Working Stiff

  • by Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
  • Narrated by Tanya Eby
  • 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple. Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions. 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 to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

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What the Critics Say

"Far from the magic we see on TV, Working Stiff describes forensic pathology in the real world. The book is a compelling and absorbing read." ---Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan 'Bones' series

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great story - but not for the faint of heart!

If you could sum up Working Stiff in three words, what would they be?

Gritty, scientific, heartwrenching.


What did you like best about this story?

The in depth look at a world I'll never be in - forensic pathology and autopsy.


What about Tanya Eby’s performance did you like?

Great voice, perfect for the story.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It was a challenge. The details of the tragedies involved - Sept. 11 2001, the later air crash in the Rockaways, even the everyday deaths she investigated, were sometimes very tough to hear. I was glad to reach my destination sometimes, just so I could take a break.


Any additional comments?

This book is NOT for everyone - with vivid descriptions of the injuries of the fatalities from Sept. 11, the AA flight that crashed in the Rockaways a few months later, and some gruesome cases from routine crime in NYC, I'd advise anyone who is sensitive to death or squeamish to find something else. However, if you are of a scientific or medical bent, love to hear about specialties and jobs most people will never have, and want the true story, this is for you. It's very, very well done - but some of the phrases will haunt me for a while.

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- R. Freeman

Fascinating, though disturbing at times

Dr. Melinek has written a fascinating and compelling book, and does a good job at showing the human aspects to her job as a medical examiner. Some of the details of what happens in an autopsy will make your skin crawl, but let's be honest, that's partly why you buy this sort of book.

The case histories are all interesting, if sometimes disturbing or heart-wrenching, but she comes across as a thoughtful professional who does a difficult job with dedication and compassion.

The majority of this book is similar to what's found in Stiff, and the Poisoner's Handbook, and will very much appeal to fans of those books.

But this book is more than that. Dr. Melinek was working for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York on 9/11/2001, and she offers a look into what happened out of the public's view in the weeks and months after the attacks.

If you think you might be interested in forensic science, I cannot recommend this book any more highly.
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- Sean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-12-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio