First Cut

Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell. Hanover Square, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-335-00830-5
Forensic pathologist Melinek and husband Mitchell (Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner) make their fiction debut with a strong series launch. The case load of San Francisco medical examiner Jessie Teska, who recently relocated from L.A. after a complicated breakup with her police detective boyfriend, includes a woman who died of an apparent heroin overdose. Under pressure from her superiors to quickly close the case, Jessie sees signs that the death may be a homicide. The issue becomes even more problematic after Jessie discovers that not only was the dead woman pregnant, she was also the deputy chief medical examiner’s former nanny. While Jessie’s gutsy personality will endear her to readers, it’s the meticulous detail that distinguishes this novel; the authors nail the (oftentimes ghastly) mundanities of life as a medical examiner (“I had spent nearly an hour sloshing through a fetid soup of decomposition fluid and liquefied organs on the autopsy table”). Fans of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta will be pleased. Agent: Jessica Papin, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/28/2019
Release date: 01/07/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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