Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan is second book in the “Mattie Winston” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, September 2010

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 realm, very dead body.

When Mattie and her boss/best friend, Izzy, are called to the home of waitress and part-time model Shannon Tolliver, they find the ghoulish decorations just a bit too authentic. For among the fake blood and skeletons is the corpse of Shannon herself—and the evidence screams murder. Since the whole town knows Shannon recently had a very public argument with her estranged husband, Erik, he’s suspect #1 for tall, dark, and blissfully blue-eyed homicide detective, Steve Hurley. But Mattie believes Erik truly loved his wife and is incapable of such a brutal act—even though he owns the exact same caliber handgun as the murder weapon.

Determined to unearth the truth—and maybe spend a little quality time with Detective Hunky—Mattie puts her scalpel-sharp medical skills to work and digs a little deeper. What she uncovers is stranger than anyone could have imagined. It seems Shannon’s murder is just the tip of a very fatal iceberg. Now, in order to solve a case that’s getting more dangerous by the minute—and to save Erik from the slammer—Mattie will have to risk everything to catch a killer wh’s capable of doing anything once he’s cornered. And this time it’s not just Mattie’s life that’s on the line…

I can’t tell you how much I laughed at the antics of Mattie Winston surrounding her job and love life. When a doctor friend is accused of murdering his wife, Mattie’s insists that he is not the killer and when hunky Detective Hurley gives her the go ahead to investigate, that’s when the fun begins. The dialogue and the escapades that Mattie gets into leave you wanting more. It is so much fun watching Mattie get the clues even when she has endures several malfunction. I’m looking forward to the next book in the delightful and humorous series. My rating: 5 stars

Annelise Ryan is the pseudonym of Beth Amos.

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