What Is Xavier Reading?
Largely written before Cataldie was called to account for the dead of hurricane Katrina, this is no high tech CSI wannabe glamour novel. Cataldie makes no bones about the reality, the personal costs and the sacrifices his calling takes on himself and his family. Katrina hit as the author was finishing this book, and the first chapter chronicles his ongoing frustration and struggle to account for the dead of the storm. Prior, he had achieved fame for his work on the serial cases of Derrick Todd Lee, and murderous spree of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.
Although panned by Publisher's Weekly as being an "unremarkable account" with "flat writing and the occasional platitude", I feel that Coroner's Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana is a glaring example of why artists frequently say they have eyes while critics have spectacles. This book is anything but unremarkable. It is a spot of human brilliance concerning a topic that is all to often simply a scientific fashion statement in today's world. Louis Cataldie does not seek to increase his reputation by writing this book, rather he attempts to respectfully speak for the dead while educating us all. It is intense, it is menacing, ominous, bizarre, and it is absolutely compelling. Best of all, it's on the cheap rack. Prove the critics wrong. Read this book.