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The Cyanide Canary  By  cover art

The Cyanide Canary

By: Robert Dugoni,Joseph Hilldorfer
Narrated by: Tom Perkins
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Publisher's Summary

Early in the morning on August 27, 1996, 20-year-old Scott Dominguez showed up for an ordinary day at the fertilizing plant where he worked. By 11:00 am, he was clinging to life, unconscious and suffocating from toxic exposure to cyanide in a tank that was supposed to contain only mud and water.

EPA Special Agent Joseph Hilldorfer was tasked with finding out what really happened on that horrific day in Soda Springs, Idaho, but the answers would not be easily uncovered. For more than four years, Hilldorfer, his partner Bob Wojnicz, and a force of top-ranking US attorneys struggled to expose the disturbing truths behind the tragedy, but would their efforts be enough to put the man responsible, Allan Elias, behind bars?

©2004 Joseph Hilldorfer and La Mesa Literary LLC (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[An] electrically charged narrative...Top-notch nonfiction legal thriller, reminding readers of the baseline: 'This all comes down to one thing. It's all about money.'" ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Cyanide Canary

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

True environmental crime case

If you expect action and suspense, The Cyanide Canary will disappoint you. Also, audio is not the ideal format for this book; I borrowed the Kindle ebook when I purchased the audio book and was able to follow the audio version as the ebook was read.

The crime which destroyed the life of a 20 year old man occurred while the owner of the company was operating what amounted to a hazardous waste disposal facility by burying waste on his work sites thus potentially polluting groundwater and local streams. I spent my career working in the manufacturing sector and am aware of the laws and regulations concerning hazardous waste and its transportation and disposal.. In my opinion the death penalty would not have been excessive punishment for this criminal.

This is a case, one of few, where an environmental criminal paid for his crime with significant jail time. It is a very unusual case because the criminal was convicted and sent to prison. Few others have.

The book does not deal with the pervasive issue of remediation of hazard waste sites through the superfund process. There are thousands of polluted sites in the US too few of which have been cleaned up due to the a combination of poorly written laws and the bureaucratic nature of EPA. Efforts on remediation of some of the sites has been ongoing with little progress for 35 years. The criminal owner in this book left the two sites he owned continuing to pollute groundwater and streams.

EPA has become a severely bloated bureaucracy that prefers to deal with the relatively trivial issues while failing to deal effectively with the more serious real problems. It has become so politicized that it deals almost exclusively in political matters.

The laws creating the EPA were passed during the Nixon administration. One of its first decisions under William Ruckleshaus was strictly political: outlawing the use of the insecticide DDT despite scientific evidence strongly to the contrary. Other nations followed the US eventually leading to millions of human deaths in third world countries. Nevertheless, the overall impact of EPA was strongly positive to air and water quality in the US until 2009 when the EPA became thoroughly a part of the political system and it primary task became influencing elections rather than environmental protection.

The Cyanide Canary is a worthwhile listen.

13 people found this helpful

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A bit to long

Good story but way to much detail. Several times I was ready to give up on the book but I kept turning it back on. Hard to believe the court system is not more efficient and a case like this can take so long to get to trial and even longer for the verdict and sentencing. Again, good story but should have had less detail and 3 hours shorter.

4 people found this helpful

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HORRIBLE

HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE. The narrator is so monotone. The detail is beyond ridiculous. An analogy: he drove a ford. It was green with a 5.4 liter engine, the wheel base... etc. what a waste of a credit. If you’re even thinking about buying it, make sure you listen to the sample, which I stupidly did not, the narrator is so bad. I’m 2 hours in and I can’t take anymore. So disappointed with Robert Dugoni

1 person found this helpful

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Reads like fiction!

This is an unusual crime story. It is told day by day, in chronological order with the tension building gradually along with the passage of time. Authors Dugoni and Hilldorfer do an outstanding job of making a tale of pollution, neglect, and responsible waste management read like a murder investigation. And Tom Perkins also does a great job of narrating it. It is even more important today than it was in 1996, when this story took place. I highly recommend this excellent book and performance.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing....

I was on a Dugoni roll, having finished his Crosswhite series and Canon novel. The performance/voice of this book was so painful to listen to,no only made it through 1/3 of the book and had to quit.

I'd probably listen to other series by Dugoni provided they change the speaker!

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating story!

This is a great, well- researched book! Love the dedication to handling this true story. Fantastic authors.
Narrator is good too- but the mispronunciation of the local city and regional landmarks is driving me nuts. I’ll return and switch to kindle.

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Very interesting story

A different version of this book used to be on audible. It was slightly longer and had a different narrator. Both versions are good. I like the story so much I got both versions :) The original version isn't available on audible.com anymore.

I highly recommend this book.

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story of environmental disaster

another great book. i enjoyed hearing the story and what horrible things can happen. couldn't stop listening

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Good story line

Liked the story and the information that was contained in it ver good detail makes you see it in your mind

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Intriguing

Altho it moved a bit slow at times I got really wrapped up in the characters. Ended up sitting im my car for no reason except to learn the outcome.