nye proud, Gary McAvoy has joined forces with Nye’s son, Ronald, to challenge the official story of the notorious Clutter family murders, the same version Truman Capote chronicled in his sensational bestseller 'In Cold Blood.' Using a combination of reverence for accuracy, old-fashioned gumshoe gutsiness, and his own considerable writing skills, McAvoy has exhaustively researched, fought for, and produced a book that will keep the reader gripped until the very last word—and this time, all the words are true.”
✏️ Tawni O’Dell, New York Times bestselling author of Back Roads, an Oprah's Book Club selection
“Sure to provoke debate, Gary McAvoy’s book is simultaneously wonderful and unsettling. Criminal justice professionals will find nuggets to be mined as he challenges us to leave our comfort zones. Casual readers of true crime will be spellbound. No matter which “side” you land on, McAvoy’s elegant style is one that even Truman Capote could embrace.”
✏️ Sally J. Keglovits, Supervisory U.S. Probation Officer (retired) and Lecturer in Criminal Justice, DeSales University
“McAvoy was well-placed to spot intriguing inconsistencies in the infamous Clutter murder investigation. His work reminds us to be wise about bias in human narratives, even when they’re beloved classics.”
✏️ Dr. Katherine Ramsland, author of Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer
"With gripping intensity, 'And Every Word is True' is a page-turning thriller that unravels a fascinating web of deception, one as frightening and disturbing as the infamous crime itself. Revealing fresh evidence collected through a variety of sources—most notably the actual notebooks used by KBI detective Harold Nye as he worked tirelessly to solve the case—McAvoy has uncovered never-before-told information that challenges not only the veracity of Capote’s own retelling of the crime, but of the very legal system that prosecuted the case. Since 'In Cold Blood' is a vital part of the course curriculum I teach, such a classic story wouldn’t be complete without having this book as its companion."
✏️ Fran Libra Koenigsdorf, Honors English teacher of In Cold Blood since 1982, Johnson County, Kansas
"Gary McAvoy has an unbridled passion for literature, history and research, which are all on display in vivid detail in 'And Every Word is True,' his collaboration with Ronald Nye that revisits the story of the Clutter family murders that became Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.' This is a fascinating account of previously unpublished material regarding the case, kept hidden from the public, journalists and biographers. For enthusiasts of accounts of true crime and mystery, this is a worthy addition to your library."
✏️ Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Big Stone Gap and Kiss Carlo
"Some books you can’t wait to finish; some books you never want to end. For me, Gary McAvoy’s riveting new book, 'And Every Word is True,' was so intriguing that I did not want it to finish."
✏️ Beth Moroney, Former teacher of Creative Writing and Journalism, and administrator in the Edison NJ Public School District
"In 1966, after reading in Truman Capote's final pages of 'In Cold Blood' that the 'instigator' of the Clutter family murders was now serving a 30-year sentence for bank robbery at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, I pursued and got a rare personal interview with Floyd Wells at the prison. Following that interview and a re-study of the Capote book, I figured I knew as much about the Kansas murder case as any other writer. And this assumption, when restricted to Truman Capote's creative fiction, was probably accurate, because we all were referring at the time to the only public record the masses had available. However….
Now we learn (thanks to the indefatigable work of Gary McAvoy and Ron Nye) that Capote may have been somewhat deceptive with his narrative and had not only ignored investigative evidence revealing new motives, but had denied proper credit to those investigators who had exposed it. More than a half century later, Ron Nye had the foresight to salvage and save his father's records revealing the real facts of the case. And now we learn that even the Kansas Bureau of Investigation appears to have been involved in some form of cover-up, highlighting the importance of the truth-seeking, fact-finding mission by McAvoy and Nye in 'And Every Word Is True.' It appears that the KBI caught the culprits but missed the real motive.
For all this, McAvoy and Nye well deserve a '5-Star' review for 'And Every Word Is True.' The book's title is absolutely perfect—once the reader discovers its source. I am delighted to tout their truth-seeking mission to the world, only regretting that the message came so late. Fifty years ago, this book would have outsold Capote's giant bestseller. The details of WHY are revealed inside the book."
✏️ Pat Shannan, Editor, Independent News International