A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter continues his investigation into the opioid in crisis Appalachia, unfolding the story of a pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, that distributed 12 million opioid pain pills in three years to a town with a population of 382 people—and of one woman, desperate for justice after losing her brother to overdose.
Eyre finds a tone for his story. He writes with candor and gravity; a tensile rod of human decency braces every paragraph. He attached himself to this story the way a human fly attaches to a skyscraper, and he refused to let go ... meat and potatoes journalism in a light, sensible broth. There are lawsuits and court fights and public records requests; there is also skulduggery and a mysterious manila envelope dropped into a mailbox. There is unexpungeable grief. It’s the work of an author who understands that objectivity is not the same as bland neutrality. I expect it will be taught to aspiring reporters for many years to come ... demonstrates why local journalism matters, more than ever.
... a highly readable account where events unfold in ticktock and the scenes are set cinematically ... While Death in Mud Lick contains little commentary or interpretation, it raises lots of delicate questions. For example, how to reconcile the structural causes of addiction—poverty, low-paying jobs, social malaise—with personal agency? ... A powerful subtext of the book is the irreplaceable role of local journalism. Not simply to inform—an essential task in itself—but to help serve justice through investigation ... a searing spotlight on the scope and human cost of corruption and negligence.
Based on extensive investigative reporting ... During his reporting, Eyre stumbles upon pill parties in parking lots and exposes inadequate DEA oversight, blatant conflicts of interest, and testimony from drug company executives expressing some remorse but no admissions of guilt for the actions ... Timely and well documented, with appeal to a broad range of readers.