WORKING STIFF

Mattie Winston, RN, 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, Mattie gets to poke her nose into everyone else's business, but her 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 suspect list. Unable to pursue the case officially, Mattie launches her own investigation, aided by a cast of quirky characters who help her uncover a trail of sordid secrets, deadly betrayals, and missing underwear. Can she identify the real killer before she ends up as the next victim on the M.E.'s autopsy table?

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SCARED STIFF

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 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...

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FROZEN STIFF

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!

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LUCKY STIFF

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-favourite turns up dead, Mattie and Hurley must race to find a killer before another victim cashes in his chips.

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BOARD STIFF

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!

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STIFF PENALTY

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. . .

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STIFF COMPETITION

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…

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DEAD IN THE WATER

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 . . .

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DEAD CALM

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 . . .

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DEAD OF WINTER

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 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 . . .

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DEAD RINGER

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 . . . 

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