cover image Dead Calm

Dead Calm

Annelise Ryan. Kensington, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0668-3

At the start of Ryan’s enjoyable ninth Mattie Winston mystery (after 2017’s Dead in the Water), Mattie, a death investigator for the medical examiner’s office in Sorenson, Wis., and Steve Hurley, her homicide detective husband, rush to a crime scene at the Grizzly Motel outside town. What looks at first like the cut-and-dried murder-suicide of a couple of adulterous lovers is quickly revealed to be more complicated—but not so complicated that astute readers won’t be able to guess the perp. And that might be why a back-burner case involving Mattie’s father suddenly comes to the fore. Add a mysterious long-buried body unearthed on the property where newlyweds Mattie and Steve are building their new home, and there’s enough meat to sustain interest. That and, of course, the savvy, wry, and eminently relatable protagonists. This may be one of Ryan’s lighter series entries, with a bit less witty banter than usual, but fans will still be satisfied. [em]Agent: Adam Chromy, Artists and Artisans. (Mar.) [/em]