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Death at Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre

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This book follows up on the reporting that the author did for the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette-Mail that garnered him a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting, an award that had never gone to a newspaper with a smaller circulation. He looked particularly closely at Kermit, West Virginia, a town of 382 people where the pharmaceutical industry almost nine-million opioid pills in two years and profiles victims and activists there. "I thought I knew about the roots of the opioid crisis in rural Appalachia. Then, I read this book with my mouth agape. The larger-than-life characters, the vivid scenes, so many deaths, and so much money made from an alliance of local crooks and global corporations. With searing storytelling and deep investigative reporting, Eric Eyre has written an indispensable book that you won't be able to put down." – Anna Sale. "Eric Eyre represents the absolute best of newspaper reporting: He’s dogged, fair, and as scrappy as the mountains he calls home. His book, Death in Mud Lick, is a riveting, intimate look at the corporate greed, regulatory failure and lobbying shenanigans that led to pill mills complete with “courtesy snacks” and cash registers so full they wouldn’t close. In the most opioid-ravaged place in America, Eyre makes you see the opioid crisis anew."—Beth Macy. "At the Gazette-Mail, Eyre’s career has been the stuff of quiet legend ... Eyre served his community in a time of need. With his new book, he took the death of a coal miner, William (Bull) Preece, found dead in a trailer in Mud Lick amid a residue of crushed pills, and told the how and the why. His reporting led to restrictions on prescriptions, greater tracking, more transparency. He shamed an industry and saved lives. Working at a small newspaper, Eyre made a big difference." “Timely and well documented, with appeal to a broad range of readers.”Library Journal, starred review. “Packed with colorful details and startling statistics, this page-turning journalistic thriller shines a brilliant spotlight on a national tragedy.”Publishers Weekly, starred review. "Compellingly told ... a tale of compassionate people deeply wronged and a dogged journalist who won't stand for it."Booklist, starred review. "Powerful . . . . [Eyre] writes with candor and gravity; a tensile rod of human decency braces every paragraph. . . . .  [Death in Mud Lick] is 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. It's the story of an epidemic; it's also the story of a newspaper."New York Times.

New York: Scribners, 2020. 304 pages with an Index and Notes. Hardback in dust jacket.