Aftershock Book Review

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A coroner that functions in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge is the primary character in this mystery novel. Photo: HQ Fiction

“Aftershock” authors Judy Melinek and also T.J. Mitchell are gifted storytellers, but wbelow the message truly shines in their latest novel is once they dissect, catalog and also take apart bodies.

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Taking apart the bodies isn’t an allegory or literary trick — “Aftershock” is a mystery novel wbelow the major character isn’t a PI or a cop, yet a San Francisco clinical examiner called Jessie Teska. The writers have suffer in this regard, as Dr. Judy Melinek organized that task in the Bay Area for salso years. She and husband T.J. Mitchell co-authored the bestmarketing memoir “Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and also the Making of a Medical Examiner” prior to complying with up through the deyet novel of the Dr. Jessie Teska series, “First Cut.” (In June 2020, Melinek resigned as acting chief forensic pathologist for Alameda County and moved with her household to New Zealand also.)


To say the prose informs around the humale body and the consequences of death would be a disservice. To review “Aftershock” is to sit for a session through the specialists in the autopsy suite. And when an accident at a high-profile construction website leaves one of the world’s foremost architects dead, it is Teska and also her knowledge of the human body that jump-begin the investigation right into whether the death was more than what it seems.

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T.J. Mitchell and also Judy Melinek composed “Aftershock” with understanding gleaned from Melinek’s career as a clinical examiner. Photo: Amal Bisharat

Like Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwall’s longstanding crime-novel series, Jessie Teska won’t let the initial proof of an accident dissuade her from digging for the truth: The architect’s fatality shows up to be staged. The man passed away in other places and also in a a lot various fashion than the construction employees, cops and also now Jessie Teska are supposed to think.

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If CBS or NBC comes calling in a month or so, it will not be a surpclimb, as “Aftershock” shares some of the very same plot beats as “CSI,” or also “Law & Order.” Namely, Teska is a pressure and a expert investigator, but as on those mirrors, one never before feels that Teska is in any type of genuine peril until the finish. But this is a little quibble in the wider sense of things, as the details brought out in the middle of the novel — sections wbelow Teska bounces from crime scene to police department to courthome — all add up to a satisfying and also harrowing finishing.

Eincredibly gruesome information counts in this novel. Tbelow are red herrings aplenty, yet they are all appropriate in one means or another. And though the novel is not perfect — the at-residence love interemainder is dead on arrival — there is a lot to admire here. I hope Melinek and Mitchell proceed to develop what is currently a winning series roughly Dr. Teska.

“Aftershock”By Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell(Hanover Square Press; 304 pages; $27.99)