Coroner's Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana

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Overview

The frank and unvarnished memoir of a life spent stalking death in the Deep South.

Baton Rouge is a little town with big-city problems. Rich with Creole history, colorful locals, and a strong sense of community, it's also the home of Napoleonic codes, stubborn cops, and a sometimes-troubled leadership. Baton Rouge-which literally means "Red Stick"-lives up to its bloody namesake.

And after more than ten years as a deputy coroner and then as its...

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Overview

The frank and unvarnished memoir of a life spent stalking death in the Deep South.

Baton Rouge is a little town with big-city problems. Rich with Creole history, colorful locals, and a strong sense of community, it's also the home of Napoleonic codes, stubborn cops, and a sometimes-troubled leadership. Baton Rouge-which literally means "Red Stick"-lives up to its bloody namesake.

And after more than ten years as a deputy coroner and then as its chief coroner, Louis Cataldie has seen his fair share of unusual and disturbing cases. They range from the bizarre to the heartbreaking: an LSU professor killed by a barn door; the bones of a young woman found scattered in a churchyard; and as many as three serial killers loose at one time under Cataldie's watch. He has worked the scene of one of the Malvo/ Muhammad Beltway Sniper shootings and had a hand in bringing to justice serial killer Derrick Todd Lee in a controversial investigation that was featured in an ABC Prime Time special with Diane Sawyer and Patricia Cornwell.

Coroner's Journal is an unflinching look at a world that television dramas such as CSI can only begin to show us.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Working in the coroner's office of East Baton Rouge Parish from 1993 to 2003, I wrote whenever it struck me. I jotted notes in the field and sketched images on a small pad as I remember them." From these notes, Dr. Louis Cataldie constructed Coroner's Journal, a striking, sometimes chilling account of a decade's labor in the fields of the dead. Cataldie's cases are diverse but almost always tragic: brutal acts of strangling; an LSU professor killed by a barn door; a shooting by Beltway snipers Malvo and Muhammad; and unsolved serial murders.
Publishers Weekly
Cornwell's foreword may attract readers to this unremarkable account by the chief coroner in Baton Rouge, La. Flat writing and the occasional platitude ("How sad. This is someone's daughter") detract from what could have been an interesting professional memoir by a dedicated public servant whose duties include ordering psychological evaluations and commitments, as well as the more familiar forensic work. Instead, the scenarios, whether an autoerotic hanging or the evaluation of a psychiatric patient, are brief and lacking dramatic tension. Some readers may also be put off by the short prologue added after Hurricane Katrina, which is the "incomplete accounting" the author labels it; the value and heroism of the doctor's work are not adequately captured by his words. His perspective on a number of serial killer cases-and the mistakes made by law enforcement in investigating them-will be new to many and are indicative of the frankness and professionalism that have apparently marked his career. (Mar. 16) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641873522
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/16/2006
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Cataldie was the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana from 1998 to 2003. He has worked as both a small-town general practitioner and an emergency-room doctor in Baton Rouge.

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Table of Contents

1 Katrina 1
2 Coroner 21
3 Forensics 101 41
4 What are the odds? 69
5 Too young to die 91
6 Head cases 117
7 Final exit 143
8 Thou shalt not kill 169
9 Headhunter 199
10 Monster on the loose 209
11 Unsolved mysteries 245
12 In the sights of a sniper 255
13 A killer strikes again 271
14 To catch a killer 295
15 Conclusion 323
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