Aftershock by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Published:  January 19, 2021 – Hanover Square Press

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


When an earthquake strikes San Francisco, forensics expert Jessie Teska faces her biggest threat yet in this explosive new mystery from the New York Times bestselling authors of Working Stiff and First Cut.

At first glance, the death appears to be an accident. The body is located on a construction site under what looks like a collapse beam. But when Dr. Jessie Teska arrives on the scene, she notices the tell-tale signs of a staged death. The victim has been murdered. A rising star in the San Francisco forensics world, Jessie is ready to unravel the case, help bring the murderer to justice, and prevent him from potentially striking again.

But when a major earthquake strikes San Francisco right at Halloween, Jessie and the rest of the city are left reeling. And even if she emerges from the rubble, there’s no guaranteeing she’ll make it out alive.

With their trademark blend of propulsive prose, deft plotting and mordant humor, this electrifying new installment in the Jessie Teska Mystery series offers the highest stakes yet.  (publisher)

My take:  This is the second book in the Dr. Jessie Teska Mysteries. I didn’t read the first but felt the authors did a good job catching me up with pertinent details. A San Francisco medical examiner, Dr. Jessie has her hands full when crime details on her newest case don’t match up with the evidence. An earthquake throws a wrench into things and then her latest romantic interest seems to be losing interest in her! I liked this novel but didn’t love it. For me, it suffered from pacing and perhaps too many plot directions. Too much for me but I’m not a hardcore procedural reader. Would I give the next book in the series a try? Sure. I enjoyed the offbeat character we have in Dr. Jessie. She has an interesting background and I like her unwillingness to suffer fools. I want to see where it all takes her.

About the authors:

Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell are the New York Times bestselling co-authors of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, and the novel First Cut. Dr. Melinek studied at Harvard and UCLA, was a medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. T.J. Mitchell, her husband, is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad to their children.

Social links:


FB: @DrWorkingStiff



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7 thoughts on “Aftershock

    • Hi, Kathryn—please consider trying out the first book in the series, First Cut, and then see if you think you’ll enjoy staying with Jessie Teska for Aftershock. First Cut is a bit faster-paced—though I’ve gotta say, I love Aftershock just as much, because it’s a darker book for darker times. (I’m biased; am coauthor of both books.) Learn more at!


  1. Hi Mary,

    I hear what you are saying about the pacing and multi-plot issues with this one, however I do enjoy a good procedural, so I might check out the series for myself.

    The combination of an author and a pathologist working together on the series, must surely also have its benefits.!

    Thanks for such a well balanced and thoughtful review, it’s good I am aware of any small anomalies before I begin reading 🙂

    Yvonne Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Yvonne—the non-MD coauthor here to tell you that yes, there sure are benefits to our partnership; but, then again, there are also plenty of dinner conversations that go to unexpected and unwelcome places real quick! If you enjoy narrative nonfiction and have an interest in real-life crime investigation procedural tales, check out our first book, the New York Times bestseller Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner. You’ll find all you might want to know about the pair of us (minus the dinner convos) at


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