On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Night Shift (A Helping Hands Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington Cozies (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496719441
ISBN-13 : 978-1496719447
Kindle ASIN : B07ZPLB14V
When social worker Hildy Schneider commits to an after-hours side job, she finds herself drawn into the darker side of small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin—and the twisted mind of an unnamed killer . . .
Strange things have been happening since Hildy started moonlighting with local police, but a desperate late-night call involving a former patient from Sorenson General Hospital tops the list. Although Danny Hildebrand has been tormented by hallucinations for years, he swears he’s being haunted for real by the victim of a grisly murder . . .
The rambling ghost story seems like another delusion. But after a body turns up in a neglected farmhouse crawling with secrets, Hildy and the magnetic Detective Bob Richmond rush to explain Danny’s knowledge of the incident. As the crime-solving partners unwittingly grow closer while examining a series of eerie leads, they realize that surviving past sunrise means shedding light on a criminal willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the shadows . . .
We are back in Sorenson, Wisconsin but this time we are tagging along with Social Worker Hildy Schneider in this second book in Annelise Ryan’s spinoff series from her Mattie Winston Mysteries. Hildy is just starting her new side job working directly with the police on the night shift. Her first call involves a man she has worked with before. Danny Hildebrand has been taking medications to keep his hallucinations at bay for years. When he stops taking them properly or they are no longer working as expected he needs to go into the hospital to get him back on track. Hildy expects that is what she is walking into with the police for this disturbance call. She knows her dog Roscoe has calmed Danny in the past so she convinces the police to let her take the lead. Roscoe does his magic but soon Danny is telling Hildy he isn’t having his normal issues, he swears he is being haunted by a real murder victim.
After getting Danny checked in to the hospital Hildy and her police partner find a horrific murder scene at a rundown farmhouse when sent to do a welfare check. A quick inspection of the scene looks eerily like Danny’s hallucination right down to a particular item. Detective Bob Richmond and Hildy start to work together and even have to call in some alphabet agencies when they discover something truly scary and above their pay grade on the dead farmer’s property. Just how deep is Danny involved in all this illegal activity? Can he be the key to finding the killer? Will Hildy help solve the murder? Or will she become another victim?
Hildy Schneider is a complex leading character. Peel back her layers and you will see how her troubled past has led to her Helping Hands present. She really is an amazing character with a unique way of seeing things others don’t. Her therapy dog Roscoe is fantastic too.
Another complex character is PJ, an autistic pre-teen that lives next door to Hildy and takes Roscoe on walks while Hildy is at work. The girl is brutally honest in all the best ways.
There are several characters that crossover from the other series. The most noteworthy is Detective Bob Richmond who has changed quite a bit over the course of that series and is now pursuing a deeper relationship with Hildy. Hurley makes a cameo at the end of the book and Mattie is mentioned a couple of times in the story. All the characters are well crafted with plenty of room for growth.
The mystery ended up being much more expansive than one dead body. There was a major plan afoot and finding a dead Arthur Fletcher at his kitchen table was just part of a cover-up. I really enjoyed the way the author plotted out this story. Hildy’s keen observation skills and her willingness to really get involved with Danny and his care as she continued to piece everything together really was fun to read. One character felt off to me a few times but I kept discarding it until their behavior became more glaring. My attention still kept being diverted up until the very end.
Again, this story takes place in my home state. I love the local references and overall Wisconsin feel I get when reading books by this author.
Sadly there hasn’t been a 3rd book in this series. I really like the focus on Hildy that this series brings. She is unique and I would love to see more stories featuring her.
If you like your cozy mysteries with a bit of an edge and plenty of humor you will enjoy all the books by this author and those she writes as Allyson K. Abbott.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.
For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com
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