Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
By Judy Melinek and T. J. Mitchell
Scribner, 2014. 258 pgs. Nonfiction
Judy Melinek recounts the two years she spent training as a medical examiner in New York City in 2001 and 2002. She describes what doing an autopsy is like, then goes through a list of the main causes of death, illustrating those with interesting examples that came her way. At the end she describes her experience on September 11, 2001, and in the following weeks and months as her Medical Examiner's Office processed thousands of remains from the World Trade Center disaster.
This was a fascinating book and I found myself talking about it to several people and thinking about it long after I had put it down. Through everything, Judy's narrative is interesting and even funny at times, and her work is described with humanity and compassion.