TRAVELS WITH DR. DEATH: And Other Unusual Investigations by Ron Rosenbaum
Kirkus Star

TRAVELS WITH DR. DEATH: And Other Unusual Investigations

Email this review


Quirky, often bizarre plum pudding of offbeat investigative pieces by a fine writer of personal journalism (Manhattan Passions, 1987). Rosenbaum's title tale tells of his accompanying Dr. James Grigson, a forensic psychiatrist known in the Texas courts as ""Dr. Death,"" on a two-day round of appearances in three murder trials where his testimony gives the jury the right to exercise the death penalty. Grigson is a bouncy, remorseless egoist with gold cigarette holder and gleaming white Cadillac who himself is branded by fellow doctors as a sociopath who kills again and again: ""I don't forgive,"" Grigson says about death-penalty defendants. None of the 15 other pieces is less than gripping, although some become so richly laced with subterranean facts and characters that few will be able to retain much more than an impression of a busy ant-heap. This is especially so when Rosenbaum investigates the wonderful Watergate case with Inspector Richard Nixon in his search for Deep Throat; or seeks Oswald's ghost and fellow snipers in Dallas; or interviews ambiguous General Richard Secord about his false testimony to an Iran-contra special investigator or his past as an arms-dealer for the US. On a lesser level but utterly spellbinding is Rosenbaum's rather moving detective work about the murder of ravishing Mary Meyers, the highborn Washington painter who became JFK's mistress during his final year and kept her secrets in a diary that was confiscated by Ben Bradlee and others when she was shot to death outside her studio; about Manhattan's twin gynecologists whose tandem deaths were twisted into melodrama by the film Dead Ringers; and about the false hopes that support the cancer-cure underground in Tijuana's Hoxey Clinic. A terrific trip through mortality with a winged imp of the perverse.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1990
Publisher: Viking