Thursday, March 1, 2018

Murder-Suicide and Space Aliens in Small Town Wisconsin?

Mattie Winston Mysteries # 9
Kensington Books
February 27,2018

Mattie Winston and her new husband, Steve Hurley, are settled into his home, along with Steve's 15-year old daughter, Emily, and their 2-year old son, Matthew.Things are cramped in Steve's small house, so they are planning to build a new home.  Besides the stresses of a new marriage and a blended family, Mattie is working insane hours at the Medical Examiner's office because of the death of her work sharing counterpart and the recent heart attack of her boss, Izzy. Mattie is a death investigator, assisting Izzy at autopsies and working on cases. It's a good fit because of her nursing background and her general nosiness. The plus is that she works with Steve often in his capacity as a police detective; sometimes it seems that that work is their only time together. The two are called out to a local motel where there appears to be a murder-suicide but seems wrong to Mattie. Then, the construction crew excavating their building site discovers skeletal remains. The skeleton appears to be a space alien, and a media frenzy ensues. Tying up the ends of the two cases are much more than a full-time job for both, especially since the murder-suicide has ties to an earlier investigation; one that the solution arrived at dissatisfies both Steve and Mattie.

I have enjoyed all the Mattie Winston novels because of the characterization and the humor. The humor in Dead Calm is not as broad as in some of the others, but there are plenty of chuckles. The search for a working counterpart for Mattie brings some of the oddest applicants ever. Then there is Mattie's continuing battle with food and klutziness. I did spot the murderer early on, but the appearances of Mattie's group of friends and family made up for that.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an advance copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4 Stars

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