Mattie's Blog Posts


Life takes some interesting twists and turns in my latest adventure, highlighted in BOARD STIFF. And I get a peek into my future as I wade through...Read More

Oh, My...

I suppose one has to be at the bottom at times in order to see the top and I think I'm there. But things take a very interesting turn in my next...Read More

Will I Get Lucky?

With Hurley, that is. Rumor has it that things get pretty heated between me and Hurley in LUCKY STIFF and it has nothing to do with the house...Read More



You betcha! Wisconsin RN, Mattie Winston, is wryly cynical, politically incorrect, and inherently nosy, traits that suit her well when she trades in her hospital scrubs and OR table for a plastic apron and autopsy table. As a Deputy Coroner, she still gets to use her slicing and dicing skills, but now instead of saving people's lives, she is dedicated to finding out how and why they died. It's a whole new world for Mattie, one that includes a hunky homicide detective, a new hairdresser whose office just happens to be in the basement of a funeral home, and a supporting cast of quirky characters who keep things entertaining. When murder and mayhem come to town, Mattie's anatomical knowledge and no-nonsense approach help her sort out these crimes despite her knack for stumbling into trouble. Sorting out her love life, however, proves a bit more challenging. Come along for this laugh-a-minute ride and see if you can figure out whodunit before Mattie does.

DEAD IN THE WATER, book #8 in the Mattie Winston mystery series comes out February 28, 2017. 

Deputy coroner, Mattie Winston, is starting to feel like she is in way over her head....

As the single mom of an energetic toddler and an investigator working for the medical examiner’s office in small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter Emily, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. And with her boss and friend, Izzy, suddenly having a health crisis, she could not be more grateful for the newest staff member in the ME’s office, Hal Dawson.

All too quickly her gratitude turns to shock when a floating body found trapped against a dam turns out to be Hal, but the cause of death isn’t drowning—his throat’s been slashed. Hal was supposed to be fishing on his day off with his girlfriend. And when their empty boat is found in a nearby lake, the whereabouts of the woman becomes an even more urgent question.

To find out what really happened to her coworker, Mattie may need to rock the boat. But a killer is just as determined to keep the truth from ever surfacing, even if that means making Mattie the next one to go under.

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…


Order STIFF COMPETITION from Indiebound

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. . .

Order STIFF PENALTY from Indiebound

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!

Order BOARD STIFF from Indiebound
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IF NOT FOR BAD LUCK . . .there wouldn't be any luck at all in LUCKY STIFF, the fourth installment in the Mattie Winston series. Who murdered paraplegic, Jack Allen, on Christmas Day, and where is all the money Jack won at the casino a few months ago? What really happened to farmer, Donald Strommen, whose body just resurfaced weeks after he went missing during a fishing trip on a nearby lake? And most important of all, will Mattie finally get "lucky" with Hurley? Join Mattie, Hurley, Izzy, and the rest of the Sorenson crew as they try to solve two of the most bizarre crimes any of them have ever seen. 

Order LUCKY STIFF from Indiebound
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Read the first chapter here.

A VERY COLD CASE.... Death is never pretty, and deputy coroner Mattie Winston's latest case is no exception. But this victim certainly is strikingly beautiful . . . or at least she was before someone stuck that knife into her chest. Mattie knows nearly everyone in the charmingly small town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, so she figures the deceased is an out-of-town stranger. If a woman this attractive had moved into town, the news would have surely hit the gossip mill in record time. But what is the victim doing here, laid out in this desolate field? Things only get murkier with the arrival at the scene of the usually stoic and dependable detective Steven Hurley; one look at the body and he turns as white as the newly fallen snow and excuses himself from the case. It 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. While Mattie grapples with her jealousy over a gorgeous dead woman, Hurley swears her to secrecy and 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!

Order FROZEN STIFF from Indiebound
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Read the first chapter here.


 HALLOWEEN HIJINKS.... 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 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 deadly 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 who, if cornered, is capable of doing anything. And this time it’s not just Mattie’s life that’s on the line...

Order SCARED STIFF from  Indiebound
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Read the first chapter here

LETHAL LAUGHS.... 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.

Order WORKING STIFF from  Indiebound
Read the first chapter here



"WORKING STIFF has it all: suspense, laughter, a spicy dash of romance - and a heroine who's guaranteed to walk off with your heart. Mattie Winston is an unforgettable character who has me begging for a sequel. Annelise Ryan, are you listening?" ~ Tess Gerritsen, NYT bestselling author of THE KEEPSAKE

"The pseudonymous Ryan, herself an R.N., smoothly blends humor, distinctive characters, and authentic forensic detail." ~ Publishers Weekly on FROZEN STIFF

"The pseudonymous Ryan, a real-life ER RN, ... shows growing skill at mixing humor with CSI-style crime." ~ Publishers Weekly on SCARED STIFF

"Ryan, the pseudonym of a Wisconsin emergency nurse, brings her professional expertise to her crisp debut." ~ Publishers Weekly on WORKING STIFF

"Ryan has a good eye for forensic and medical detail, and Mattie gets past her Big Girl complex to be the woman of the hour in her third outing." ~ Library Journal on FROZEN STIFF

"This has the makings of an appealing series on multiple fronts..." ~ Booklist on SCARED STIFF

"... a debut that is both funny and intricately plotted." ~ Clues Unlimited on WORKING STIFF

"Ryan mixes science and great storytelling in this cozy series featuring ER nurse turned coroner Mattie Winston. The forensic details ring true and add substance to this fast-paced and funny mystery. Good plotting and relationship drama keep the mystery rolling, while Mattie’s humorous take on life provides many comedic moments." ~Romantic Times on FROZEN STIFF

"Mattie Winston is a likable, humorous heroine with whom readers will readily identify." ~ Romantic times on SCARED STIFF

"Mattie Winston's life in small-town Sorenson, Wis., is anything but dull after she takes the job as deputy coroner. Mattie is klutzy and endearing, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. " ~ Romantic Times on WORKING STIFF

"Sassy, sexy, and suspenseful, Annelise Ryan knocks 'em dead in her wry and original WORKING STIFF." ~ Carolyn Hart, author of DARE TO DIE

"Move over Stephanie Plum. Make way for Mattie Winston, the funniest deputy coroner to cut up a corpse since, well, ever. I loved every minute I spent with her in this sharp and sassy debut mystery." ~ Laura Levine, author of KILLER CRUISE