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The Vicarious Liver -or- Working Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries #1)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,262 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
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 apro
Paperback, 296 pages
Published by (first published September 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,688)
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Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
An excellent debut cozy. Though, there are many elements in this mystery that you wouldn't normally find in a cozy.

I really enjoyed this one. A good mystery with many elements. Quirky characters. Good relationships. A real page-turner.
Jun 01, 2015 KDawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story? Good...pretty good writing and an okay plot. Liked the main character and her job/detective work made sense and worked well in the story.

Things I didn't like? Too much sexual innuendo and euphemisms. I'm not 16...adults (at least the ones I know) aren't generally that crass.

And she kept referring to being gay as 'a lifestyle.' Why? It's not like 'an active lifestyle' or the 'Atkins lifestyle.' It's just who they are. That's just a pet peeve of mine.

Will a read the second? Probably.
Feb 02, 2016 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mattie and Steve Meet

In the first book of the Mattie Winston series Mattie finds her husband with another woman. She responds to the betrayal and hurt by quitting her job and life for awhile. She accepts the job of deputy corner is dismayed when she recognized the victim is her husband's lover. She meets homicide detective Steve Hurley and sparks fly between them. Steve feels her husband is the killer and Mattie is sure he is not. Mattie is determined to prove him wrong. The characters are devel
Jul 22, 2016 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Update 23/07/16:
Ahh, this makes me sad. I remembered loving this book back when I read it 4 years ago, so I picked up the audiobook version this time, figuring it'd let me "reread" it with a fresh perspective.

Turns out it was a terrible idea, because the narrator's raspy voice and inability to differentiate her reading of prose versus dialogue made listening to it an absolute chore.

Listening to an audiobook also forces you to listen to everything VERY closely, with no option to read quickly pa
Jean Poulos
This is a new author and narrator for me. Ryan tells the story of Mattie Winston who has caught her husband David Winston, M.D., having an affair with Karen Owenby, R.N.

Mattie moves out, quits her job, files for divorce and moves in with her gay friend Izzy, who is the Chief Medical Examiner. Izzy suggest Mattie apply for a job as a deputy coroner investigator. Mattie does and is hired and the first homicide call turns out to be the murder of Karen Owenby. Detective Steven Harley is assigned to
Kavita Ramesh
Sep 15, 2015 Kavita Ramesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED the first person, present tense, POV. It made the reading that much more immediate and impactful, and I felt like I was inside the narrator's head, seeing what she did. I wish more authors would use this format, especially for adventure or action or mystery novels.

I know that the third person tellings (books) are supposed to be "better" somehow, but I don't agree with publishers and their la-di-da opinions on this...give me first person and present tense any day!

The covers drew my eye,
Jun 22, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently came across this book while wandering through the stacks at the local library and I'm glad I did. Reading the blurb on the inside cover made me want to read it but the first paragraph grabbed my attention and from that moment on I was hooked. I had to read more about this zany main character and see what strange things were going on in her life.

Mattie Winston is a nurse. She doesn't let catching her cheating doctor husband with his pants down destroy her. Not this sassy woman. She goe
Jun 04, 2015 Anastasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan is the first book in the Mattie Winston Mystery series. When Mattie walks in on her husband with another woman, she dumps him and her job as an operating theatre nurse and becomes the medical examiners assistant. Unfortunately one of her first cases is the murder of her husbands mistress with him becoming lead suspect. I enjoyed this first book in a series very much. Mattie's clumsiness leads to quite a few hilarious situations. A very funny and entertaining read.
Doris Ernst
Apr 16, 2014 Doris Ernst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-kindle
Good read. Cozy mystery. Kept me interested all the way through. Several twists and turns. Didn't figure out who done it until almost the end. Mattie, a nurse turned deputy coroner, investigator is really likable. The detective Steve Hurley livens things up a bit too. Easy guess as the character Mattie grows in her new job so will the relationship with hunky detective Hurley as the series continues.
Melissa Cochrill
Apr 09, 2015 Melissa Cochrill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughly good book! Maddie Winston is an enjoyable and zany main character. Some may call her foul or the writing a little crude mouthed, I think it added to Maddie's likability. I liked the supporting characters too. I'm looking forward to the next book!
Shelley Ochowski
Hilariously funny. As a nurse I found this book very accurate and Mattie had me in stitches. This lighthearted read would be a great gift for anyone, especially someone with a medical background.
Mar 11, 2015 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-books
I liked this series, especially since it centers around a character that is suppose to be investigating the clues and the murder scenes as a deputy coroner, rather than around a protagonist who starts off as the prime suspect in the first book of the series and then just happens into more murders and crime scenes in future books. There's nothing wrong with those series, I read a lot of them, but its refreshing to have someone investigating like they were suppose to. The main characters were grea ...more
Feb 26, 2015 Page rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There have been very few times that I have not been able to finish a book. I pride myself on finishing what I start. But this one...I ended up quickly scanning 3/4 of the way through. It was just so insane, and not in a good way.


I knew I was going to have problems right off the bat. There is no way - none - that a police detective would allow a murder suspect's wife be involved in any part of the investigation. But here is Mattie, the murder suspect's wife, investigating the murd
Adarsh Kota
Mar 05, 2012 Adarsh Kota rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Now this -- is funny! This deserves "humor"-status.

I really liked this story. Throughout most of the first half, the humor just kept on coming. The second half was less humorous though my interest was maintained because the plot was maintained and and the guilty party was not easy to figure out.

While other books of this genre struggle with believability, in "Working Stiff," because of Mattie Winston's background previously working as a registered nurse at a local hospital, and now as a morgue a
The UHQ Nasanta
3 stars

Having thoroughly enjoyed myself with Scared Stiff, the second book in the series, I decided to hunt up the rest of the books in the series. I did enjoy Working Stiff. I found the writing style to be readable, the protagonist's POV to be humorous and authentic, and the mystery to be fairly convoluted. This book did fail to hold my attention in the way that Scared Stiff did not. I found myself pausing about halfway through the book in favor of other reads, and found it easy to put down aft
This has potential to be a good series although I thought the story this time around was dragged out somewhat. I kept looking at how many pages i had left to finish which is not always a good sign.

We are introduced to Mattie Winston who has started to work as a deputy coroner due to some massive changes in her life. Izzy is great at teaching Mattie patiently the ropes and of course (as I've now come to expect in all these cozy mysteries) he is her gay best friend. It is amazing how each of the s
Mary Brown
May 09, 2014 Mary Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan was a great cozy mystery. There was mystery, suspense and lots of humor. I think the humor is what made this book stand out from other cozy mystery. There were a lot of times that I not only smiled but laughed out loud. Mattie says and thinks the most outrageous things. The mystery was well thought out and I didn't figure out the murderer until it was revealed at the end, although I did have a slight feeling I knew who it was when all of the events at the end unfol ...more
May 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome first book in the series! Lots of snappy dialogue. Mattie is a great character and I like the rest of the crew as well. The mystery was good and I figured it out only slightly ahead of Mattie. Will definitely be reading more.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2015 Skyqi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mattie leaves her nursing job after she catches her husband cheating on her with another nurse, Karen, at the the hospital where they work. She is starting a new job offered to her by a good friend, Izzy, in the coroner's office. One night she gives in to the temptation to spy on her soon-to-be ex-husband, David. She sees him and Karen having a heated argument. The next day on her first homicide investigation, she discovers that Karen is the victim. Even though David is a cheater, Mattie still c ...more
Jul 08, 2015 L8blmr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't completely made up my mind about this author/series. At least I began with book one this time. The positives are the pace and the writing style. There were several times that I noticed a carefully inserted play on words or innuendo that was subtle. I do not enjoy it when a writer feels the need to bash one's head in with explanations, destroying any chance of subtlety or crediting the reader with the sense to get it on their own. I also enjoyed some of the supporting players though a c ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why I really, really, really like this book...

Annelise Ryan's Mattie Winston books are a fabulous new mystery series that I recently become somewhat addicted to. Mattie has recently had a life altering revelation (of sorts) involving her Doctor husband, but also her profession since Mattie worked as a nurse in the same hospital. Luckily Mattie has Izzy, her gay best friend, and now because of his job as chief medical examiner, her boss. Mattie's life now with a new job, a new home (also thanks t
Adrienne Testa
Mattie Winston is reeling from her husband's affair, when the girlfriend turns up dead. Mattie now deputy coroner, after quitting her RN job at the hospital, sets out to find a killer and learn the truth about the girlfriend's identity. Town loves their gossip and loves to keep their secrets, even if it means killing to keep those secrets. It rambles, taking away from the murder mystery. Although, it has likable characters, the rambling takes away from the story.
Oct 24, 2015 Katherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: police, mystery, 2015
I bought this book as a $1.99 special for Kindle. I have found some great books this way, but not in this case. I read about half of it. The mystery seems ok, but there is too much internal dialog about her life, for example:

"There's more to life than sex." I utter this with great nonchalance despite the fact that Izzy has hit a sore spot. During the last few months of my marriage, sex ranked just below plucking my eyebrows and cleaning out the toilet bowl on my list of things to do. Now that I
Jun 26, 2015 Alycia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy, m-z
Not quite sure about this series ... I know cozies are supposed to be somewhat humorous, but the MC in this one is such a clutz I'm wondering how she survived childhood.
May 29, 2016 Lacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This book was an extremely pleasant surprise for me since my first foray into this particular authors writing left me feeling very disappointed. Instead this book was filled with humor, fun characters and leaves you guessing till the very end. Mattie is an incredibly witty main character who while a bit bumbling at times, always left me with a smile on my face in the end. Her relationship with Izzy is incredible and lovely to read. He's as much fun to read about as she is. Then there of course i ...more
Kimberly Ann
I believe that had I read this first, I'd not have read the second one in the series.

This is "light" reading at its lightest....nothing of substance here...just "ho-hum".

Mattie is a new ME who has just quit her job as RN at the local hospital where her husband is a prominent surgeon. She has caught David & Karen Owenby, another nurse, in a very compromising position and is now in the process of divorcing him.

Karen has just turned up dead & David id the main suspect..... Mattie thinks Dav
Sep 04, 2014 E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the way the forensic science was explained as Mattie learned to do autopsies. I like the setup where Mattie is making a life for herself in a career change, with the help of a good friend (who happens to be the coroner) after a divorce.
But at times, I felt it was trying hard to be funny in a very particular way, of pratfalls and predictable unresolved sexual tension.
This is like what would happen if Stephanie Plum did forensics.
I would love to find a funny mystery novel with a fe
Feb 09, 2016 Sheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely delightful cozy mystery. It has a fun, relatable heroine with a wonderful sense of humor (she had me laughing out loud many times), an engaging mystery (even if I did figure out whodunnit), interesting secondary characters, and of course, a sexy potential love interest. The audiobook narration is excellent; though the odd pronunciation of a few words had me lifting my eyebrow in amusement and bewilderment, it wasn't enough to diminish my enjoyment of the audio. I also thoug ...more
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question 1 16 Jul 27, 2012 06:26PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Mattie Winston Mysteries (7 books)
  • Scared Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #2)
  • Frozen Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #3)
  • Lucky Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #4)
  • Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #5)
  • Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #6)
  • Stiff Competition (Mattie Winston Mysteries #7)

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“I'm surprised by how much the inside of a dead body smells like the inside of a live one.” 4 likes
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