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Coroner's Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana Hardcover – March 16, 2006

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Although there have been many recent books written by coroners, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists, few of them have given the reader much of a look at the day-to-day life of someone whose profession is death. This account does just that. The author, a coroner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has had a hand in some famous cases (the Beltway sniper shootings and the Derrick Todd Lee serial-murder case, for example), but it is descriptions of cases that didn't grab headlines--the family tragedies, the senseless accidents, the pointless brutalities--that give the book its weight. Rarely has there been such a detailed picture of what a coroner does and how the job affects his or her private life. The fact that Cataldie played a crucial role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will give his book extra publicity; expect plenty of demand. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (March 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152825
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #948,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ann R. Pace on May 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Louis Cataldie is an extraordinary man writing an extraordinary book. He was the coroner in the south Louisiana serial murders, a sequence of murders that claimed the life of my very precious daughter. He tells that story with compassion and accuracy. Dr. Cataldie has led a "path-less-chosen" life that is a mystery to most of us. The book is compelling and sobering and filled with stories we should hear and information we should know.

I recommend the man and the book.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Marino on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Louis Cataldie is a compassionate and dedicated man who has devoted a great part of his life to helping family members left behind by the death of a loved one. Too bad the Baton Rouge serial killer case did not receive the national, nor the local, coverage it should have gotten. That is why it was so important that Dr. Cataldie had the courage to expose the inexperienced task force investigating these killings.

Without Dr. Cataldie's honesty, many like me would not have had the foresight and courage to do our own investigations.

Thank you, Dr. Cataldie, for the leadership you displayed in every aspect of your duties and responsibilities as Coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish. I will always be grateful to you for not being afraid to do the right things - always!

Lynne Marino,

Mother of Pam Kinamore, serial killer victim.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Bourg on August 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Coroner's Journal is not a Baton Rouge CSI. It is much more disturbing! Dr. Louis Cataldie will take your hand and walk you through the daily life of a coroner. You will feel the human-ness of the victims, their families, and most of all, Dr. Cataldie. This book is not a fictional account of "how exciting and sexy it is to be a coroner". It is pain, frustration, fear, paranoia, courage, love, determination and a first hand view of good triumphing evil.

Thank you Dr. Cataldie for having the courage to share your heart and soul with the rest of us who don't live in Baton Rouge. Thank you for reminding us that the evil that rips families apart is not fodder for drama. It is a call to work together and love one another.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heather Heath on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives you an inside look in the mind of a coroner. The good, the bad and the ugly. It also details cases he has worked on that have impacted him forever. Easy read, he should publish more journals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Gooch on December 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Wolfe on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was totally involved with reading this book. I couldn't put it down until I had finished it.

Very in depth, very well written, really does show the steps a coroner goes thru in a death and crime situation.

I felt as if I were on the investigating team. It really is a very good book, including much about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Horgan on September 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr Louis Cataldie does a great job of carrying you through the cases that are covered in this book. He is a very compassionate man and a great asset to the state of Lousiana. I would recommend this book with the highest rating I can give.
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