Katherine Corcoran’s In the Mouth of the Wolf: A Murder, A Cover-up, and the True Cost of Silencing the Press (Bloomsbury 2022) is a harrowing account of the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez. Martínez was found bludgeoned to death in her bathroom in 2012. Because Martínez often covered political corruption and drug cartels in her stories, many immediately suspected her murder was retaliation for her work.
Corcoran does an excellent job of contextualizing Martínez’s murder—journalists disappear and are killed often in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist. Add to this risk an incredibly corrupt political system and rampant drug cartels and you have the perfect storm for violence. Knowing this context is crucial for the average reader who may know much about Mexican journalism and its risks. However, I do think Corcoran’s contextualization is overlong and could have been significantly cut down—much of the first half of text failed to grab me as a reader because the information about politics, press, and general culture in Mexico was difficult to follow and confusing. It is also really only in the second half of the book that Corcoran begins to investigate Martínez’s murder in earnest—my suspicion is that many true crime readers may be turned off by this fact.
When the book does eventually turn to Martínez’s investigation, it is much more engaging and organized. This half of the book almost reads as a memoir at times—we as readers get to know Corcoran personally through her sharp perceptions, fears, and worries. Corcoran’s account of her investigation is, in many ways, a love letter to Mexico, and going down a rabbit hole of the Martínez investigation allows her to face not only the grave problems with politics in Mexico but also the political problems that exist in the United States, her country of origin. It is evident that the Martínez investigation was extremely personal to Corcoran, and her passion for the case is contagious.
Overall, I think many true crime readers will want to skip the first half of this text, unless they are particularly interested in journalism and Mexican politics. This portion of the text is overlong and does not focus much on the Martínez case itself. But the second half of the text is worth reading, not only for the information it offers on the Martínez case, but for its authors compelling and sharp perspective.
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A copy of In the Mouth of the Wolf was provided to True Crime Index by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Writer:
Jesyka Traynor is an academic living in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. When she’s not writing or researching her dissertation, she’s consuming all the true crime and non-fiction she can find time for. Jesyka holds two degrees in English literature and is currently pursuing a doctorate in contemporary Californian literature. Her work on women in twenty-first century true crime has been published in Crime Fiction Studies.