Working Stiff

Working Stiff

By Judy Melinek, MD & T.J. Mitchell

  • Release Date: 2014-08-12
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 262 Ratings
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“Fun…and full of smart science. Fans of CSI—the real kind—will want to read it” (The Washington Post): A young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner, and the hair-raising cases that shaped her as a physician and human being.

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. While her husband and their toddler held 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.

An unvarnished portrait of the daily life of medical examiners—complete with grisly anecdotes, chilling crime scenes, and a welcome dose of gallows humor—Working Stiff offers a glimpse into the daily life of 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 television to reveal the secret story of the real morgue. “Haunting and illuminating...the stories from her average workdays…transfix the reader with their demonstration that medical science can diagnose and console long after the heartbeat stops” (The New York Times).


  • Riveting.

    By Existentialist 2
    Wonderful story. Has everything—fascinating conceptual explanations of all aspects of forensic pathology, along with human insights about her co-workers. Finally, you get a behind-the-scenes story of the 911 tragedy. Very well written.
  • Working Stiff

    By Equit8n
    Wonderful read. Incredible, emotional recap of 9/11
  • Best Book!

    By BookLover1219
    I absolutely loved this book! It's s GREAT read!
  • Amazingly fascinating and well written

    By audrawilke
    I could barely put this book down. The writing was fantastic, and the stories were both engaging and respectful, which is a tough balance to strike in this particular topic. I'd love to read anything these two write. What a great team!
  • Page turner

    By LennyTheGiraffe
    Literally the best book I've read in a while. It was a gripping page turner that made me curious to see what the next page would hold.
  • Don't miss this one!

    By madam_mezzo
    Fascinating, intelligent, human. Read the whole thing in one night. The best non-fiction I've read in years.
  • Fantastic, informative read

    By musicule
    I picked this up the day it came out and plowed through it. It's hard to balance tasteful, informative and funny, particularly in the context of life in the Medical Examiners office, but the authors manage to do it. One of my favorite reads of the year.
  • Well worth it

    By ladybug 5252
    This book was difficult to read at times but was well written and incredibly informative. The section on 9/11 was especially poignant.