cover image Scared Stiff

Scared Stiff

Annelis Ryan, Kensington, $22 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7582-3454-4

When shocked trick-or-treaters discover the body of model Shannon Tolliver one Halloween night, Mattie Winston investigates in Ryan's sharp second mystery to feature the Sorenson City, Wis., deputy coroner (after 2009's Working Stiff). Homicide cop Steve Hurley suspects Erik, Shannon's estranged radiology tech hubby, killed her. Mattie believes him innocent, though the .38 used in the shooting appears to be Erik's. Shannon's boyfriend, playboy psychiatrist Luke Nelson, or one of Luke's infatuated female patients, may have had more motive. When Mattie totals her car after interviewing Luke, she winds up making a deal with elderly Bjorn Adamson, a taxi driver, to use his cab in exchange for periodically changing his urinary catheter leg bag. The pseudonymous Ryan, a real-life ER RN, sometimes gives the reader too much information, but she shows growing skill at mixing humor with CSI-style crime. (Sept.)