Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

FIRST CUT by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell – Blog Tour

FIRST CUT cover

 

Wife and husband duo Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell first enthralled the book world with their runaway bestselling memoir Working Stiff—a fearless account of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner. This winter, Dr. Melinek, now a prominent forensic pathologist in the Bay Area, once again joins forces with writer T.J. Mitchell to take their first stab at fiction. 

 

The result: FIRST CUT (Hanover Square Press; Hardcover; January 7, 2020; $26.99)—a gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

 

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Los Angeles
May

The dead woman on my table had pale blue eyes, long lashes, no mascara. She wore a thin rim of black liner on her lower lids but none on the upper. I inserted the twelve gauge needle just far enough that I could see its beveled tip through the pupil, then pulled the syringe plunger to aspirate a sample of vitreous fluid. That was the first intrusion I made on her corpse during Mary Catherine Walsh’s perfectly ordinary autopsy.

The external examination had been unremarkable. The decedent appeared to be in her midthirties, blond hair with dun roots, five foot four, 144 pounds. After checking her over and noting identifying marks (monochromatic professional tattoo of a Celtic knot on lower left flank, appendectomy scar on abdomen, well-healed stellate scar on right knee), I picked up a scalpel and sliced from each shoulder to the breastbone, and then all the way down her belly. I peeled back the layers of skin and fat on her torso—an ordinary amount, maybe a little on the chubby side—and opened the woman’s chest like a book.

I had made similar Y-incisions on 256 other bodies during my ten months as a forensic pathologist at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, and this one was easy. No sign of trauma. Normal liver. Healthy lungs. There was nothing wrong with her heart. The only significant finding was the white, granular material of the gastric contents. In her stomach was a mass of semidigested pills.

When I opened her uterus, I found she’d been pregnant. I measured the fetus’s foot length and estimated its age at twelve weeks. The fetus appeared to have been viable. It was too young to determine sex.

I deposited the organs one by one at the end of the stainless-steel table. I had just cut into her scalp to start on the skull when Matt, the forensic investigator who had collected the body the day before, came in.

“Clean scene,” he reported, depositing the paperwork on my station. “Suicide.”

I asked him where he was going for lunch. Yogurt and a damn salad at his desk, he told me: bad cholesterol and a worried wife. I extended my condolences as he headed back out of the autopsy suite.

I scanned through Matt’s handwriting on the intake sheet and learned that the body had been found, stiff and cold, in a locked and secure room at the Los Angeles Omni hotel. The cleaning staff called the police. The ID came from the name on the credit card used to pay for the room, and was confirmed by fingerprint comparison with her driver’s license thumbprint. A handwritten note lay on the bed stand, a pill bottle in the trash. Nothing else. Matt was right: There was no mystery to the way Mary Walsh had died.

I hit the dictaphone’s toe trigger and pointed my mouth toward the microphone dangling over the table. “The body is identified by a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s tag attached to the right great toe, inscribed LACD-03226, Walsh, Mary Catherine…”

I broke the seal on the plastic evidence bag and pulled out the pill bottle. It was labeled OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, and it was empty.

“Accompanying the body is a sealed plastic bag with an empty prescription medication bottle. The name on the prescription label…”

I read the name but didn’t speak it. The hair started standing up on my neck. I looked down at my morning’s work—the splayed body, flecked with gore, the dissected womb tossed on a heap of other organs.

That can’t be, I told myself. It can’t.

On the clipboard underneath the case intake sheet I found a piece of hotel stationery sealed in another evidence bag. It was the suicide note, written in blue ink with a steady feminine hand. I skimmed it—then stopped, and went back.

I read it again.

I heard the clipboard land at my feet. I gripped the raised lip of my autopsy table. I held tight while the floor fell away.

Judy&TJ (c)Amal Bisharat

 

Judy Melinek 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.

Connect with them at the following spots:

Twitter

Judy: @drjudymelinek

TJ: @TJMitchellWS

FB:

@DrWorkingStiff

Insta

Judy: @drjudymelinek

Goodreads

Judy

TJ

 

You can pick up your copy here:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Google

iBooks

Kobo

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Book Love, Giveaway, writers life, writing

Rockstar Book Tours: Excerpt from Drakon’s Tear by N.J. Walters

Drakon'sTear_500x750

Title: DRAKON’S TEAR (Blood of the Drakon #6)

Author: N.J. Walters

Pub. Date: November 26, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Publishing. LLC (Amara)

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 288

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

 

Dying isn’t an option. I’ve survived a kidnapping and now I’m on the run from the Knights of the Dragon who want my gift. I’m Abigail Owens and I can sense gemstones. There’s nothing a dragon loves more than treasure. But when I find a beautiful stone at a tiny shop in Moscow, I have no idea it’s a drakon tear, or that I’ve just put myself in the middle of a war between the Knights and a Drakon.

 
I guess I’m just lucky like that.

 
The only person I trust even a little is Vasili Zima, which is weird since I’m not sure if he wants to kill me or protect me. I’m drawn to him in a way I hadn’t thought possible, and he feels the same way, or he wouldn’t be risking his life to help me. He’s wanted by the bad guys just as much as I am, and staying with me, well, there’s a hundred percent chance I’m about to get us both killed. But I will not be going down without a fight.

 

Excerpts

It seemed crazy to be considering such a thing, but deep in her heart Abigail knew it was the truth. Vasili was a drakon. She had no idea why he could touch the bracelet and not be trapped by it. Or maybe he was. Maybe she was the trap.

Horror snaked through her. Was that the reason he was kissing her, touching her? Was it because of the curse or spell or whatever it was. She stared at his broad back, wondering how to address the subject. He obviously didn’t want to talk, but this was far too important to ignore.

“What if I’m the trap?” she blurted.

Vasili tensed and slowly turned around so he was facing her. The frown on his face would have scared her if she didn’t know him. Come to think of it, it did scare her. A little. Okay, a lot, but she wasn’t about to back down.

“What do you mean?” He set his mug back down on the tray, but stayed away from her.

Abigail shrugged and looked at the bracelet. It seemed so harmless. If the silver were cleaned up, it would simply look like an expensive piece of bling. But it was so much more.

“You aid it yourself,” she pointed out. “I was attracted to this.” She held up her arm. “And you were attracted to me. So what if the Knights are using me as a trap.” She swallowed heavily, her heart aching. “Maybe that’s why you’re attracted to me, why you kissed me. Maybe you don’t have a choice.”

And that part hurt more than it should. Whether Vasili kissed her again or not should be low down on her list of priorities. The most pressing ones were staying alive and getting out of the country. But somehow their kissing was at the top of the list. She hated to think that what they felt for one another was nothing more than some spell the Knights had conjured.

And it was weird to think that was even possible. Magic and spells happened in books or movies, not in real life.

Of course, most people didn’t think drakons existed outside of myths and books, but she knew differently. And she’d learned firsthand back home in Vas Vegas that magic was not only real but extremely dangerous.

The temperature in the room seemed to drop. Maybe it was her imagination, but she didn’t think so.

“What are you suggesting? That I’m so weak I’d be drawn in by some spell.”

God save her from the male ego.

EXCERPT #2

“Why? Why were you drawn to the bracelet?” She lowered her voice and leaned in. “Are you one of them?”

He had to admire her discretion, even though they were seemingly alone.

“Why would you think that?” he asked. He was curious to see how her mind worked and how much she actually knew about his kind.

Frustration flashed across her face, and she crossed her arms over her chest. “Fine. You want to be all mysterious, don’t tell me.”

“Answer my question, and I’ll answer yours.” Maybe he wouldn’t tell her everything, but he’d give her some kind of answer.

She gave him a look that told him she knew he was tricking her somehow but was willing to go along.

“That tattoos for one. I’ve seen similar ones.”

On her brother-in-law, most likely. “What else?”

“You’re big and strong, and there’s something about you.” She shook her head when he started to smile. “Yeah, you don’t need your ego stroked.”

But he did, at least by her. He leaned forward and propped his forearms on his thighs and linked his hands together. It pulled the material of his sweater up, exposing his tattoos. “Don’t stop now.”

Abigail huffed in pure frustration. “Then there’s the bracelet.” She slipped her sleeve back and stared at the silver band with the embedded drakon tear. The more he saw it, the less he liked her wearing the tear from another drakon.

Abigail was his treasure.

“You were attracted to the bracelet, not me. Admit that much.”

Vasili nodded. “I did sense the bracelet, but once I saw you, it no longer mattered.

“Yeah, right.” She pulled her sleeve back down. “You wanted to know where it came from, how I got it, and if I was working for a certain group who shall remain nameless.”

“You’re right. I did want to know all of that and more.” Once he’d seen her, he’d wanted to know everything about her. That had concerned him at first, but now that he knew her better, he was coming to realize just how special she was.

“What I can’t figure out is, if the bracelet is a trap…” She looked to him for confirmation.

“It is,” he assured her. Even now, there was no denying the pulsing power coming from her wrist.

“Then why doesn’t it affect you?”

Vasili knew he was at a crossroad. He’d always had a sense about such things. This moment and what he said would affect the rest of his life. He knew if he didn’t share something with Abigail, she would leave him as soon as possible. If he couldn’t build some kind of trust between them, he would lose her.

His dragon roared inside him, and the skin on his forearms rippled. He desperately wanted to shift and barely managed to control himself.

Abigail gasped and sat back on the bunk. She glanced at the door of the cabin, but it was closed, giving them privacy. She wasn’t afraid of him. Not his Abigail. She was afraid for him.

That stung. He was a drakon, mighty and powerful. She should trust him to take care of her, should recognize his strength.

He knew he was being totally irrational. That, too, was out of character. What was it about Abigail that pulled at all of his senses?

About NJ:

Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.

 

One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first erotic romance novel and life would never be the same.

 

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good look will vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub

 

Giveaway Details:

 

1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2853/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/26/2018- Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews– Review

11/26/2018- Angel’s Guilty Pleasures– Excerpt

 

11/27/2018- Bookriot– Excerpt

11/27/2018- Loie Dunn– Excerpt

 

11/28/2018- Reese’s Reviews Review

11/28/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

 

11/29/2018- My Books-My World– Excerpt

11/29/2018- Dena Garson-Real… Hot… Romance– Excerpt

 

11/30/2018- BookHounds– Excerpt

11/30/2018- Parajunkee– Excerpt