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January 18, 2021

Aftershock by Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell ~ a Review

by MK French

Dr. Jessie Teska is the medical examiner on call when a body is found at a construction site. She discovers it's a homicide staged as an accident, and she has to track down the killer. An earthquake rattles the city, leaving an innocent man framed for the murder. Now Jessie has to race to find the truth before it gets buried.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

January 2021; Hanover Square; 978-1335147295
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); medical thriller
I found Aftershock fascinating from the start, not knowing much about how medical examiners work. She's a doctor and takes her duties seriously both as a medical examiner and as a first responder doctor when someone is in an accident or when the earthquake hit San Francisco. She's determined to find the truth, no matter who it is; she campaigns just as hard for the famous architect as she does for the homeless man. I admire that about her, as well as the strong ties to her family and close friends. I'm as upset on her behalf that her boyfriend can't introduce her to her family and finds her Polish roots and brash demeanor too much of a barrier to bridge. She's more than willing to reach out and be part of his culture, as superficial as her attempts are, and that's a trait that's often hard to find.

I'm sure that Jessie's attempts to dive deep into the murder investigation aren't part of the usual duties of a medical examiner, but it's fascinating to see the frustrations and day to day routines that she has. It's because she isn't directly interviewing suspects the way the police detectives do that she is able to tease out new tidbits to give them. Politics, money, and race do play a part in some of the investigation and some of the outcome, something I'm sure happens in Real Life more often than any of us would like. For this novel, I was drawn into it from the start and lost track of time to finish the book. I look forward to seeing more novels starring Dr. Teska and her friends.

Buy Aftershock at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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  1. I've only read Patricia Cornwell's novels about medical examiners and have always found them interesting.

  2. If you've found Dr. Kay Scarpetta's investigations interesting, you'll love Dr. Jessie Teska's. Coauthor Judy Melinek is a practicing forensic pathologist with 3K+ autopies under her belt, and our stories are drawn from the real science she does on the job...and then taken to noir places in our beloved San Francisco. I hope you pick up Aftershock—and, if you enjoy it, check out First Cut, the debut in the series!

  3. I'm gratified to hear that you aren't a forensics junkie, yet really clearly enjoyed Jessie's exploits, MK! We've been trying to write scientifically accurate medical examiner mysteries that are also accessible & compelling thrillers. BTW, my coauthor wife Judy is from the Bronx (I'm from Boston's North Shore like Jessie is), and you might want to look into our first book, the memoir Working Stiff, which is, in ways, a love letter to New York. Thanks for boosting our latest work!