“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

A True Story of Injustice in the American South

President Lincoln freed the slaves but he couldn’t possibly anticipate how the justice system in the American South would work to continue to oppress them. In this book, the authors expose the institutionalized corruption within the state of Mississippi. They begin with two cases of wrongful incarceration and move into the history of the legal system within the state and the difficulties that have been encountered in trying to establish a medical examiner system. The book serves to expose two people in particular, Dr. Steven Hayne, who performs the majority of the autopsies for the state for over two decades, and Dr. Michael West, a country dentist. The both built careers for themselves in forensics, taking full advantage of the good-ol’-boy structure of the legal environment in the state.

I found this book both sad and compelling. It is always sad for me to be confronted by corruption in America. We call ourselves a Christian nation but too often there are very un-Christian things happening. I also found the tenacity and persistence of the victims of this system to be very compelling. The two wrongly convicted murderers, one of whom spent years on death row, did not give up and neither did their Project Innocence defense teams. In the process of working to free these two men they helped to expose the doctors whose actions had created the sole source of evidence against many wrongfully convicted defendants. I think this book serves as a good reminder that while our justice system may be good it is not always perfect and it is not free from the risk of corruption. If more people had this awareness perhaps improvement could be made at a more rapid pace. I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s written in a way that is appealing to a broad range of readers and the story moves at a really nice pace. This is a top-notch expose and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

This book was provided by NetGalley and Perseus Books in exchange for an honest review.

One thought on ““The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

  1. Great review! This was an excellent but very disturbing book. I can’t believe they got away with so much for so long. Like you said, having the awareness of these things actually happening is so important.


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