The Cyanide Canary by Joseph Hilldorfer

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"The Cyanide Canary" is the riveting true story of a horrific crime -- of a brave young man left for dead, an unscrupulous business mogul, and the relentless EPA investigator who fought to overcome injustice.

On a crisp summer morning in Soda Springs, Idaho, twenty-year-old Scott Dominguez kissed his fiance e goodbye and went to work for Allan Elias, the owner of Evergreen Resources, an enterprise Dominguez thought was in the business of producing fertilizer from mining waste. A former high school wrestler blessed with Tom Cruise-like good looks, Dominguez seemed to have unlimited potential, but by eleven o'clock that morning he was fighting for his life, pulled unconscious from a cyanide-laced storage tank and not expected to live through the night.

In Seattle, Special Agent Joseph Hilldorfer of the Environmental Protection Agency was given the job of finding out what happened to Dominguez and why. Initially Hilldorfer did not want the case, still frustrated by an intense two-year investigation that concluded with corporate polluters walking out of a federal courthouse free. But as he learned more, Hilldorfer, the son of a Pittsburgh cop with a blue-collar work ethic, was touched by Scott's suffering and outraged at Elias's callous disregard for his employees' well-being.

Hilldorfer and his partner, Special Agent Bob Wojnicz, joined forces with seasoned Boise Assistant U.S. Attorney George Breitsameter and an indefatigable, brilliant young attorney from the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Section named David Uhlmann. Together they would uncover the horrifying truths and build the criminal case against Elias.

A former New York whiz kid and Arizona realestateand business mogul, Elias owned businesses that had polluted Idaho with hazardous waste for nearly a decade. Yet Elias never spent a single day in jail, openly boasted of beating the environmental quality regulations, and avoided any significant fines. Would this case be any different?

Hilldorfer, Uhlmann, and the government trial team embarked on an epic courtroom battle that would stretch them to the limits. What began as a struggle for justice for one young man became a fight by the EPA for its very ability to enforce the nation's environmental laws and to bring environmental polluters to justice. In the balance was whether Allan Elias would ever spend a day in jail.

Gripping, powerful, and compulsively readable, "The Cyanide Canary" is a major achievement in the classic tradition of "A Civil Action," a book that unfolds like fiction yet is alarmingly true.


About Joseph Hilldorfer

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Joseph Hilldorfer is a Special Agent for the Environmental Protection Agency and a member of the National Counter-Terrorism Evidence Response Team. He has been involved in high-profile environmental investigations in the Pacific Northwest since 1992. Prior to joining EPA, Hilldorfer was a distinguished Special Agent with the FBI in Seattle and New York City, working high-profile cases such as the Green River Killer and going undercover for the Counter-Espionage Squad. With an M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he is admitted to the Pennsylvania bar. He lives in Seattle, Washington. Robert Dugoni has practiced as a civil litigator in San Francisco and Seattle for seventeen years. In 1999 he left the full-time practice of law to write, and is a two-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times before obtaining his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He lives with his wife and two children in the Pacific Northwest.
Published September 14, 2004 by Free Press. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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but Scott Dominguez knew what had happened to him, and that it had left him a prisoner in his own body.” The electrically charged narrative tells of former employees referring to Elias’s Evergreen Resources as “Everdeath,” and sums up Elias’s approach to employee safety in a comment prompted by o...

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Publishers Weekly

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Dugoni, a freelance writer, and Hilldorfer, one of the Environmental Protection Agency investigators in the case, leave no doubt about who the bad guy is in this story: he's the plant's owner, Allan Elias, who had a long history of skirting the law in environmental matters.

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