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9 / 30 books. 30% done!

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35 / 52 books. 67% done!

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39 / 165 books. 24% done!
Thursday, January 09, 2020

Debut Medical Mystery by Wife/Husband Duo Engrossing, But Otherwise Nothing Special

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In need of a start-over, forensic pathologist Jessie Teska moves from L.A. to San Francisco.  The 31-year-old is not thrilled with the foggy city, her cramped converted cable car apartment, or the aging equipment in the dingy building where she's employed as an assistant medical examiner.  She needs to make it all work, though, even if she's feeling increasingly overworked and underpaid. 

When the body of a young Filipino nursing student, dead of an apparent heroin overdose, lands on Jessie's table, she's taken aback.  Especially when she notices several inconsistencies between the detectives' version of what happened to her and the story her corpse is telling.  Although she's told repeatedly to let it go, Jessie can't.  Something about the death doesn't compute.  With more and more bodies piling up on her table, she's convinced—there's more to these overdose deaths than meets the eye.  No one else seems to care, but Jessie won't rest until she figures out what's really going on.  Even if it means putting herself in the crosshairs of a killer's weapon.

First Cut is the debut novel of wife/husband team Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell and the first installment in a new mystery series.  A Harvard-educated forensic pathologist with many years of experience, Dr. Melinek clearly knows her stuff.  First Cut is filled with interesting, though graphic and gory, depictions of medical examiner life.  Storywise, the novel isn't anything mystery/thriller lovers haven't seen before.  The tale is predictable, the killer not all that surprising.  There's enough action to keep readers turning pages, though.  Jessie is a complex, admirable heroine, although she's impulsive and has questionable people-judging skills.  Overall, First Cut is an engrossing book, but one I didn't end up loving.  I doubt I'll continue with the series. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs)

Grade:



If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of First Cut from the generous folks at HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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