cover image Frozen Stiff

Frozen Stiff

Annelise Ryan. Kensington, $22 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7582-3456-8

The discovery of a beautiful young woman's body in the snow by a cornfield propels Ryan's absorbing third mystery featuring Sorenson, Wis., deputy coroner Mattie Winston (after 2010's Scared Stiff). Mattie's life, already complicated by a soon to be ex-husband and a new boyfriend, Steve Hurley, the Sorenson PD's main homicide detective, becomes even more complicated after Steve arrives at the crime scene, blanches at the sight of the stabbed corpse, and beats a hasty retreat. It turns out Steve once dated the victim, a Chicago investigative reporter. When another body turns up and the police detain Steve as a possible suspect in both murders, Mattie must draw on all her forensic skills to clear his name. At her peril, the intrepid Mattie sets out in her midnight blue, slightly used hearse in search of answers. The pseudonymous Ryan, herself an R.N., smoothly blends humor, distinctive characters, and authentic forensic detail. (Sept.)