cover image Dead Ringer

Dead Ringer

Annelise Ryan. Kensington, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2255-3

The discovery of an unidentified young woman’s body outside Sorenson, Wis., kick-starts Ryan’s gripping 11th Mattie Winston mystery (after 2019’s Dead of Winter). The m.o. is similar to that of several murders from a year ago in nearby Eau Claire, but a man is already in prison for those crimes. Mattie, who’s feeling guilty because her testimony as a medical death examiner put an innocent man in prison in an earlier case, despite his subsequent release, is determined not to make the same mistake. She becomes obsessed with discovering whether a copycat killer is at work or the real murderer is still at large. The intentions of Todd Oliver, the Eau Claire coroner trainee who inserts himself into Mattie’s investigation, make her uncomfortable. Against the advice of her husband, homicide detective Steve Hurley, she wades alone into the dark world of a serial killer in search of the truth. Ryan’s flawed characters have enough personal baggage and quirks to make them distinctive. The killer’s identity is truly unexpected. This regional series deserves a long run. Agent: Adam Chromy, Movable Type Management. (Mar.)