Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A New Series and Character from Annelise Ryan

A Helping Hands Mystery #1
Annelise Ryan
Kensington Books
July 30, 2019

Needled to Death is a spin-off from Annelise Ryan's Mattie Winston series, featuring diminutive Hildy Schneider. Hildy is a hospital social worker, dedicated to her clients, and as a result of her painful upbringing in the foster system, has several psychological "tics" of her own. One of them is a mild case of kleptomania that kicks in when she is under stress. Hildy runs a grief therapy group at the Sorenson WI hospital where she works. When a new member shows up, saying that her son died recently in what the police called an overdose death. The woman swears it was murder. The woman triggers Hildy's memories of her own mother's unsolved murder when Hildy was only seven years old. From time to time, Hildy will take a look at the police files of her mother's case in the hope something will pop up that might reopen the case. Not only is Hildy sympathetic, but she also hopes that Bob Richmond of the Sorenson PD might help her. Hildy and Bob, who has been a regular character in the Mattie Winston series, begin to co-operate when Hildy points out some discrepancies. Bob also has his doubts about the death of the young man and finds Hildy interesting, maybe in a romantic way. Hildy hopes so at any rate! Hildy's golden retriever is a charming addition to the story, as well as Hildy's young neighbor, PJ.

While the humor in this new series is not as broad as in the Mattie Winston series, it is present. Annelise Ryan uses her medical knowledge as a real-life ER nurse as a plus for all her books. Needled to Death is a strong opening with a complex and likable, despite a tendency to be manipulative heroine and believable supporting characters. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4Stars

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