Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

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*No Major Spoilers*

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist chronicles how the courts and Mississippi’s death investigation system–a relic of the Jim Crow era–failed to deliver justice for its citizens and recounts the horrifying story of the two men who built successful careers on the back of this system. For nearly two decades, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne performed the vast majority of Mississippi’s autopsies, while his friend Dr. Michael West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart.

Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, and raise sobering questions about our criminal justice system’s ability to address them.

When I first read the description for this nonfiction novel, I assumed it was going to be discussing how a doctor and a dentist conned the justice system. This goes way deeper than just a couple of crooked medical professionals being paid to lie about results and give false testimony. It goes as far as proving that all forensic sciences may not be exactly as though they seem.

With my initial intrigue of this novel as I read, it became much, much more interesting. It gave me quite the insight into some of the past history of forensics and how easily it can be botched, mishandled and or abused.  This novel has piqued my interest and has made me even more curious about forensics and it has also inspired me to look into going to school for Criminal Justice.

This book is an excellent read for anyone into criminal justice, forensics or the sciences of anything related to criminal justice.  I really did enjoy it and was surprised by the information in this book, I wasn’t expecting it to go as deep as it did.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? by Ethan Brown

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*No Spoilers*

An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the “Jeff Davis 8,” and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveal a small southern community’s most closely guarded secrets.

This True Crime novel interested me because I have never heard of the Jeff Davis 8 before. I also thought it’d be an interesting read because it’s a case not discussed very often.

This book investigates the murder of eight women who were involved in drug and prostitution world of Lousiana. As Mr. Brown is delving into this mystery, you begin to realize it goes much deeper than just a drug deal gone horribly wrong.

The discussion on corruption by the police force as well as the racial tensions makes this mystery much more enticing. You never find out who the real culprit is or whether it was a group of people involved or if it was a serial killer.

I would highly recommend this novel if you are a true crime buff and if unsolved cases peak your interests.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting Crime by Lt. Joe Kenda

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*No Major Spoilers*

Detective Lt. Joe Kenda, star of Homicide Hunter, shares his deepest, darkest, and never before revealed case files from his 19 years as a homicide detective. 

Are you horrified yet fascinated by abhorrent murders? Do you crave to know the gory details of these crimes, and do you seek comfort in the solving of the most gruesome? In I WILL FIND YOU, the star of Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda shares his deepest, darkest, and never-before-revealed case files from his two decades as a homicide detective and reminds us that crimes like these are very real and can happen even in our own backyards.

Gruesome, macabre, and complex cases. Joe Kenda investigated 387 murder cases during his 23 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department and solved almost all of them. And he is ready to detail the cases that are too gruesome to air on television, cases that still haunt him, and the few cases where the killer got away. These cases are horrifyingly real, and the detail is so mesmerizing you won’t be able to look away. The tales in I WILL FIND YOU will shock you like the best horror stories-divulging insights into the actions, motivations, and proclivities of nature’s most dangerous species. Don’t mind the blood.

Let me start off by saying, Homicide Hunter is one of my favorite shows on Investigation Discovery. Lt. Kenda’s dry and morbid sense of humor makes me chuckle. His catchphrase: “Oh, my my” is how you know he found the bad guy!

This autobiography is Lt. Kenda’s retelling of some of his stories and cases that aren’t TV friendly. True Crime has never bothered me since I’ve been interested in the subject. I always joke that in a different life I could have been an F.B.I. agent.

If you are able to listen to the audiobook of this memoir, I would highly recommend the audiobook. Lt. Kenda narrates his memoir just as if he was talking on the TV. It’s an easy listening and just as enjoyable as reading the book itself.

Some of my favorite stories involved bar brawls that quickly got out of hand. Alcohol and pure rage can turn any man into an unstoppable monster. Just imagining bar patrons and the police fighting in one big mess humors me for some reason.

I would recommend this memoir for those that love true crime and the show Homicide Hunter. Also if you love a good policeman’s stories, this memoir is perfect for you!