24 Following

Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner - Judy Melinek, T.J. Mitchell

Be careful what you ask for. A few weeks ago I reviewed Andrew Meredith’s THE REMOVERS. In it, I asked for “more dead bodies.” I even taunted them in my blog post with GIF images of bloody cadavers and an exploding whale. Well, Scribner listened and delivered.


Let’s set this up a bit more: on one side, a medically trained examiner who uses all the precise and exact terms of the body’s innards; combined with (married to) Harvard English major—you know, to make sure the wording is…just right. Yeah. You see where this is going? Then, take this dynamic duo to New York City. You know those one-in-a-million stories? Well, as the authors cleverly point out, New York City has 8 million people.


This husband and wife duo corresponded and plotted this book a lot through e-mail. Some of that behind the scene’s stuff has been captured for our extended-gory interest. The husband’s blog has a great sample of one such exchange (grocery shopping & dead bodies…whatever works): http://tjmitchell.blogspot.com/2012/05/raspberry.html


WARNING! Thought I’d put this in all caps to get your attention. Just to be sure: WARNING! If you have any medical history whatsoever, be cautious about reading this book. If you drink, eat, or walk on the sidewalk, or breath, be cautious about reading this book. You think deaths are quick and painless? You might not want to read this book. (But really, if you are like me, I know you’ll still want to—sicko!)


If you google my name and the words “cardiac arrest”, you’ll see why I was a bit squeamish when the authors talk about a heart busting through one of the body’s cavity walls. I have friends with epilepsy, and the authors kindly point out how it kills. You like to drink? Yeah, Mr. Budweiser and his friends are big time killers. I was surprised about the lack of fatal car accidents in The Big Apple, but there’s still plenty of others ways to get squashed. You’ll see.


Here’s the funny thing: amidst talking of death, decay, rot, and stench, you’ll find moments of tenderness and life appreciation. Between Dr. Judy Melinek talking to the deceased’s families, or her post-work conversations with husband T.J. Mitchell, there is plenty to be sentimental about. And then there’s 9/11. Beside the serious issues, you’ll also find a LOT of humor. I’m still laughing about how many folks walk around us with piercings hidden in their knickers: you’d be surprised.


Yes, I asked for more dead bodies. Instead of 10, I got over 200. I was scared, mortified, and shocked—and loved every minute of it. I could not put this book down. It was informative, very well written, and oddly satisfying. If you have any interest in this topic (and we know you do) then this will be an excellent book to pursue. (Just don’t read it before bedtime or meals…bad idea.)


Thanks Scribner for providing this electronically for review. You answered the call and I had a hell of a time.