Book Review: ‘Working Stiff’ by Judy Melinek, M.D

I am a morbidly curious kinda person, so when I stumbled upon this book I knew I’d hit gold. I read it in what felt like a couple of hours and can’t recommend it enough for those of you who want to know what a forensic pathologist does and what kinds of cases they deal with day-to-day.

This book is written in such a way that it is accessible to all. Sure there are some fancy medical terms in there but everything is explained for the layman. An entertaining introduction to the world of autopsies!

On to the review!


The blurb on the back:

“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.”



£10.68 (paperback) on Amazon

£7.99 (kindle) on Amazon


My rating:



My review:

As I explained above, the best thing about this book is how easy to read it is, given the subject matter. It explains the science and medical terminology without ever feeling condescending, introducing the reader to the world of the forensic pathologist via fascinating cases experienced by Judy in New York.

I love that we also hear a little about Judy’s personal life throughout her training, so that we can understand the toll such a job takes on a woman with a young family. It was interesting to hear Judy’s thoughts on each case, which ranged from accident, to suicide, to homicide; all are told with the upmost respect.

I have to give fair warning that although I devoured this book, it was a harrowing read at times. In particular Judy’s account of the events of the terrorist attacks on September 11th in New York and the ‘worst death’ she ever investigated both stayed with me.


Really good reasons to read this book!

  • Learn more about the role of forensic pathologist
  • Learn how to undertake an autopsy
  • Easy-to-understand science
  • Lots of terminology to learn and include in your stories
  • Examples of the relationship between forensic pathologist and police detectives
  • Lots of cases that might spark a story or two


Over to you

Have you read ‘Working Stiff’? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

Leave me a reply!