First Cut
A young rookie medical examiner. A suspicious case. An underworld plot only she saw coming.For San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past.Instead she faces a chilling discovery when an opioid-overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving drug dealers and Bitcoin brokers.Autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all—even if it means that the next corpse on the table could be her own.

First Cut Details

TitleFirst Cut
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 7th, 2020
PublisherHanover Square Press
ISBN-139781335008305
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

First Cut Review

  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    If you are fascinated by forensics this books for you! Judy Melinek wrote this enthralling book with her husband T. J. Mitchell. Melinek works as a medical examiner and that really gave an authentic realistic feel to the story. Dr. Jessie Teska just transferred from the LA Office of the medical examiner to its SF counterpart. She is surprise by the rundown state of the SF office especially after being spoiled by the sparkling new stainless steel LA office. But Jessie doesn’t have much time to If you are fascinated by forensics this books for you! Judy Melinek wrote this enthralling book with her husband T. J. Mitchell. Melinek works as a medical examiner and that really gave an authentic realistic feel to the story. Dr. Jessie Teska just transferred from the LA Office of the medical examiner to its SF counterpart. She is surprise by the rundown state of the SF office especially after being spoiled by the sparkling new stainless steel LA office. But Jessie doesn’t have much time to acclimate she is quickly brought in on a case, a possible overdose. What follows is a tense story of push and pull, Mystery and politics. An addictive procedural with some grit. This was such a compulsive compelling story. I’ve always been fascinated when it comes to forensics and autopsies. It is so interesting to me the clues that your body leaves behind. Parts of the story might be a little too detailed or descriptive for some, but I thought it was well done and truly gave you a real sense of the characters and what they dealt with. There was a part in the story where Jesse was unable to shower after performing an autopsy and then had to go interact with the cops. I felt so bad for her and was simultaneously repulsed by her possible smell. The setting of San Francisco lended well to the story and I have to say I love the fact that Jesse took up residence in a renovated cable car. Real, raw, gritty, gruesome, absorbing, addictive, enthralling, engaging. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is just the first in a new series!This book in emojis 🌫 🚃 💉 🩸 *** Big thanks to Harlequin Hanover Square for my copy of this book ***
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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:Dr. Stone struck me as an overgrown nerd, brilliant and opinionated and completely unfiltered. I like nerds, and I’ve been told many times— many times— that I could use a stronger filter myself.He speaks Bengali like I speak Polish— fluent in curse words, proverbs, and food.People from happy families can’t comprehend what it’s like to live in a hostage situation with people who tell you they love you.We don’t work in a justice system, Jessie. It’s a legal system. We take what we Favorite Quotes:Dr. Stone struck me as an overgrown nerd, brilliant and opinionated and completely unfiltered. I like nerds, and I’ve been told many times— many times— that I could use a stronger filter myself.He speaks Bengali like I speak Polish— fluent in curse words, proverbs, and food.People from happy families can’t comprehend what it’s like to live in a hostage situation with people who tell you they love you.We don’t work in a justice system, Jessie. It’s a legal system. We take what we can get.My Review:This multi-layered tale was cunningly plotted, cleverly complicated, and shrewdly paced. I suspected everyone, and for good reason, as each had their own hidden agendas and they were all actually up to something. While the storylines and characters were complex, I enjoyed the authors’ surprising wit and engaging and descriptive writing style. Their contributions meshed seamlessly and I never would have guessed it was a team effort. The book was written in the first person POV of a newly hired medical examiner in San Francisco, a place I’ve never been and a vocation that gives me the willies to contemplate, yet I was as intrigued by the story as much as the oddly compelling characters and I was truly fascinated by her delightfully unusual living accommodations in a cable car house.
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  • Chris C - A Midlife Wife
    January 1, 1970
    Totally different type of story. Got to love medical mysteries. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The story comes from a different view where the main character is a SF city medical examiner. In a city that big you know there are plenty of areas for intriguing investigations.Jessie comes across a case that is extremely similar to another case that she had prior in another department. It nags her and bugs her so she decides to start digging a little bit deeper than a normal investigation. She runs across many Totally different type of story. Got to love medical mysteries. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The story comes from a different view where the main character is a SF city medical examiner. In a city that big you know there are plenty of areas for intriguing investigations.Jessie comes across a case that is extremely similar to another case that she had prior in another department. It nags her and bugs her so she decides to start digging a little bit deeper than a normal investigation. She runs across many interesting twists and coincidences that are hard to pass by. Was it accidental or was it murder?The story is written in a different manner than what we normally expect. It comes from a medical coroner point of view and that could be disconcerting to some. It’s very graphic but written matter-of-fact so while there is the element of gore and death, it’s in a more clinical point of view.The author did a fabulous job blending in many different tangents to the story. After all she is a forensic pathologist and co-wrote this with her husband! So we will get all of the dirt.We get to know a medical examiner that has a few skeletons of her own in her closet. Jessie has a quirky sense of humor and a taste for doing what is right regardless of how it can affect her later down the line. This action packed crime and medical mystery is fast paced and full of cringe-worthy detail that will keep you reading half the night!The twist and turns in this story prove to hold up through most of the book and the ending gives us a nice surprise too!Perfect for those that love true crime, medical mystery, and complete realism in their books, First Cut by Judy Mitchell & TJ Melinek is a great choice for that weekend read!* Copy received for review considerationFull review - http://amidlifewife.com/first-cut-by-...
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  • January 1, 1970
    Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.comFIRST CUT by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell is a medical thriller/mystery that is the start of a new series featuring San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessica Teska. Dr. Jessica Teska is hoping for a new start in San Francisco after leaving Los Angeles wondering if she would ever work as a medical examiner again. She is determined to do her best and prove she is worth this second chance. When a suspected overdose case Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.comFIRST CUT by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell is a medical thriller/mystery that is the start of a new series featuring San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessica Teska. Dr. Jessica Teska is hoping for a new start in San Francisco after leaving Los Angeles wondering if she would ever work as a medical examiner again. She is determined to do her best and prove she is worth this second chance. When a suspected overdose case of a young woman leaves Jessie feeling as though there is something more sinister involved than a simple overdose, she digs deeper. This case leads to questions that tie it to several other murder cases. Even as more connections and questions arise, Jessie is surprised by her superiors’ pushback to close the case as an accident.As more bodies land in the morgue, Jessie begins to see a web of connections between drug traffickers, bitcoin, and tech start-ups that may somehow tie into a RICO trial of a major criminal in federal court. But will her digging lead to her own body ending up on a slab?I am so excited to have found a great new series to follow! I thought I had everything figured out, but I was only partially correct and the authors were able to throw me with an unexpected surprise twist. I love when that happens. I also love books that feature medical examiners or CSIs that get into the nitty-gritty and are knowledgeable enough to teach me new and unique ways to detect a murder. I had trouble putting this book down because of the intrigue of learning new things and because of the intricate mystery that tied everything together in the end. Even as the authors gave Jessie’s past in Los Angeles to me a bit at a time and gave Jessie love interests and new friends it never overpowered the mystery plot.I highly recommend you read First Cut! I am anxiously awaiting more books in this series!
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  • Mackey
    January 1, 1970
    First Cut is the first book in an exciting new series featuring Dr. Jessie Teska (don't even ask what her first name really is!) She is brilliant, thorough and very flawed, exactly the type of character I love in books. Dr. Teska has newly arrived in San Francisco where a drug epidemic seems to be washing through the city. A new, highly volatile version of heroin has hit the streets causing overdoses among the most hardened users. Dr. Teska begins to see a pattern, however, in those who are First Cut is the first book in an exciting new series featuring Dr. Jessie Teska (don't even ask what her first name really is!) She is brilliant, thorough and very flawed, exactly the type of character I love in books. Dr. Teska has newly arrived in San Francisco where a drug epidemic seems to be washing through the city. A new, highly volatile version of heroin has hit the streets causing overdoses among the most hardened users. Dr. Teska begins to see a pattern, however, in those who are ending up on her slab and the results of her investigation leads a little to close to home - the ME's office! The writing in First Cut is taut, precise and it is obvious the author knows her craft - Melinek is, or was, an ME. The computer stuff was a bit over my head but still easy to follow and actually quite fascinating. The characters were interesting and, while I didn't like them all and some of them made me physically ill to imagine their existence in my world, they were exceptionally well written. I can't wait for the next in this series!
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    I was convinced after reading this book that medical examiners could solve the cases much better than the cops as the dead bodies spoke to them.And Dr. Jessie Teska was one such doc who could find clues in the minute bruises on the body. And boy, was she a genius. This was the story from the POV of a medical examiner and how dead bodies and murders and examiners were all linked in multiple cases.My first book by the author duo, I loved reading it. The writing had medical jargon interspersed, and I was convinced after reading this book that medical examiners could solve the cases much better than the cops as the dead bodies spoke to them.And Dr. Jessie Teska was one such doc who could find clues in the minute bruises on the body. And boy, was she a genius. This was the story from the POV of a medical examiner and how dead bodies and murders and examiners were all linked in multiple cases.My first book by the author duo, I loved reading it. The writing had medical jargon interspersed, and that made my heart sing. The living witnesses could say anything, but the dead never lied. Or did they? Dr. Jessie had quite a complex time with a murder which were linked to her boss's cases. I could understand her dilemma. This was a lot of action and the good doc was quite proactive with the investigation. Her logical reasoning had me in awe. A little more friendlier way of writing rather than medical way would have made the plot come alive. Nonetheless, the doc in me rejoiced at reading this.
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  • Linden
    January 1, 1970
    Are you fascinated by the intimate details of the job of medical examiner? If you are, try this novel. I was the wrong reader for this book--for me, it provided too much information about Jessie's job and, combined with lots of unlikable characters and a plot sideline dealing with startups and cryptocurrency, just didn't work for me. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC.
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  • ♥Rachel♥
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Jessie Teska, a medical examiner, takes a job in San Francisco’s office to get away from a case/situation that rattled her and then some. This fresh start isn’t as clean as she’d like when she’s discouraged from digging deeper into a couple of cases by upper management. Unable to let things go, Jessie forges ahead when her gut urges her to get justice for her victims, putting her in danger as she tries to uncover the truth. Jessie tackles these two main mysteries, but there are also other Dr. Jessie Teska, a medical examiner, takes a job in San Francisco’s office to get away from a case/situation that rattled her and then some. This fresh start isn’t as clean as she’d like when she’s discouraged from digging deeper into a couple of cases by upper management. Unable to let things go, Jessie forges ahead when her gut urges her to get justice for her victims, putting her in danger as she tries to uncover the truth. Jessie tackles these two main mysteries, but there are also other cases that come through that she investigates, little mini mysteries that are solved along the way. There’s also a little bit of romance, Jessie’s personal life overlaps with her work life, and I found the mix a compelling and fascinating combination. I think fans of Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell would enjoy this story. I feel like the story was maybe a little less dramatic. I’m saying that in a positive way since I found all the dramas with Kay and her posse at bit tiresome at times. I think this is more a happy balance of Dr. G (the real-life medical examiner TV show), and Kay Scarpetta; a more clinical, matter-of-fact approach to autopsy. If you enjoy true crime shows, medical examiner mysteries, with a bit of the Dr’s personal life thrown in, then First Cut is for you. I read the authors are working on another Jessie Teska book, and I’m looking forward to it!A copy was kindly provided by Hanover Square Press in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    YES YES YES! I absolutely LOVED this book! Co-written by Judy (a forensic pathologist) and her husband (a screenplay consultant), we see their professions SHINE throughout this read. As a debut novel in a medical examiner detective-fiction series, you best believe I'll be continuing on and keeping an eye out for the next one.I will say though, that there is a lot of medical terminology and intimate details about the job of a medical examiner and if these things aren't your cup of tea, then this YES YES YES! I absolutely LOVED this book! Co-written by Judy (a forensic pathologist) and her husband (a screenplay consultant), we see their professions SHINE throughout this read. As a debut novel in a medical examiner detective-fiction series, you best believe I'll be continuing on and keeping an eye out for the next one.I will say though, that there is a lot of medical terminology and intimate details about the job of a medical examiner and if these things aren't your cup of tea, then this might not be the read for you. However, if you enjoy the intricacies of this type of work, I highly recommend you read this. While some readers might find it a bit bogged down with the every day detail, I was truly fascinated (and this makes me want to go back and read Working Stiff, Melenik's memoir). Now, if we're looking at the pure fiction story, I do wish there was a just a bit more depth with our main character, Jessie. I was missing just a bit of that feeling of connecting fully with her character as she became a one woman crusader with a case that seemed a bit fishy. But hey, as Jessi would say, "not my circus... not my monkeys". I certainly had fun with watching the whole process unfold. Did things get a little convoluted? Maybe. Did I love her Beagle named Beagle? Absolutely!Regardless of the minor things I may have had issue with, I'm still rating this a full 5 stars because I just couldn't put this book down (thank god for a long day at work that consisted mostly of emails and waiting for answers) and when I turned that last page, I was smiling. That for me, folks, is a winner.
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    Just zipped through this one and I truly hope it is the debut of a new series featuring Dr. Jessie Teska. It's a crime thriller whose protagonist is a spunky Polish medical examiner/forensic pathologist in the city of San Fransisco. The plot is complicated and the details are incredible as would be expected since the author is actually a medical examiner who wrote a memoir, "Working Stiff: Two Yeears, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner" along with her husband, T.J. Mitchell. I Just zipped through this one and I truly hope it is the debut of a new series featuring Dr. Jessie Teska. It's a crime thriller whose protagonist is a spunky Polish medical examiner/forensic pathologist in the city of San Fransisco. The plot is complicated and the details are incredible as would be expected since the author is actually a medical examiner who wrote a memoir, "Working Stiff: Two Yeears, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner" along with her husband, T.J. Mitchell. I loved that book and this happens to be her first fiction novel. If you love medical thrillers, you won't be disappointed!Jessie has left her job in LA under a bit of a cloud and is hired on at the San Francisco Office of Chef Medical Examiner. It's a far cry from the state-of-the-art facility that she'd worked in LA, but needs must and she jumps right in as assistant medical examiner dealing with sudden, violent, and unexpected deaths. She lives in a converted cable car in the city famed for the Golden Gate Bridge and rued for the near constant fog. Her first call-out takes her to the Tenderloin with her boss, Dr. Michael Stone, and they find a dead man who was shot multiple times after attempting to steal a computer. Jessie volunteers to do the autopsy and finds a fragment of the computer's serial number embedded in his tissue. The next day brings a new case -- a mutilated woman found in a hotel room -- her body was cut open to retrieve drug packets that she'd swallowed. Then, another, a young woman is discovered dead in her home -- a probable accidental drug overdose. This woman had died from an injection of "Soul Sister" a potent mix of heroin and fentanyl and Jessica believes that there is foul play involved but her bosses want her to close the case. There's something going on here that seems to tie these 3 separate deaths together. Add in a bitcoin scheme and this all turns into a very complex investigation involving some very powerful people. NO SPOILERS.I really enjoyed this and hope that there will be more books with this main character and her job. I like Jessie and her enthusiasm for her job. I've never been to San Francisco, but I liked all the descriptions about the setting. My favorite parts, however, were all the medical details and I simply can't get enough of those. I find the whole subject quite fascinating and the the cases wholly believable. More, please.Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for this e-book ARC to read, review and recommend.
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  • Tiffany PSquared
    January 1, 1970
    When a book has a certain formula that captures my attention, I get a little giddy; and this one fits the bill. It has a flawed, but relatable, main character, love interests to the left and right of her, several mysteries to solve with villains in abundance, and diverse characters that keep the plot moving along at a rapid, engaging pace.I am so satisfied that First Cut is my first blog review of 2020. I mean, I could have really picked a dud to start out the year, but instead, I happen upon When a book has a certain formula that captures my attention, I get a little giddy; and this one fits the bill. It has a flawed, but relatable, main character, love interests to the left and right of her, several mysteries to solve with villains in abundance, and diverse characters that keep the plot moving along at a rapid, engaging pace.I am so satisfied that First Cut is my first blog review of 2020. I mean, I could have really picked a dud to start out the year, but instead, I happen upon this gem of a mystery/thriller!
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  • Susanne Gulde
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital review copy from the publisher through NetGalley for this book to be published January 2020.I did not really enjoy this book, although I can see that others, including our library patrons, will like it.I found the forensic scenes interesting and well done, but wasn't interested in Jessie's personal story. I didn't connect with her personality and found it annoying how many times she had to mention her Beemer. I had guessed why she left Los Angeles, which wasn't completely I received a digital review copy from the publisher through NetGalley for this book to be published January 2020.I did not really enjoy this book, although I can see that others, including our library patrons, will like it.I found the forensic scenes interesting and well done, but wasn't interested in Jessie's personal story. I didn't connect with her personality and found it annoying how many times she had to mention her Beemer. I had guessed why she left Los Angeles, which wasn't completely explained until the very last of the book, and thought there was too much whining about the poor facilities in San Francisco.
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  • Robin Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Jessie Teska's newest case as a medical examiner, and a new job at that, has her realizing that what was first thought to be an overdose was actually something much more - murder.She wants to push things. To investigate. Instead she faces the obstacle of going against her supervisor. She is told to wrap things up, but Jessie just can't let it go. What is more is her work environment, now in San Francisco. She is completely nonplussed. At her previous job in Los Angeles, everything was shiny Dr. Jessie Teska's newest case as a medical examiner, and a new job at that, has her realizing that what was first thought to be an overdose was actually something much more - murder.She wants to push things. To investigate. Instead she faces the obstacle of going against her supervisor. She is told to wrap things up, but Jessie just can't let it go. What is more is her work environment, now in San Francisco. She is completely nonplussed. At her previous job in Los Angeles, everything was shiny and clean. She also had technology at her disposal. Now, things are grimy, rather old school.Adding in the suspicions about the body on her slab, how can Jessie even work? Meanwhile, more deaths abound. Jessie takes no time to connect it with the first case. Shockingly she discovers that there is an opiod crisis..Can Jessie get to the bottom of things, and stay safe in the meantime?I love how Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell wrote this book. I felt like I was there with Jessie, asking questions and demanding answers. I also enjoyed that it was not too technical, even though it was gruesome at times. The fact that Melinek is a forensic psychologist helped to give Jessie's character a sense of authenticity. First Cut proved to be a job well-done, so much so that I do hope we get to see Jessie again.Many thanks to Hanover Square Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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  • Kimmery Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a sucker for any fiction that gives a realistic behind-the-scenes glimpse of a secretive, highly specialized world... and the office of a medical examiner definitely qualifies. This novel was gritty, enthralling, tightly plotted, and beautifully written. I highly recommend!
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  • Caitlyn Lynch
    January 1, 1970
    Written by a husband and wife team, First Cut is a fictional story of a medical examiner starting a career in a new city (San Francisco) and finding herself in at the deep end, with underworld figures determined to see that what she’s found is never used to bring them to justice. Dr. Jessie Teska is a fascinating and very realistic and relatable character, with her working-class Polish-Boston background, her massive student debts to pay off and her not-terrific taste in men. Judy Melinek is a Written by a husband and wife team, First Cut is a fictional story of a medical examiner starting a career in a new city (San Francisco) and finding herself in at the deep end, with underworld figures determined to see that what she’s found is never used to bring them to justice. Dr. Jessie Teska is a fascinating and very realistic and relatable character, with her working-class Polish-Boston background, her massive student debts to pay off and her not-terrific taste in men. Judy Melinek is a real-life medical examiner and brings a wealth of knowledge to the plot, making it feel extremely realistic - far more so than any given episode of CSI, for example, where DNA results come back in a day. The terminology does occasionally get a bit technically dense, not just in medical stuff but sometimes in computer terminology as well as a bitcoin-laundering side plot pops up, but I think it’s actually handled very well, with Jessie demanding her techie brother who she uses as a source break down the computerese for her and Jessie herself explaining her pathology findings to medical students and homicide detectives as a vehicle for the reader to understand.If you enjoy TV shows like CSI, Silent Witness or Crossing Jordan, I think you’ll really like First Cut. It’s a complex story with plot twists and turns you won’t see coming. If forensic detail and the inner workings of a medical examiner’s office aren’t your thing - you will want a fairly strong stomach as there’s quite a lot of gruesome detail which the main character just takes in her stride - you might want to give this a miss, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to see it as the first of a series about Jessie and the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office. Five stars.Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
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  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.We meet Jessie Teska when she is starting her new job with the medical examiner’s office in San Francisco, having moved there from LA. The start Jessie’s story is really slow and 15% in I was wondering what the point of the story was and I was bored. I decided I probably wasting going to bother reading any further. But later the same day I decided I was being too hasty and gave the book a second go and I’m glad I did.It I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.We meet Jessie Teska when she is starting her new job with the medical examiner’s office in San Francisco, having moved there from LA. The start Jessie’s story is really slow and 15% in I was wondering what the point of the story was and I was bored. I decided I probably wasting going to bother reading any further. But later the same day I decided I was being too hasty and gave the book a second go and I’m glad I did.It still took me to more than a third of the way in to First Cut to get really involved with the story, for me to see how that different cases, people and things in Jessie’s new life weren’t entirely random. I liked the way all of the parts of the story came together and there were a few good suspenseful action scenes that got my blood pumping. Ultimately First Cut was good reading, it just had a slow start. At the conclusion to the story I got the impression that maybe there would be more books featuring Jessie. I hope here will be.
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  • Amy Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    ScienceThrillers.com review: Good science, good plot, great character and setting: FIRST CUT is a must-read for fans of forensic fiction. The irresistible voice and fascinating true stories from these authors’ first book, the nonfiction forensic pathology memoir WORKING STIFF, now run through their debut novel of mystery and suspense. About the first half of FIRST CUT has loads of forensic pathology detail. What I particularly appreciate is how the science is absolutely necessary for the plot. ScienceThrillers.com review: Good science, good plot, great character and setting: FIRST CUT is a must-read for fans of forensic fiction. The irresistible voice and fascinating true stories from these authors’ first book, the nonfiction forensic pathology memoir WORKING STIFF, now run through their debut novel of mystery and suspense. About the first half of FIRST CUT has loads of forensic pathology detail. What I particularly appreciate is how the science is absolutely necessary for the plot. As the mystery unfolds, clues from the autopsy suite are critically important. Main character Jessie Teska is a strong, imperfect physician who shows grit and a desire for justice, which of course gets her into trouble. The city of San Francisco’s moods and neighborhoods enrich this story’s noir vibe. Examples of the writing style, which I loved: “He wore a faded red Stanford Athletics T-shirt and black spandex running shorts that immediately brightened my outlook on the day.” “The key was still so fresh-cut that he had trouble opening the door.” “It looks like a newsroom and smells like a gym.” Smart, readable novel that bodes well for a series.An advance copy of this book was given to me by the publisher.
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  • ♛primadonna♛
    January 1, 1970
    I took part in the Winter 2020 Mystery/Thriller blog tour for First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell from Harlequin Trade Publishing.!See my blog tour post and read an excerpt from First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell here!
  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    "Always go with your first impression." "The body never lies."The dark net comes to light in this fabulous new thriller!The content is clinically driven right from Dr. Jessie's morgue as she becomes enamored in catching a killer.She's the new medical examiner whose been tasked with an opiod overdose that winds up opening the flood gates to a host of deaths.Could these deaths be connected? The plot thickens beautifully so don't be quick to judge as you'll miss the M.O.'s and the clues to each "Always go with your first impression." "The body never lies."The dark net comes to light in this fabulous new thriller!The content is clinically driven right from Dr. Jessie's morgue as she becomes enamored in catching a killer.She's the new medical examiner whose been tasked with an opiod overdose that winds up opening the flood gates to a host of deaths.Could these deaths be connected? The plot thickens beautifully so don't be quick to judge as you'll miss the M.O.'s and the clues to each individual case which comes together nicely.There's a word for the "big boy's in action" and this gives that statement a whole new meaning with drug smuggling, body packers, deaths disguised as accidents, and plenty of dirty cash for each participant(s).I guess my question is how can one lose a 'fetus?' It seems several of the women were pregnant so there may be more to this story as the fathers need come forward. STAT!Don't forget the 'silver bullet' is key but what if the bullet is a number twenty two scalpel?OH SNAP!!!Ok, stay calm--Follow protocol-stay focused-specimens can and often do get lost!So many different cases are in the mix with Rebecca/Emilio having some similarities in death but the question remains- Could her death be a blessing in disguise to her enemies?Speaking of 'mix' what's up with our main guy Mike as his 'mixture' is sure to turn up plenty of questions...One thing I noticed outside of this novel is the critical nature of this opiod/fentanyl crisis we now face and the duties of these doctors and pharmaceutical companies to be held accountable.Once they have them addicted they then try to counter with opposing drugs to ween them off what they were initially prescribing.It's a vicious cycle as profits are bottom line.Judy Melinek and her husband TJ Mitchell are clearly well versed and knowledgeable of the trade and it was a pleasure to read this suspenseful thriller!Thank you to Harlequin for this Winter 2020 blog tour experience which was astounding. Thank you to Judy and TJ for their patience having downloaded this ARC in October. Thank you to NetGalley and Hanover Square for the ARC in exchange for this honest review.Please get a copy and enjoy this amazing one of a kind mystery!
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    When a super-speed reader doesn't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do . A hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner uncovers an underworld plot in this fiction debut by the New York Times When a super-speed reader doesn't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner uncovers an underworld plot in this fiction debut by the New York Times bestselling authors of Working StiffFor San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past. Instead, she faces a chilling discovery when a suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving nefarious opioid traffickers and flashy tech titans who got rich off Bitcoin. Autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the table could be her own.It takes a coroner to write a book like this --- it is technical, correct yet amazingly readable by anyone. The plot is tense and tight and the character of Dr Teska is one I want to keep reading about in future books. This was a great mystery to read and work your brain through: it's just a wonderful book to read by any lover of mysteries and thrillers.As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it some SFO sourdough 🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell has Dr. Jessie Teska starting over in San Francisco. Jessie along with her beagle pup, Bea rent a converted cable car. She then dives into her job as assistant medical examiner. Jessie notices an alarming number of drug related deaths that are similar. It starts her investigating that takes her down a dangerous path. Readers who enjoy forensics will be thrilled with First Cut. The authors experience shines through in First Cut. The story is First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell has Dr. Jessie Teska starting over in San Francisco. Jessie along with her beagle pup, Bea rent a converted cable car. She then dives into her job as assistant medical examiner. Jessie notices an alarming number of drug related deaths that are similar. It starts her investigating that takes her down a dangerous path. Readers who enjoy forensics will be thrilled with First Cut. The authors experience shines through in First Cut. The story is well-written and the story proceeds at a thoughtful pace. I did find First Cut to be a slow starter, but it soon becomes engrossing. I thought the characters were realistic and developed. I liked Jessie with her Polish background, cute little dog named Bea, and her quirky abode. I thought she was spunky. She leaves a job with her mentor along with state of the art facilities behind in Los Angeles to get a fresh start. We do not find out why right away. Clues are dropped with the full story emerging later in the book. The descriptions are detailed allowing readers to visualize the scenes which brings the story alive. Be prepared to handle the gory details related to the autopsies (the sounds, smells and what the medical examiner sees during the examination). There is one corpse that was truly repulsive courtesy to the explosion of fluids. The mystery is complex and multifaceted. I enjoyed following Jessie as she delved into the case searching for the truth. It is a modern case that involves more than drugs (I do not want to spoil it for you). You will be amazed at how it all plays out in the end. First Cut is a story that will you keep you guessing.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “First Cut” by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell, Hanover Square Press, January 7, 2020Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell have written a thrilling, intriguing, intense and edgy novel. The Genres for this novel are Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set in the authors’ present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The authors describe their characters as complex and complicated.Dr. Jessie Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “First Cut” by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell, Hanover Square Press, January 7, 2020Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell have written a thrilling, intriguing, intense and edgy novel. The Genres for this novel are Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set in the authors’ present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The authors describe their characters as complex and complicated.Dr. Jessie Teska is the new medical examiner in San Francisco. Jessie is extremely determined and very stubborn. Also, she tediously takes in every detail. On her autopsy table, she is noticing that an accidental overdose is looking more like a homicide. Her Superiors at her job aren’t supporting her, and want her to close the case.Jessie has some secrets from her last job and really needs this job, although it is not ideal. When more bodies arrive in the autopsy, and there are similarities, Jessie is more intent on finding the truth. It means fighting her superiors, the police, and facing more threats and danger. Illegal drugs, drug trafficking, big corporations, and murder are on the agenda. I would recommend this chilling thriller for those readers who enjoy suspenseful thrillers.
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  • Kari
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI read Working Stiff back in 2015 and really enjoyed Dr. Melinek's account of her time as a medical examiner in New York City. So, I was eager to check out this author duo's first foray into fiction, First Cut. For the most part, I enjoyed the book. I really liked the main character, Jessie. She felt authentic to me. She is someone I would love to see in another mystery in the future. I'm not sure if this will be a series or not. I appreciated all of the detail that that author was able 3.5 starsI read Working Stiff back in 2015 and really enjoyed Dr. Melinek's account of her time as a medical examiner in New York City. So, I was eager to check out this author duo's first foray into fiction, First Cut. For the most part, I enjoyed the book. I really liked the main character, Jessie. She felt authentic to me. She is someone I would love to see in another mystery in the future. I'm not sure if this will be a series or not. I appreciated all of the detail that that author was able to lend to the autopsy scenes. As for the mystery, it was a bit predicable in places. I felt like it was a little convoluted with too many players. But I still had fun reading it. I do recommend picking this one up.
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  • Clark
    January 1, 1970
    Started out kind of slow, with a lot of technical medical terms, but the second half of the book is very creative with great drama and mystery. Very good book for first-time authors.
  • RG
    January 1, 1970
    I found this one a little too predictable. I was just waiting for a something to appear and when it did, the twist was simple. Was expecting more. Also wasnt overly fond of the main character
  • Avid Reader
    January 1, 1970
    First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell4 starsM/F MysteryI was given this book for an honest review by Wicked Reads.This is the first book that I've read by these authors. It resembled the Kay Scarpetta novels that I absolutely love, by Patricia Cornwell. While this is a more procedural novel, with a lot of medical jargon, it didn't detract from the story for me. I really enjoyed the twists and turns that this book took. It was well developed and you really want to pull for Jessie, the First Cut by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell4 starsM/F MysteryI was given this book for an honest review by Wicked Reads.This is the first book that I've read by these authors. It resembled the Kay Scarpetta novels that I absolutely love, by Patricia Cornwell. While this is a more procedural novel, with a lot of medical jargon, it didn't detract from the story for me. I really enjoyed the twists and turns that this book took. It was well developed and you really want to pull for Jessie, the newest medical examiner. But, when she finds that something is strange about her new job, Jessie isn't one to let things go. She wants to know the truth. She wants justice.While the story has a lot going on, I think it was almost a let down when it came to an end. I still had questions and while it isn't a cliff hanger, I felt that it didn't feel finished either. I am hoping that more will follow Jessie's new adventure.
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  • BOOKLOVER10
    January 1, 1970
    After ten months, thirty-one-year-old Dr. Czeslawa (Jessie) Teska leaves her position as a forensic pathologist in Los Angeles and is hired as an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco. Unlike her state-of-the-art workplace in L. A., with its "stainless-steel surgical stations," Jessie's current office is understaffed and poorly equipped. Dr. Judy Melinek's "First Cut," written with her husband, T. J. Mitchell, takes us into the morgue with Jessie and her colleagues. There, Jessie and her After ten months, thirty-one-year-old Dr. Czeslawa (Jessie) Teska leaves her position as a forensic pathologist in Los Angeles and is hired as an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco. Unlike her state-of-the-art workplace in L. A., with its "stainless-steel surgical stations," Jessie's current office is understaffed and poorly equipped. Dr. Judy Melinek's "First Cut," written with her husband, T. J. Mitchell, takes us into the morgue with Jessie and her colleagues. There, Jessie and her fellow experts examine corpses, some of which are grotesquely decomposed, to determine the cause and manner of death. Melinek's expertise as a Board Certified Forensic Pathologist is readily apparent. The author goes into great detail describing how Jessie conducts postmortems and meticulously records the results. In addition, Dr. Teska works hand-in-hand with prosecutors who may, in the future, ask her to testify in court.Jessie is a highly-qualified professional with a conscience. Her desire to tell it like it is instead of pleasing Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Howe, brings her into conflict not just with the big boss, but also with her immediate supervisor, Dr. Michael Stone. Among the matters that Jessie looks into are the shooting of a laptop thief; a drug overdose that killed a young woman who had no history of addiction; a teenager who was eviscerated in a hotel room; and a floater whose body was mutilated in an effort to disguise his identity. Melinek and Mitchell touch on corruption in the judicial system; financial malfeasance in the corporate world; and Jessie's complicated and disturbing past. There is even a dollop of romance to spice things up a bit. It turns out that relocating to San Francisco might not have been Jessie's smartest move. She lands in deep trouble when her passion for the truth places her career and her life in jeopardy."First Cut" is a serviceable debut that is most interesting when Melinek focuses on the details of analyzing a crime scene and connecting her findings at autopsy to the larger picture of how and why someone died. Jessie's curiosity and refusal to follow orders lead her to surprising discoveries. Can Jessie convince important and influential people to fess up to their misdeeds? Jessie is a smart, tough, and spunky heroine (some fun facts: she lives in a converted cable car and, along with her tech genius brother, Tomasz, is fluent in Polish), but the novel is weakened by its far-fetched, clichéd, and chaotic plot. When Jessie launches her one-woman crusade to punish the guilty and vindicate the innocent, she becomes a human punching bag, both physically and emotionally. Yet, she bounces back quickly and keeps up her crusade to see that justice is done. The writing, although adequate, lacks the depth, nuance, and coherence that might have made "First Cut" a more memorable, plausible, and engrossing thriller.
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  • WycEd Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Check out our FIRST CUT post on Wicked Reads.Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review TeamAvid Reader – M/F MysteryThis is the first book that I've read by these authors. It resembled the Kay Scarpetta novels that I absolutely love by Patricia Cornwell.While this is a more procedural novel, with a lot of medical jargon, it didn't detract from the story for me.I really enjoyed the twists and turns that this book took. It was well developed, and you really want to pull for Jessie, the newest medical Check out our FIRST CUT post on Wicked Reads.Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review TeamAvid Reader – ☆☆☆☆M/F MysteryThis is the first book that I've read by these authors. It resembled the Kay Scarpetta novels that I absolutely love by Patricia Cornwell.While this is a more procedural novel, with a lot of medical jargon, it didn't detract from the story for me.I really enjoyed the twists and turns that this book took. It was well developed, and you really want to pull for Jessie, the newest medical examiner. But when she finds that something is strange about her new job, Jessie isn't one to let things go. She wants to know the truth. She wants justice.While the story has a lot going on, I think it was almost a letdown when it came to an end. I still had questions and while it isn't a cliffhanger, I felt that it didn't feel finished either. I am hoping that more will follow Jessie's new adventure.Veronica – ☆☆☆We meet Jessie Teska when she is starting her new job with the medical examiner’s office in San Francisco, having moved there from LA. The start, Jessie’s story is really slow and 15% in I was wondering what the point of the story was and I was bored. I decided I probably wasn’t going to bother reading any further. But later the same day I decided I was being too hasty and gave the book a second go and I’m glad I did.It still took me to more than a third of the way into First Cut to get really involved with the story, for me to see how that different cases, people, and things in Jessie’s new life weren’t entirely random. I liked the way all of the parts of the story came together and there were a few good suspenseful action scenes that got my blood pumping. Ultimately, First Cut was good reading, it just had a slow start. At the conclusion to the story I got the impression that maybe there would be more books featuring Jessie. I hope there will be.Reviewers received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Hanover Square Press for sending me an ARC of this book.I’ve read Dr. Melinek’s memoir (Working Stiff) a few years ago and adored it! That book actually got me interested in reading memoirs.She then wrote this novel (again, with her husband T.J. Mitchell) about a young medical examiner who quits her job in LA because of the traumatic event that happened at work and moves to San Francisco. But her troubles don’t stop; she gets a case that her boss pushes her to close as an accident, but Thank you Hanover Square Press for sending me an ARC of this book.I’ve read Dr. Melinek’s memoir (Working Stiff) a few years ago and adored it! That book actually got me interested in reading memoirs.She then wrote this novel (again, with her husband T.J. Mitchell) about a young medical examiner who quits her job in LA because of the traumatic event that happened at work and moves to San Francisco. But her troubles don’t stop; she gets a case that her boss pushes her to close as an accident, but she is convinced that it is a homicide. She is not quite sure what to do as she definitely does not need another incident at work, especially since this job is a fresh start for her.I loved the writing style! It definitely reminds me of Working Stiff, even though this is a different genre. It was witty and enjoyable. Being a dentist, I really enjoy reading all stuff medical and there’s a lot of books out there written by doctors that can be overwhelming for non-medical people and some of them even for people who do work in medical field, but this book is nothing like that, it has a perfect amount of interesting facts that are very well distributed throughout the book. This book is perfect for anyone who likes forensics.Let’s talk about setting. I love, love, love San Francisco and I didn’t even know this book was set there and was pleasantly surprised when I started reading it. Authors give us landmarks and street names, I enjoyed it so much.Our protagonist was hilarious. She is not perfect, but she is intelligent and sassy AND she is half Polish and she uses Polish words and I smiled every time a word she was using was similar to the word of my native language (Serbian) and I could understand it without explanation.I loved this book so much that I preordered a signed copy because I have no self control and I’m a hoarder of good books. Also, this is going to be series and I have to have them all.This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, so do yourself a favor and read it when it comes out in January 2020, start your year right. And don’t worry, I’ll remind you again in January (on Instagram).
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  • Barb Lie
    January 1, 1970
    First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell is a standalone novel. We meet our heroine, Jessie Teska, immediately as she arrives for her first day as an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco. Jessie left her old job in Los Angeles because she needed to be on her own, and not close to the man she had fallen in love with. We will learn a bit more about that relationship and why she left nearer to the end, but he technically has nothing to do with this story line.Jessie is immediately First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell is a standalone novel. We meet our heroine, Jessie Teska, immediately as she arrives for her first day as an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco. Jessie left her old job in Los Angeles because she needed to be on her own, and not close to the man she had fallen in love with. We will learn a bit more about that relationship and why she left nearer to the end, but he technically has nothing to do with this story line.Jessie is immediately bombarded with a number of cases, with one being an overdose that is considered an accident. As Jessie takes control of the case, she discovers some other deaths being similar, causing her to delve deeper in to the overdose case. Her superiors want her to close the case as an accident, putting pressure on her, despite her belief that something was wrong. Jessie begins to suspect her boss as knowing more than he is letting on, trying to push her off the case. In a short time, with bodies showing up in the lab, Jessie begins see that this could be a murder and drug case, which now puts her own life in danger. Despite no help from her superiors, Jessie does work closely with some of the detectives to try and find the truth.What follows is an intense, gritty, exciting story line about the world of medical examiners, with a lot of detailed descriptions. Melinek is a forensic pathologist in real life, and uses much of her knowledge in detailing everything throughout the book. First Cut is a complex and fast paced story that kept our attention from start to finish, also giving me a feel similar to Patricia Cornwall. I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, which this was, but there was so much detail and explicitly gory scenes as they dissect on the human body, which gave me mixed feelings about how much I needed to know. Lol However, this was a good compelling mystery and very well written. BarbThe Reading Cafe
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