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 of Winter (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
10th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington Cozies (February 26, 2019)
Hardcover : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496706714
ISBN-13 : 978-1496706713
Mass Market Paperback : 448 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496706722
ISBN-13 : 978-1496706720
Kindle ASIN : B07DBQRJHN
Before medicolegal death investigator Mattie can smooth out the unexpected chaos of her new home, new marriage, and new family, duty calls. At the local ER, a battered and bruised teenage girl has been brought in by a mysterious man who claimed she’d fallen out of a car. The staff is suspicious, but while they attend to the teenager, the unidentified man slips out. Then the girl dies, but not before informing social worker Hildy Schneider that the man had her little sister as well.
Mattie’s exam reveals forensic evidence of long-term IV drug use and physical abuse, findings consistent with Hildy’s suspicion that the girl was a victim of human trafficking. They are able to confirm her identity as a teen who went missing six months ago, along with her sister—facts that are deeply unsettling to Mattie who now shares a home with her husband’s teenaged daughter.
Working closely with Hildy and Sorenson homicide detectives, including her husband Steve Hurley, Mattie must delve into a dark underworld to stop the ruthless trafficking of human lives—before it’s too late for another young girl . . .
Mattie and Hurley have moved into their new home and are settling in nicely with their children but at times Mattie feels a little overwhelmed when her work as a death investigator is added to the mix. Her latest case involves a teen who was brought into the ER battered and bruised and later dies but not before uttering “he has her too” and begging social worker, Hildy Schneider to help her little sister. Mattie’s exam is heartbreaking. It shows the teenager was a long-time victim of physical abuse and long-term IV drug use. Both Hildy and Mattie agree she was being human trafficked. Both are shocked that something like that could happen in Sorenson, Wisconsin. It just hits too close now that she is caring for Hurley’s teenage daughter. So working with Hurley, Hildy, other techs at the Medical Examiner’s office, and other local detectives Mattie takes a deep dive into human trafficking to find a little girl before it is too late.
Meanwhile, a member of Dom’s theater group falls from a catwalk to his death. A death that is quickly classified as a homicide. Add a first-class Wisconsin blizzard to the mix and things could get messy for Sorenson and Mattie.
This is such a wonderful series. With the 8th book in the series, Ms. Ryan added more serious themes but didn’t lose the humor readers expect from her. In this book that included a terrible, awful, very bad day for Mattie. I could relate on a personal level to part of it but that didn’t keep me from laughing at all her trials and tribulations. Young Matthew also tees up some hilarious things. He is at the perfect age to get into all kinds of mischief. Hurley takes just about everything in stride. Mattie is thankful that Emily, her teenage stepdaughter is able to help with Matthew and that they get along so well. It really eases up things at home and it is enabling Emily to collect a nice nest egg with the babysitting dollars she earns. All these characters grow in each subsequent book and they have true-to-life issues. They feel like neighbors that could live across the street. The hearse Mattie drives may be a little offputting at first but I am sure after a short time I would adjust.
Ms. Ryan takes on some hot-topic issues within the pages of this story. Even though it was released in 2019 the themes are even more relevant today. According to the U.S. Dept of State, there are an estimated 24.9 million victims worldwide at any given time of human trafficking, and with the repeal of Row vs. Wade illegal abortions are in the headlines again. Bringing it up close and personal to a relatively small town in Wisconsin makes people realize serious issues can happen anywhere but that there are good people trying to make a difference.
Being set during a Wisconsin winter really added to the story. The winds, cold, and snow, including a blizzard, are part of life around here. Winters have gotten milder over the years but Mother Nature is a fickle woman so we never know what to expect. In fact, one of my grandsons was born in the middle of a blizzard 10 years ago. My husband transported his parents to the hospital following a snowplow and they arrived just in time. Our older grandson was snowed in with his other set of grandparents out in the country for 3 or 4 days.
What gets me excited every time I open a book by Annelise Ryan is that I know I am going to read a great story filled with a mystery or two that grabs my attention. One that features characters that are engaging and that I have become invested in. And that I am going to laugh, probably often. She does an excellent job of blending top-notch mysteries with Mattie’s crazy everyday life.
Dead of Winter is a fantastic addition to this series. I highly recommend it and the rest of the series.
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.”