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Night Shift–using heart and brain

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Night Shift

by Annelise Ryan

Two books to read. One—a thought provoking theological memoir with an impending book club deadline. The other—a page turner by one of my favorite authors, Annelise Ryan. She really knows how to tell a story. My decision, given this choice, is not hard to guess. As I finished the mystery, Night Shift, I should have been wearing my “one more chapter” sweatshirt because that is what happened, all the way to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

Whereas Ryan’s Mattie Winston Mystery Series focuses on forensics and pathology, her equally well-written Helping Hands Series is about Hildy, a social worker who is combining her job with the hospital as a social worker with a newly created position where she rides along with local enforcement officers to support both the officers and the citizens they encounter. The upside is that many of her clients overlap; the downside is that the hours are extended with the jobs back to back not really allowing for any kind of normal sleep routines. Hildy has been trained in appropriate protocol to keep her safe, and she follows it. She has three big advantages in her new job. She is smart and is good at noticing clues and making connections that others may not see. She has a trained therapy dog Roscoe who interacts well with people in crisis helping to calm them. Personal traumas as a child and her experiences in the foster care system make her an understanding advocate.

In this mystery, Hildy’s welfare check on a farmer yields unpleasant results that are just the beginning of an intricate plot. Threads include a female vet with PTSD, a schizophrenic young man who hallucinates, two adult daughters of the victim who are not very nice people, and a militia organization.

Hildy is determined, persistent, and very caring. On a personal level, she befriends a young neighbor with autism and initiates a relationship with a bachelor detective who is ready to make changes in his life. On a professional level, she is confronted by her boss at the hospital who was turned down for the law enforcement position Hildy now holds. 

Annelise Ryan’s books have some of the characteristics of a cozy mystery, but they have a little edge to them in the crime scene descriptions. They also have characters with more depth to them than the typical cozy mystery. She takes great care to bring the reader along as she supplies background information from the first novel in a natural and organic way. The characters are interesting and show development. The plot is intricate and fast moving. This is a mystery you’ll be thinking about for days as you wonder what adventures lie in store for Hildy in the next book.

I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #2 in the Helping Hands Mystery Series, but excellent as a standalone

Publication:   July 28, 2020—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

If eyes truly are the windows to the soul, one look at Danny’s makes it clear that reason and sanity have left that particular building. At least for now.

As I follow her in there, it occurs to me that this is a kid who never displays emotion, and that I may have just been played by an eleven-year-old.

The rest of the station employees not only haven’t noticed, but they’ve made no effort whatsoever to maintain the newly cleaned state. I’m surprised I got the job I did with this department because, apparently, being a slob is one of the criteria for working here.


  1. I read an ARCsometime ago. A very good review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy says:

    Great review… now I want to read Night Shift… sounds like my kind of read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a good mystery! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds great! I love your One More Chapter sweatshirt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carla says:

    Wonderful review Linda. I really enjoy Annelise Ryan’s books for all the reasons you mentioned. I think the character of Hildy could be used as a model for police departments all over the US and Canada. I also enjoyed this book and am looking forward to what is next for Hildy and the rest of the crew.

    Liked by 1 person

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