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.
Dead Calm (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
Hard Boiled Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (February 27, 2018)
Hardcover : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496706684
ISBN-13 : 978-1496706683
Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496706692
ISBN-13 : 978-1496706690
Kindle ASIN : B07178SP36
As deputy medical examiner and homicide detective respectively, newlyweds Mattie Winston and Steve Hurley are dispatched to a grisly crime scene at the Grizzly Motel, a seedy joint for illicit liaisons on the outskirts of Sorenson, Wisconsin. A man and woman are found dead next to each other in bed in what initially appears to be a grim but straightforward murder-suicide. An affair gone sour?
But as the forensic evidence is gathered and autopsies are performed, Mattie and Hurley realize the scene has been staged. They have a double murder on their hands. The spurned spouses of both victims top the list of suspects, but as more is revealed, the case becomes increasingly complex. Dividing their time and resources between the crime and an ongoing investigation involving Mattie’s father, plus caring for their kids, the two are stretched to their limits. After another victim turns up dead, there’s no room for error as they stage a scene of their own to back the killer into a corner . . .
Deputy Medical Examiner Mattie Winston and her husband Homicide Detective Steve Hurley are called to the Grizzly (No Tell) Motel for 2 bodies. At first, the deaths are thought to be murder/suicide to end an affair but some keen observations and the autopsies show that isn’t what happened. It is a double murder case and the couple’s respective spouses are now the prime suspects.
Mattie and Hurley are also still working on an investigation that involves Mattie’s father, trying to build a house, taking care of their family, and more. With this new double murder, they are juggling a lot and it may just be too much. Then another body is found and Mattie pushes her boss to hire a replacement for her recently deceased coworker before she goes over the edge. Until then she and her hunky detective may need to get creative to solve a complex case and catch a killer.
Ms. Ryan has packed this book full of mysteries! An old case that started in a previous book, a strange case that may involve aliens, and the current murder case. All three grab a hold of the reader and play out at their own pace throughout the book. The alien case made me think of the recent release by this author, A Death in Door County. It shows me that the author has wanted to explore unique storylines for a while and she does it very well. The old case is very complex and has many tangents to explore which I enjoyed. The new case was more straightforward and easier for readers to solve.
I really appreciate that Ms. Ryan writes true-to-life characters. Mattie Winston is not a superwoman and her work is starting to take a toll on her mind and body. Steve is very supportive but he gets overwhelmed at times as well. Izzy and Dom are struggling a bit too with Izzy going back to work, his mother living on the premises, and Dom wanting to get back to some of the things he was doing before the baby came. Dom is also babysitting Matthew for Mattie and Steve.
The recognizable Wisconsin references are always a treat. This time Mattie truly was in my neck of the woods, just mere blocks away.
I love the way Ms. Ryan writes a story and the way she blends together mysteries and family life. At first, I thought this book was a little light on the author’s signature humor. That was until Izzy and Mattie started to interview for someone to replace Hal. Oh my stars, you won’t believe who they ultimately hire. I think things are going to be very interesting around the morgue. It may mean everyone working there will need to receive a special piece of equipment.
Dead Calm is not a book you can read as a stand-alone because of the arc of one of the cases. Of course, as a fan, I think you should read the entire series in order to really get to know these characters. But if you want to jump in later in the series it twisted from the cozy realm to more hard-boiled with Dead in The Water so that one should definitely be read before this book.
I have enjoyed this entire series and look forward to reading Dead of Winter soon.
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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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”