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Posed for Death - KK6 accessibility pack

Posed for Death - KK6 accessibility pack

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Getting old shouldn’t be a death sentence

Kenzie thought she had a pretty good understanding of aging and elder care. She was a medical professional, after all. But when her postmortem findings cause her to look more deeply into the sometimes dark world of elder care, she is forced to reconsider.

When she starts asking questions about legislation and regulation, things get nasty.

Kenzie could just do what she’s told and stop asking questions.

But when was the last time she did that?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ P.D. Workman never fails to deliver an intriguing mystery with plenty of thrills, drama, and unexpected twists that will hold your attention from start to finish. The characters are believable, with flaws and attributes that will endear them to the reader. The stories always have, at their heart, socially relevant topics that are explored with compassion, intelligence, and dignity.

If you are a reader of the Zachary Goldman Mysteries series, you have already met Kenzie Kirsch. This series is a spinoff from Zachary Goldman Mysteries, giving Kenzie a front-and-center position in solving medical mysteries.

Looking for a strong female lead in an engaging medical mystery? Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author P.D. Workman brings you an up-and-coming Medical Examiner’s Assistant who is right up your alley.

Join Dr. Kenzie Kirsch as she uncovers mysteries, conspiracies, and thrills!
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The phone rang as Kenzie was in the bathroom getting ready for her day. She looked at it in irritation. Unless it was Dr. Wiltshire, no one else should be calling her before work. And if it were Dr. Wiltshire, he usually just left her a message on her work phone to let her know where he was going or if something in his schedule had changed for the day, rather than calling her on her cell. Unless he wanted her to attend to the scene of a death.

But the name on the face of her phone was not Dr. Wiltshire; it was Walter Kirsch. Kenzie considered ignoring it. He wasn’t likely to be calling her about anything urgent, and she would feel better prepared to talk to him after she’d had a fortifying cup of coffee and some breakfast.

But she was trying to work on a better relationship with him, so she just closed her eyes briefly to gather her thoughts and try to relax, and then swiped to answer.

“Hi, Dad.”

“MacKenzie!” His voice boomed, much too loud and cheery for the first thing in the morning. “How are you this lovely morning?”

“I’m good. What’s up? It’s pretty early for you to be calling.” She hoped that the gentle nudge would get through to him and he would remember the next time not to call her quite so early.

“You always did like to sleep in,” he remembered fondly.

Kenzie had liked to sleep in as a teenager and a young adult, but she didn’t think that sleeping until six-thirty or seven o’clock should count as “sleeping in.”

“Yes, I did back then,” she agreed. “But I’m up this morning. I need to get ready for work.” Rather than pushing him to hurry up and tell her his business and get him off the phone if he was just calling for a friendly chat, she tried an offer. “Did you want to get together for dinner, and we can have a visit then?”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have time to drive down. But your mother has some papers she wants you to sign for the foundation. I thought I would give you a heads-up.”

Kenzie frowned and shook her head. “If she has some papers for me to sign, then why isn’t she the one calling me?”

“I offered. Thought it would give me a chance to say hello to you. She’ll email you the documents. Just make sure you check your email sometime this morning.”

“Are they urgent? It has to be this morning?”

There was a slight hesitation before his response. “It would be best if you could get to them this morning, yes.”

Kenzie sighed. She really didn’t want to know all of the details of why it had to be done right away. It seemed like the more she got involved with the Kirsch family foundation, the more urgent everything became. When she had been shirking her duties, some documents had waited weeks for her signature. But now that she was trying to step up and take an active part, everything needed to be done immediately. She supposed she should be grateful that her mother wanted to involve her and that they were helping so many other people, but she felt a little like Lisa was taking advantage of her.

“Sure. I’ll make sure I check sometime this morning and will sign them and send them back.”

“Great. That will make her happy. She says hello.”

“Are you there right now? In Burlington with Mother?”

Walter and Lisa had divorced a number of years before. Kenzie was happy that they were still on good terms and didn’t see a problem with Walter stopping in to sleep at the family home or using the office he had there if he happened to be in the area. It was good that they got along together and didn’t fight and put Kenzie in the middle of things. But it always made her feel a little bit strange and she didn’t quite know how to take their continuing relationship. She had never asked for details of whether they were still romantically involved. That would be too weird. She didn’t want to know.

“Yes, I have a meeting here this morning, so I stayed over last night. Always nicer to start the day off relaxed, rather than having to drive out here.”

Kenzie nodded. She didn’t like to be rushed in the morning either. And looking at the time, she realized she needed to get off of the phone if she were going to get to work on time without having to hurry.

“Okay, Daddy. I’ve got to go now. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Say hello to Zachary for me. And for your mother.”

“He says hi back,” Kenzie said automatically, and she ended the call.

As she put the phone down to finish her hair and makeup, she felt Zachary move in behind her. “Walter?” he asked as he put his arms around her for a quick hug.

Kenzie wondered whether she had heard her call Walter “Dad” or if he just recognized the note of exasperation in her voice when she talked to him. She hoped that her annoyance with him wasn’t that obvious. She didn’t want Walter to realize how much of an effort it was to talk to him and be civil, though she did want him to know that it was a bad time of day to call her to talk.

Of course, Zachary was a private investigator, so, even if he hadn’t heard Kenzie call Walter by name, it would probably only take a sentence or two for him to figure out who she was talking to.

“Yes,” she sighed. “Way too early in the morning to be talking to him.”

Zachary nuzzled her and kissed her neck, then released her, knowing that she would want to get ready. He was grinning.

“It may not be early for you,” Kenzie said, acknowledging that he had probably been up since before sunrise, “but it’s too early to talk to him.”

Zachary nodded. He never had much to say about Walter. The two of them didn’t exactly get along, but Kenzie understood that Zachary didn’t want to say anything negative about him to Kenzie, so he was tactful and kept his thoughts to himself. But she knew that he too found Walter taxing and wouldn’t want to be talking to him early in the morning—or late in the morning.

“I’ll go put the coffee on,” Zachary offered.

She patted his sandpaper cheek. “That would be great. Thanks.”

He left, and Kenzie looked back at the mirror to tame her long, curly dark hair into some semblance of order and finish putting on her makeup.

Not that her patients would care what she looked like. Since they were already dead.


With Zachary taking care of the coffee and getting the rest of their breakfast arranged, Kenzie didn’t feel too rushed and could sit down and take a breath before heading straight out to the Medical Examiner’s Office. She glanced over the table to see what Zachary had missed and got the marmalade out of the fridge. Her bread was already in the toaster, the coffee was just finishing dripping, and Zachary had his granola bar and yogurt out.

Now that he was on a new medication protocol, he would probably be able to eat both the granola bar and the yogurt when, previously, it would have been a struggle to get either one down with the side effects he had experienced. He saw her put the marmalade on the table and rolled his eyes at his oversight.

“Whoops. Sorry.”

Kenzie shrugged. “It’s okay. Looks like you got everything else.”

Which meant that the ADHD meds were doing their job. Overlooking one thing was easy for anyone to do. Without the meds, he would have been lucky to get the bread in the toaster and the coffee brewing at the same time without getting distracted. He didn’t like taking all of the pills he did, but they did make a difference.

Zachary poured them each a mug of coffee and they sat down.

“Everything okay with your dad?” Zachary asked.

“Yeah. Just saying hello and that Lisa has some stuff for me to sign.”

He raised his brows and Kenzie shrugged. “I don’t know why he was the one to call instead of her. I guess he spent the night there and just figured he’d tell me to watch for them. I don’t know what it is all about.”

Zachary nodded. “Fair enough.”

“But it sounds like everyone is fine. Just some foundation stuff to take care of.”


“How about you? What are you expecting to do today?”

“Pretty routine. No big cases right now. Might help Tyrrell with looking for work.”

Kenzie nodded slowly. She wasn’t sure exactly how Zachary would help his younger brother, Tyrrell. Mostly, their getting together to job hunt seemed to consist of a cup of coffee and the newspaper and the two of them chatting while they looked at their computers or phones for any new job opportunities to manifest themselves. Tyrrell was competent enough to look for his own job. He had a college degree, was better at reading, and had fewer challenges than Zachary. It seemed to be more moral support than anything. Tyrrell was at least working part-time with a door-to-door sales company, but he was looking for something better.

“I hope something turns up for him.”

Zachary shrugged and grunted. They both knew that it would be challenging for Tyrrell to land a good job with his history of alcoholism and leaving employers in the lurch without any warning. But if he kept working at it diligently, maybe something would turn up.

“How has he been?” Kenzie asked.

“Seems to be pretty good. No warning signs that I’ve noticed.” Zachary was cautious in expressing this opinion. They had both been surprised by Tyrrell’s falling off the wagon previously. While they were both alert for the signs, Tyrrell was an old hand at hiding his drinking and would probably be able to cover up the fact that he had started drinking again until it got really bad.

“Has he seen the kids?”

“I think he’s got them this weekend.”

“Good. Say hi for me if you see him.”

“Will do. How will your work be today?”

Kenzie sipped her coffee and smiled. “I expect it to be pretty dead today.”

* * *

Kenzie was glad that she had taken the time with Zachary to have their coffee and breakfast and prepare for the day. She felt much more relaxed and focused and ready to take on the day than she would have if she had just headed over to the Medical Examiner’s Office after the call with Walter.

She opened up the office, took the phones out of night mode, and started the coffee pot in the kitchen brewing. It would probably be an hour before Dr. Wiltshire got in, which would allow Kenzie the time to check her voicemail, email, and any deliveries or overnight check-ins before he arrived. She would have everything set up for him, ready to go. The late spring brought with it alcohol poisoning and post-prom DUI deaths, but it was not busy like December and January were. They had a few postmortems lined up, but on the whole, things were pretty quiet.

Carlos had called ahead that he had a couple of bodies to bring in. Dr. Wiltshire had already attended the scenes or reviewed them remotely and said that the bodies could be released for autopsy. Kenzie filled in the check-in sheets with the initial information she had and met him just inside the loading dock as he off-loaded the first delivery.

“Which one is this?”

“Joseph Howard.”

Kenzie checked the clipboards and picked up the appropriate one. “Okay. Unattended death. Elderly man. Being cared for in his home. Is that right?”

Carlos nodded his agreement. “Pretty simple; died in his sleep at home.”

There wouldn’t be a lot for Kenzie to do on that file. Unless someone had flagged the circumstances of death as suspicious, an unattended elderly person dying would not require a full autopsy. They would examine the body for any signs of violence or anything that seemed out of place, but would probably not need to open him up. Release the body to the funeral home, and they would be done with their part in Mr. Joseph Howard’s death.

She directed Carlos where to leave the body and handed him the clipboard to scribble a few more notes into and then sign it. Kenzie countersigned as having received the body, and Carlos was off again to pick up the next one.

* * *

Before Dr. Wiltshire got in, Kenzie remembered that she needed to sign the foundation documents that her mother had emailed her. At her desk computer, she opened her personal email account into a new tab and skimmed down the list of unread messages. There was one from Lisa at her foundation address, so Kenzie opened it up and clicked a couple of times to print the attachments.

Dr. Wiltshire came in at that point, so Kenzie turned back to her work and gathered the physical notes and messages that Dr. Wiltshire would need to begin his day.

“Hello, Doctor.”

“Hi, Kenzie. How are things shaping up today?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary. A couple of requests from upstairs for answers on completed postmortems.” She flapped the pink slips at him. “Some lab reports back for you to review. I didn’t see anything unexpected on any of them, but I only skimmed. Carlos brought in one of the unattended deaths from last night that you already authorized. He’s gone back for the other. It didn’t sound like either of them was anything to be concerned about?”

“Nope. Not as far as I could tell from what I saw,” Wiltshire agreed. “We’ll have a look at the bodies this afternoon and, if there isn’t anything of concern, we can release them right away to the funeral homes. Let their families get on with their lives.”

Kenzie nodded. “Okay. Sounds good.”

“You aren’t too backed up with paperwork, are you? You have some time to join me on the postmortems?”

Kenzie smiled. “You bet.”

“Perfect. We can each take one of the new arrivals. And then catch up on the others in the cold room. I think we can get caught up on any backlog.”

Since they didn’t generally do autopsies on the weekend, there were sometimes weekend deaths waiting for them when they returned to work on Monday. Prom season meant that there were more than usual. Kenzie shook her head, thinking about the young people celebrating their graduation from high school, only to have their lives cut short due to drinking, drugs, and cars.

Wiltshire nodded, giving her a sympathetic look. He knew better than Kenzie the tragedy of the yearly uptick in deaths during a time that should have been filled with happy, bright futures.

Kenzie would take an eighty-year-old man who had died in his sleep over an eighteen-year-old whose life had been tragically and unexpectedly cut short any day.

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P.D. (Pamela) Workman is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of several awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody and the InD’tale Magazine’s Crowned Heart award, and has published over 100 mystery/suspense/thriller and young adult books.

Workman loves writing about the underdog. She has been praised for her realistic details, deep characterization, and sensitive handling of the serious social issues that appear in her stories, from light cozy mysteries to darker, grittier young adult and mystery/suspense books.

P. D. Workman does not shy from probing the deep psychological scars of childhood trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Also characteristic of this author, these extremely sensitive issues are explored with extensive empathy, described with incredible clarity, and portrayed with profound insight.
—Kim, Goodreads reviewer