Check out Annelise’s newest series, the Monster Hunter Mysteries featuring bookstore owner and cryptozoologist, Morgan Carter and her rescue dog, Newt. The first book in the series, A Death in Door County, comes out 9/13/22. Come along for the ride as Morgan and Newt try to find out if there’s a homicidal Loch Ness-type monster in the treacherous waters known as Death’s Door.
Can forensics be fun? You betcha! Find out how by solving crimes along with wry and irreverent nurse-turned-coroner Mattie Winston.
A nosy RN turned small-town-coroner gets more than she bargains for when she unexpectedly becomes the main suspect in this darkly comedic tale of murder, mayhem, and political hi-jinks.
Mattie Winston, RN, is wryly cynical, politically incorrect, and inherently nosy, traits that suit her well when she trades in her hospital scrubs and operating room table for a plastic apron and autopsy table. As a Deputy Coroner, Mattie gets to poke her nose into everyone else’s business and in the small Wisconsin town where she lives gossip is a highly tradable commodity. But Mattie’s first case – a murder – hits a little too close to home. The victim is Karen Owenby, Mattie’s former coworker and the woman who had an affair with Mattie’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, David.
As Mattie tries to determine if her husband is a killer, her judgment is clouded by her attraction to the darkly handsome homicide detective in charge of the case, though her romantic notions are dampened by the fact that her own name is at the top of the list of suspects. Unable to pursue the case officially, Mattie launches her own investigation aided by a cast of quirky characters that includes a computer hacker with a superhero complex, a conspiracy theorist, a bug-loving nephew, a hypochondriac mother, and a new hairdresser whose office is in the basement of a funeral home. With their help, Mattie follows a trail of sordid secrets, deadly betrayals, and missing underwear as she races against the clock to identify a killer before she ends up as the next victim on the medical examiner’s autopsy table.
Book #2 in the series: Halloween night in Sorenson, Wisconsin, usually resembles any other small town: trick-or-treaters, costume parties, and lots of cheerfully scary decorations. But Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston is finding this year a little different, because among all the fake carnage is a very real, very dead body.
When Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston and her boss/best friend, Izzy, are called to the home of waitress and part-time model Shannon Tolliver, they find the ghoulish Halloween decorations a bit too authentic. Among the fake blood and skeletons is the corpse of Shannon herself. Since the whole town knows Shannon recently had a very public spat with her estranged husband, Erik, he’s suspect number 1. But Mattie happens to know Erik truly loved his wife, and is simply incapable of the brutal act – even if he owns the exact same calibre handgun as the murder weapon…Determined to unearth the truth, Mattie puts her scalpel-sharp medical skills to work, and digs a little deeper. What she uncovers is stranger than anyone could have imagined…
Book #3 in the series: Death is never pretty, but Mattie’s latest victim is strikingly beautiful . . . or at least she was before someone stuck that knife into her chest. When detective Steven Hurley arrives on scene, he takes one look at the body, turns as white as the newly fallen snow, and excuses himself from the case. Turns out the victim was a top investigative reporter from Chicago, and Hurley not only knew her, they dated a year and a half ago until she broke it off. Hurley swears Mattie to secrecy and then tells her . . . that knife in his ex’s chest is his!
It’s a case with more twists than Mattie’s own crazy love life, and it’ll take all of her forensic skills to unravel the increasingly bizarre clues and find the killer before she herself becomes just another cold case!
Book #4 in the series:
It’s Christmas Day in the sleepy town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, but instead of unwrapping presents, deputy coroner Mattie Winston is at the burnt remains of a house, where a charred body has been found. The victim is none other than Jack Allen–a paraplegic who recently won a huge casino jackpot. Upon closer inspection, Mattie and detective Steve Hurley are convinced Jack was murdered to steal his winnings, giving the phrase Black Jack a whole new meaning. . .
But as Mattie investigates, even her cutting-edge forensic skills keep coming up short in a case with as many suspects as twists. After her odds-on-favorite turns up dead, Mattie and Hurley must race to find a killer before another victim cashes in his chips.
Book #5: Sorenson, Wisconsin’s deputy coroner Mattie Winston is back on the job. . .in a nursing home examining the body of Bernie Chase—the now former president of the Twilight Home’s board of directors—who is covered in a powder used to turn liquids to solids. The home’s residents are certain Bernie was offing the patients who cost him too much. . .and the patient that found him can’t remember a thing.
Between her ongoing tug of war with Detective Hurley, fulfilling her new job requirement of seeing a shrink, and wrangling with the Twilight Home’s board of directors, Mattie’s got her scrubbed hands full. She’ll need all of her outside-the-box forensic skills to crack a case that’s turning out to be stranger—and more dangerous—than anything she’s seen before!
Book # 6: Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows a thing or two about dead bodies. That’s why she’s on the case of Derrick Ames, a high school math teacher stabbed to death with a barbecue fork straight to the heart. Sure, she’s turned up some motives and a few suspects, but nothing adds up. Especially when the evidence points to Ames’s teenage son. Newly pregnant Mattie can’t believe it, even as her own long-estranged father may be following her. But one thing’s certain, she’d better start figuring things out fast, or a deadly perpetrator could be subtracting two more victims from the population of Sorenson, Wisconsin. . .
Book #7: Every fall, hunting season in Sorenson, Wisconsin, leads to some accidental injuries. Deputy coroner Mattie Winston just hopes the hunters don’t bring any more business to her office. But somebody seems to have declared open season on land developers. One real estate developer who’s recently come to town has been found dead in the woods with an arrow through his neck. Now it’s up to Mattie to get to the bottom of the killing. That might be easier if she wasn’t also hunting for Detective Hurley’s teenage daughter, Emily, who has suddenly disappeared. With a homicidal William Tell out on the loose, Mattie is desperate to find Emily before the killer notches another arrow. . .
A slight change and some phenomenally beautiful covers mark the continuation of Mattie’s adventures!
Book #8: As a single mom and deputy coroner of Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie Winston is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. At least her workload at the Medical Examiner’s office is lightened by the new hire Hal Dawson. But before Hal can even cash his first paycheck, he’s murdered on a fishing trip with his girlfriend, who’s gone missing. To keep her life from going completely under, Mattie will have to dive deep for clues. But a killer is just as determined to keep the truth from ever surfacing . . .
Book #9: As deputy medical examiner and homicide detective respectively, newlyweds Mattie Winston and Steve Hurley are dispatched to a grisly crime scene at the Grizzly Motel, a seedy joint for illicit liaisons on the outskirts of Sorenson, Wisconsin. A man and woman are found dead next to each other in bed in what initially appears to be a grim but straightforward murder-suicide. An affair gone sour?
But as the forensic evidence is gathered and autopsies are performed, Mattie and Hurley realize the scene has been staged. They have a double murder on their hands. The spurned spouses of both victims top the list of suspects, but as more is revealed, the case becomes increasingly complex. Dividing their time and resources between the crime and an ongoing investigation involving Mattie’s father, plus caring for their kids, the two are stretched to their limits. After another victim turns up dead, there’s no room for error as they stage a scene of their own to back the killer into a corner . . .
Book #10: A new home, a new marriage, a new family. It’s a lot to sort out. But before medicolegal death investigator Mattie can smooth out the unexpected chaos of her new life, duty calls. At the local ER, a battered and bruised teenage girl has been brought in by a mysterious man who claimed she’d fallen out of a car. The staff is suspicious, but while they attend to the teenager, the unidentified man slips out. Then the girl dies, but not before informing social worker Hildy Schneider that the man had her little sister as well.
Mattie’s exam reveals forensic evidence of long-term IV drug use and physical abuse, findings consistent with Hildy’s suspicion that the girl was a victim of human trafficking. They are able to confirm her identity as a teen who went missing six months ago, along with her sister—facts that are deeply unsettling to Mattie who now shares a home with her husband’s teenaged daughter.
Working closely with Hildy and Sorenson homicide detectives, including her husband Steve Hurley, Mattie must delve into a dark underworld to stop the ruthless trafficking of human lives—before it’s too late for another young girl . . .
Book #11: A new murder victim with an old M.O. puts Mattie Winston on the trail of a killer who gives a grim new meaning to flower power .
Spring is beginning to brighten Sorenson, Wisconsin, for Mattie and Steve Hurley and their family. While their son Matthew may be in his terrible twos and Steve’s daughter Emily a moody teenager, the kids bring light to their lives when their work is dark by its nature—Steve is a homicide detective and Mattie is a medicolegal death investigator, aka medical examiner. They deal in corpses.
The latest corpse, a Jane Doe, was clearly an addict, but drugs didn’t kill her, at least not directly. She’s been stabbed multiple times in a pattern that is disturbingly familiar to Mattie. When she discovers flower petals from yellow carnations stuffed into the stab wounds, she recognizes a very specific M.O.—belonging to a convicted serial killer who’s currently serving a life sentence.
The details of the flower petals were never made public in the last case, so it can’t be a copycat crime. It looks like the wrong man is in prison, and the murderer is still at large. Now it’s up to Mattie and Steve to get the case reopened—and catch the real carnation killer . . .
Book #12: In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heart—and Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .
In her previous career as a nurse, Mattie Winston’s job was to keep death at bay. Now, as a medico legal investigator, she’s required to study death intimately—to figure out causes and timing, and help deduce whether it was natural or suspicious.
In the case of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, a well-to-do Realtor, there can be little doubt: Broken pool cues do not embed themselves. Monty’s body is found in the game room of his lavish house, the walls adorned with photos of Monty and various celebrities. But as Mattie and husband Steve Hurley, a homicide detective, both know, money and connections can’t protect anyone from a killer.
The first suspect is Monty’s wife, Summer, who claims to have been at a cooking class at the time. When that alibi is served up as a fake, Summer moves to the top of the suspects list, but is soon joined by Monty’s ne’er-do-well son, Sawyer, who has racked up gambling debts he hoped his dad would pay off. Monty’s twin brother is engaging in shady financial deals. An affair, a Ponzi scheme, a disputed inheritance . . . there are as many motives as suspects, and soon Mattie and Hurley have turned up other, possibly related deaths.
Balancing a high-profile case with the demands of their increasingly stressful household isn’t easy. It’ll take all of Mattie’s skill—along with a lucky break or two—to stop a killer from racking up another victim . . .
If you enjoy the Mattie Winston murder mystery stories, be sure to check out Annelise Ryan’s new Helping Hands mystery series starring Sorenson social worker Hildy Schneider. Needled to Death is currently available, and Night Shift is scheduled to come out in July 2020.
Book 1 in the NEW Helping Hands Mystery Series
As a colleague of deputy coroner Mattie Winston, social worker Clothilde “Hildy” Schneider is no stranger to unsolved murders at Sorenson General Hospital. Except this time, it’s up to her to crack the case . . .
Motivated by her own difficult past, Hildy has an unparalleled commitment to supporting troubled clients through grief and addiction in Sorenson, Wisconsin. But when a distraught group therapy member reveals disturbing details about her late son’s potential murder, Hildy goes from dedicated mental health professional to in-over-her-head amateur sleuth . . .
Alongside her loyal therapy Golden Retriever, Hildy stumbles through incriminating clues—and an unlikely partnership with Detective Bob Richmond, the irresistibly headstrong cop who shares her passion for helping others. With signs of foul play surfacing all over town, can Hildy and Detective Richmond pinpoint the deadly traits of a sharp-witted killer before another seat gets filled at grief therapy?
Book 2 in the NEW Helping Hands Mystery Series
When social worker Hildy Schneider commits to an after-hours side job, she finds herself drawn into the darker side of small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin—and the twisted mind of an unnamed killer . . . Strange things have been happening since Hildy started moonlighting with local police, but a desperate late-night call involving a former patient from Sorenson General Hospital tops the list. Although Danny Hildebrand has been tormented by hallucinations for years, he swears he’s being haunted for real by the victim of a grisly murder . . . The rambling ghost story seems like another delusion. But after a body turns up in a neglected farmhouse crawling with secrets, Hildy and the magnetic Detective Bob Richmond rush to explain Danny’s knowledge of the incident. As the crime-solving partners unwittingly grow closer while examining a series of eerie leads, they realize that surviving past sunrise means shedding light on a criminal willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the shadows . . .