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Journal of the Dead

A Story of Friendship and Murder in the New Mexico Desert


About the Book

I killed and buried my best friend today ...

When authorities found Raffi Kodikian -- barely alive -- four days after he and his friend David Coughlin became lost in Rattlesnake Canyon, they made a grim and shocking discovery. Kodikian freely admitted that he had stabbed Coughlin twice in the heart. Had there been a darker motive than mercy? And how could anyone, under any circumstances, kill his best friend?

Armed with the journal Kodikian and Coughlin carried into Rattle- snake Canyon, Jason Kersten re-creates in riveting detail those fateful days that led to the killing in an infamously unforgiving wilderness.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Wholly absorbing...Tells the story of Coughlin and Kodikian with quiet authority, lending unexpected dignity to the whole affair.” —New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant new the great nonfiction tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.” —Advertising Age

“A taut, expertly researched true-crime narrative.” —Boston Herald

“A powerful story ... one hell of a fascinating ride.” —National Geographic Adventure

“Five stars. As tough to put down as Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.” —Maxim

“Addictive.” —Time Out New York

“A gripping, readable tale” —Austin American-Statesman

“A fascinating case, a fascinating book.” —Anderson Cooper, CNN

“Fascinating” —Oregonian

“A story that is inherently interesting.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Deftly penned by Jason Kersten, a rising star in the journalism world ... resounding [and] unforgettable.” —Denver Westword

“One of those rare books that the reader will be compelled to read in a single sitting...It’s that good.” —Tulsa World

Kersten’s well-crafted narrative is light and briskly paced, replete with local desert color —Booklist

“A riveting story, a page turner, a book that I couldn’t put down.” —Lawrence Schiller, author of Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

“A true American tragedy, beautifully written.” —Tony Hillerman, author of The Sinister Pig

“A brilliantly crafted exploration of a profoundly human mystery.” —Victoria Bruce, author of No Apparent Danger

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060959227
  • ISBN 10: 0060959223
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 07/27/2004
  • Pages: 272
  • List Price: 19.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: TRUE CRIME / Murder / General
  • BISAC2: LAW / General
  • BISAC3: TRAVEL / Special Interest / Adventure

Journal of the Dead by Jason Kersten

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