First Cut follows San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, who makes a chilling discovery when a suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover-up. But as Jessie digs deeper, she faces unexpected pushback from her superiors and pressure to stay in her lane, close the case and move on.
For Jessie, San Francisco was supposed to be a fresh start, a chance to escape her troublesome past in Los Angeles. Instead she finds herself overworked and underpaid, working in a dingy morgue and living under the fog in a cramped converted cable car. Now, despite warnings from her colleagues and threats from her boss, she is determined to find the truth.
As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to a plot involving opioid traffickers and San Francisco’s shifting terrain of tech start-ups. Autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.
Judy Melinek, M.D. was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.
T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.