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Description de l’éditeur
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.
An expanded version of Kersten's article in Maxim magazine, where he was a senior editor, this is a well-told account of a fatal 1999 cross-country trip by two best friends, Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin, that ended in the desert near New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns with Coughlin stabbed to death and Kodikian claiming that he had, in effect, committed a mercy killing. Kersten demonstrates, in his first book, good journalism and a flair for the true crime genre. He carefully details the beginnings of the young men's friendship and the pull of the open road that led the Kerouac-loving Kodikian and the rugged, adventurous Coughlin to attempt what should have been an easy journey. Kersten expertly describes the rigors of Rattlesnake Canyon in the Chihuahuan Desert, in which the two men got lost: "not only the largest, but probably the least understood desert in North America." He also unsparingly details the horrible effects dehydration has on the human body, which he uses to illuminate aspects of Kodikian's murder trial and Kodikian's claim that Coughlin had demanded to be put out of his misery. Although Kodikian ultimately pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, Kersten's skillful use of court transcripts and interviews with key law enforcement officials and lawyers shows that there were more questions than answers about what happened, and that the true heart of the matter is the "ambiguity" between what could have been "an understandable act committed out of compassion under incredible physical and mental duress" or "an ingenious lie, designed to hide the truth of an enraged murder."