The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.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...

Details The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

TitleThe Cadaver King and the Country Dentist
Release DateFeb 27th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, History, Mystery

Reviews The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

  • Debra
    It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. - James Baldwin, No name in the StreetThis is a very sobering book about how racism, bad forensics, institutionalization and a faulty criminal justice system in Mississippi put hundreds of innocent people behind bars. Two three-year-old girls were taken from their homes, sexually assaulted and murdered in rural Mississippi. Of course, this...
  • Julie
    The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington is a 2018 Public Affairs publication. “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it”- Flannery O’Connor This book is shocking me, yet, it doesn’t shock me. I know our system has its flaws, that each state has their own peculiar laws and that corruption reigns supreme everywhere. I’ve been re...
  • Liz
    One of the key necessities in determining the facts of a crime is in making the story fit the evidence, not the evidence fit the story. This book shows how a complex system of corrupt or stupid attorneys, judges, policemen, a coroner and a dentist managed to convict a number of innocent people In Mississippi over several decades. It boggles the mind that this was allowed to go on for so long. Mississippi has consistently ranked near the bottom of...
  • Beata
    "Indeed and without doubt" this book IS exceptional. Recently quite a few books have been published on injustice done to people wrongfully accused of committing crimes. Here we are given some explanation how such tragedies may happen.
  • Valerity (Val)
    This was a sad and tragic retelling of the story about a pair of so-called doctors in Mississippi who got involved in the court system as professional testifiers. The first one is the prolific Dr. Steven Hayne. He had lined himself up to be in a position to be doing an incredible 80% of the state's autopsies when he already had 2 full-time jobs to do. Plus lab work, testifying, private autopsies, and other duties. Not to mention that when the rec...
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    4 1/2 starsThis book is really hard for me to review. I have been mad at books before, have had a book that actually gave me nightmares, and have had books that gave me doubt - but this particular one scared the hell out me. It points out that we are not always in control of our lives. Not in a sci-fi way, this book is a non-fiction book - but in the way that our families, our freedoms and our futures can be taken away - at the drop of a hat - fo...
  • Darcia Helle
    This book is a comprehensive, incredibly well researched exploration of the intertwining of politics, law, justice/injustice, and racism in the deep south. I read a lot of true crime and sociology, but I've never read a book that explores corruption within our legal system in regards to our coroners and medical examiners. I'm embarrassed to admit that I never considered this angle. The science, we like to think, should be the trustworthy aspect o...
  • Joey R.
    “The Cadaver King and The Country Dentist” is a very well researched look inside the world of forensic pathology and bite mark analysis within the criminal justice system of Mississippi. The book focuses on forensic pathologist Steven Hayne and bite mark examiner Michael West who provided highly suspect testimony for years that led to the conviction of multiple innocent people in Mississippi. The authors’ focus is on two cases in which the ...
  • Josh
    "It's often said that the wheels of justice grind slowly. That isn't always true. When it comes to convicting people, they can move pretty swiftly. It's when the system needs to correct an injustice--admit its mistakes--that the gears tend to sputter to a halt."
  • Janet
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher - After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.The Cadaver King and th...
  • Sarah
    The facts presented in this book are infuriating and heartbreaking, and I am so glad I read it. The content is 5 star reporting, but my reading experience was closer to 3 stars, because it was kind of dry and took a long time to push myself through it. I think it's really worth a read, and I'm so glad the authors have shed light on this issue. This book focuses on two men who are responsible for testifying to evidence based on incompetent work an...
  • Stephanie Moran
    This is one of those books that can really rip the blinders off. Honest and objective, not only to our justice system but to the scientific realm as well. I was blown away by this account of the criminal justice system in Mississippi.Listen - as much as we are drilled to believe that our system is righteous and without fault - it's completely false. There are so many faults with our system - and much has to do with politics and perceptions. We wa...
  • Ctgt
    Let's see if this sounds familiar......politicians and law enforcement officials using, and at times subverting the system to obtain the necessary "forensic evidence" for a conviction. Sounds like something right out of Jim Crow south in the early/mid parts of the 20th century. However, this book covers a much more recent timeline 80's, 90's and even into the early 2000's.The first third of the book discusses the history of the coroner, and later...
  • Clare
    Listened to in audio format.DNFThis book is undoubtedly well researched but it is a bit heavy going for me.
  • Ozy Frantz
    I'm a huge fan of Radley Balko, and this gripping true story of injustice in Mississippi is him at his best. He doesn't simply report on a single state's dysfunctional justice system, but uses it to explore why the American justice system relied so long on junk forensic science and imprisoned so many innocent people. I particularly appreciate his clear-eyed moral vision; when something is wrong, by God, Radley Balko will say it is wrong. I don't ...
  • George Lichman
    The book is a good example of some of the problems in our criminal justice system relating to, most specifically, junk science and the ‘expert witness’ but also addressed inadequate counsel, incompetent law enforcement, and a political system that seems to be designed to protect it all. Set both historically, as origins of the coroner system of death investigations are explored, the fight against desegregation in the 60s, and as recently as t...
  • Florence
    The Mississippi criminal justice system has been largely run by the good ole boys network. It took a wink and a nod toward the prosecution to push for conviction of a defendant with testimony from a self-styled pathologist with no board certified credentials. Similarly, a local dentist discovered ways to discover which set of teeth left marks on a victims body or a bologna sandwich. It was a monumental fraud. People are still on death row today b...
  • Alex Bear
    I've never disliked a nonfiction book for providing too many fact. Damn, this thing is dense though. One could spend a year with this book and still be picking out new facts. Definitely not one's usual mass-market true-crime, but well researched, and well written from a great cause.
  • Kristy Miller
    I've had an interest in criminal justice since middle school. I have a Masters Degree in Legal Studies. I work for defense attorneys who do a lot of indigent defense. I know a lot of the facts behind prosecutorial misconduct. Even I was pissed off by this book. Basic summary: Everything you see on CSI, NCIS, Bones, ect, is total bullshit. Aside from DNA evidence, which is the only hope of innocent people convicted when the rest of this subjective...
  • Rebecca McPhedran
    Steven Hayne is a forensic pathologist, who has done thousands of autopsies for the state of Mississippi over the course of 20 years. You read that right, thousands over twenty years. That’s a lot. One would think that with that kind of track record, Hayne would make mistakes. People would notice those mistakes, and his license would be revoked-but that was not the case. As part of the good ol’ boys club Hayne was permitted to continue practi...
  • Chrystal
    If I could give this book six stars I would. I haven't read a book that made me this mad toward the (in)justice system as this one has since I read "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham and "Chasing Justice" by Kerry Max Cook. This book is very powerfully written, I appreciate the wide lens the authors take on the subject, infusing history and a well rounded story into the points they make. No wonder this book took so long to write. They did so much...
  • Lizett
    This is a truly chilling book. I spent most of my career thus far as a prosecutor, confident that the science being brought into the courtroom was evidence-based and accurate. This book shows what can happen when the gatekeepers of that science don't have much regard for the scientific basis for any conclusions made. It's frustrating and disheartening, but good to see the hard work being done to ensure those wrongfully convicted go free. The trav...
  • Jenny Moore
    Amazing. I listed to the audiobook and finished it in less than 24 hours. It was captivating. A well-researched, gripping story that illustrates the injustices of our justice system, the racism upon which that system was built, and the troubled relationship between science and the law. I can't recommend this book enough. It would be great for a book group, as it is just begging to be discussed, analyzed, and debated. My favorite read so far this ...
  • Amanda
    This book left me devastated and hopeless but also full of fire. It is absolutely insane that there is a state in our country that has allowed greed and corruption to rule the criminal justice system for decades. This book is not just a true crime narrative - it is a novel length work of incredible investigative journalism and a treatise on the sad history of the death investigation system, Jim Crow and the troubled history of the law not knowing...
  • Lauren
    I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. While it was fascinating, it was dense. It read similar to a textbook.
  • Geoff
    Once again, burn down the criminal justice system and its misaligned incentives when it comes to shoddy forensic evidence. Supporting process/procedure over justice and established powerful interests over individual liberties is not was this country should be about.
  • Judy Frey
    This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.... if you can stomach it. It is also gut- wrenching, mind- boggling and jaw- dropping. It’s billed as a true story of injustice in the American South. Written by an astute investigative reporter and a former criminal defense attorney who now heads the Innocence Project in Mississippi. The story it tells us is hard to absorb. It’s simply unbelievable how easy it is to convict an innocen...
  • Forgottendreamr
    This is an expose of corruption in the courts, confirming every stereotype of Mississippi. It was simultaneously frustrating and horrifying. There were some slow bits, and some of the history and details could have been cut, but overall an important book for the story it tells.
  • Alex Clark
    Fuck Michael West, fuck Steven Hayne, and fuck the Mississippi judicial system.
  • Kristin
    Review coming soon....