Coroner's Journal: Forensics and the Art of Stalking Death

( 18 )

Overview

During Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Louis Cataldie remained in New Orleans in dangerous and often unbearable conditions to attend to the sick, the injured-and the dead. As chief coroner of Baton Rouge, tending to the dead is Cataldie's job. A little town with big-city problems, Baton Rouge means "Red Stick"-and lives up to its bloody name. Cataldie has faced unusual and disturbing cases, from tracking three serial killers on the loose simultaneously while working the scene of a Malvo/ Muhammad Beltway Sniper shooting, ...

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Coroner's Journal: Forensics and the Art of Stalking Death

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Overview

During Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Louis Cataldie remained in New Orleans in dangerous and often unbearable conditions to attend to the sick, the injured-and the dead. As chief coroner of Baton Rouge, tending to the dead is Cataldie's job. A little town with big-city problems, Baton Rouge means "Red Stick"-and lives up to its bloody name. Cataldie has faced unusual and disturbing cases, from tracking three serial killers on the loose simultaneously while working the scene of a Malvo/ Muhammad Beltway Sniper shooting, to helping apprehend Baton Rouge serial killer Derrick Todd Lee in a controversial case that was featured in an ABC Primetime Live special with Diane Sawyer and Patricia Cornwell.

Cataldie's maverick ways have made him a favorite target of the media, but he offers no apologies, and speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. Graphic and frank, this is his unique, up-close look at his life spent stalking death in the Deep South.

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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: 9780425213551
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/6/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 424,196
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell's most recent bestsellers include Red Mist, Port Mortuary, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper-Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem-the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year-and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

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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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Compelling and Absorbing

    I love the state of Louisiana and the city of Baton Rouge (red stick) therefore, this book is not only about a subject that interests me but also set in a location that I am familiar with.


    At over 300 pages and 15 chapters, it is a very informative and compelling read. Some of the cases presented were thrilling to follow. Others, not so much. However as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can recommend it to others.


    I was especially pleased to note the doctor's opinion of TV versus reality. You have to know that the professionals in the real world get so frustrated with the one-hour mindset of the general public.


    I also enjoyed Dr. Bill Bass's book Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales.


    I hope you find my opinion helpful.

    Michael L. Gooch
    Author of Wingtips with Spurs

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    A reviewer

    I wish he would write another book, even though retired,he still got a lot to tell, I am sure. It was well written and emotional at times. I recommend this book highly, I felt like I was there with him, as he decribes the scenes and the emotion he was going through with each case.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    Fascinating Read

    The stories are so interesting! Loved the book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

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    A REALL PAGETURNER

    it is a thrilling read....I was hoping he had other books but have not found any I hope one day he writes another. It is a fascinating look into the life of a M.E.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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