Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
By Judy Melinek, M.D., and T.J. Mitchell
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The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases—hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex—that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.
Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation—performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy’s two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.
Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America’s most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies—and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law & Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.
Reading Working Stiff with your Book Club?“Working Stiff” Book Club Discussion Questions
About the Authors
Judy Melinek, M.D. is a graduate of Harvard University. She trained at UCLA in medicine and pathology, graduating in 1996. Her training at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York is the subject of her memoir, Working Stiff, which she co-wrote with her husband. Currently, Dr. Melinek is CEO of PathologyExpert Inc., & works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland. She also travels nationally and internationally to lecture on anatomic & forensic pathology and she has been consulted as a forensic expert in many high-profile legal cases.
T.J. Mitchell graduated with an English degree from Harvard and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad and screenplay consultant in 2000. He co-authored the New York Times bestseller Working Stiff with his wife, Dr. Judy Melinek, in 2014. He and Judy are currently collaborating on First Cut, the debut novel in a medical examiner detective-fiction series, while raising their three children in San Francisco.