cover image Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter

Annelise Ryan. Kensington, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0671-3

Ryan’s fast-paced 10th Mattie Winston mystery (after 2018’s Dead Calm) finds the Sorenson, Wis., medicolegal death investigator adjusting to life at home with her newly expanded family, among them her ex-husband’s pregnant wife. At work, medical examiner Dr. Izzy, Mattie’s boss, is back after his heart attack, but he’s unable to take it easy due to a flurry of suspicious deaths. In addition, a young woman, who was beaten and dumped at the local hospital, is now begging staffers to locate her sister. Mattie and her colleagues soon learn that the victim, 18-year-old Liesel Paulsen, lived on a farm with her father and younger sister, Lily. All were grieving the recent death of the girls’ mother when Liesel went missing, soon followed by Lily. Meanwhile, Mattie is drawn into a domestic abuse case with a gun toting, enraged boyfriend. Ryan veers from the deeply disturbing (human trafficking) to the inane (errant bodily functions), while providing a sympathetic view of Mattie’s full though hectic life. Series fans won’t be disappointed. Agent: Adam Chromy, Movable Type Management. (Mar.)