Needled to Death
by Annelise Ryan
Welcome to the first book in The Helping Hands Mystery Series by Annelise Ryan. This series and its premier tale, Needled to Death, share some characters with Ryan’s Mattie Winston Mystery Series. As is true in the real world, people in a fairly closed community, like those who deal with crime and its victims, such as evidence technicians, detectives, and those in the Medical Examiner’s office, frequently have intersecting spheres. Experience with that series is not necessary to enjoy this one.
In Needled to Death, the main character is Hildy Schneider, a social worker for the hospital. Hilda is a flawed protagonist if ever there was one, and you will quickly come to love her, quirks and all. A product of the foster care system since a young age, she has been passed through more homes and psychiatrists than most people can count. Hildy, however, has emerged strong, but vulnerable, with an insatiable curiosity and a desire to help others.
A woman in Hildy’s grief support group at the hospital is convinced her son was murdered, and Hildy agrees to try to get the police to reopen the case. Hildy manages to get involved in the investigation as well as with the investigators on a personal level. There are a lot of interesting characters including P.J., a neighbor girl with Asperger’s, and Rosco, Hildy’s golden retriever whom she sometimes uses with clients as a therapy dog. Hildy goes from no social life to attracting the interest of two men who admire her smarts and spunk.
Author Ryan has a talent in her writing style that makes it hard to put this book down. I really needed to stop reading to attend to another task. Unfortunately for the other project, I would end a chapter, peek at the next, and off I went into the plot again. It was at least five chapters later before I managed to get tough and close the book. Another feature I like about this book is the humor scattered throughout. The ending of one chapter (no spoilers here) was a surprise that was laugh out loud funny. With a great plot and characters with interesting backgrounds, Needled to Death skyrockets for me, and I can hardly wait for the next book in the series to make an appearance!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #1 in the Helping Hands Mystery Series, but Annelise Ryan’s third series.
Publication: July 30, 2019—Kensington Books
These glimpses of family life both warm and depress me. It’s a life I’ve never had or experienced, and I feel the lack of it at times. I try not to dwell in the land of self-pity too much, though, and if I do linger there overly long, Roscoe seems to sense it, and he’ll nudge me out of my depression.
I hate being so paranoid, someone who always suspects the motives of others as nefarious, but my experience, both in the foster system and as a social worker, bears it out. I’ve been lied to, ripped off, and manipulated by some of the best.
I loved books and the stories I read. They provided me with an escape, with adventures I might not otherwise have, and with characters whose lives I could step into and borrow for a time to replace my own.