On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Stiff Competition (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
7th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (January 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1617734101
ISBN-13 : 978-1617734106
Kindle ASIN : B00X2EOZKC
A coroner must find a killer out to make a point in this hard-boiled mystery by the USA Today–bestselling author of Dead Even.
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 . . .
The crisp autumn air in Wisconsin means there are deer hunters in the woods and fields first for bow hunting, later for gun hunting. Accidents are bound to happen but when a land developer is taken down with an arrow it turns out to be murder. Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston returns to work after the birth of her baby just in time to be put on the case. She starts working the case with her baby’s daddy, Detective Hurley but when Emily his teenage daughter goes missing he hands the case off to another detective to search for her. Mattie would love to help him but her relationship with the teenager is pretty icy. But soon she finds herself both on the trail for Emily and the killer.
Mattie’s life is full and complicated. She is trying to find a balance between work and motherhood. Thankfully she has a great babysitter in Dom but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t show up the first day back at work with baby puke in her hair and on her shirt. She is also hoping to bring her little family together but Hurley’s daughter isn’t having it. She is doing everything she can to keep Mattie and Hurley apart.
Maddie’s first days back at work are truly filled to the brim. Any mother can feel the strain of taking care of a newborn while trying to function through a workday. The author gives a true perspective. I identified with Mattie putting everyone and everything else first. Trying to squeeze in a haircut was a monumental task and then she made a poor decision.
Hurley is dealing with a lot as well. He is in a high-pressure job that requires a lot of hours. His teenage daughter entering his life brings a whole new set of stressors and now he has the baby with Mattie. He is feeling guilty because he feels he is not doing any of the jobs well.
What really drives the books in this series are the many relationships between the characters. There is drama but there is an overwhelming feeling of love. The core characters all care about each other and make up a unique family situation. The characters continue to grow throughout each book and in Stiff Competition, one character has a wonderful awakening. It is so easy to get invested in these characters.
Ms. Ryan gives readers two mysteries to solve. The murder of a shady land developer and the disappearance of Hurley’s daughter. Maddie is up to her neck in both and the author twists both of them together with an expert hand. I was more caught up in Emily’s disappearance because she is a core character but it was fun following the clues to solve the other mystery too. I also enjoy the way humor is placed widely throughout the story. Real true-to-life events befall Mattie time and time again in a funny way.
Of course, this series taking place close to my home always brings extra enjoyment as landmarks and places I know are mentioned. It is easy to see in my mind right where everything is taking place.
Stiff Competition is a nice addition to this series. With the next book, we move out of the “Stiff” phase and into the “DEAD” phase. I am looking forward to continuing on Mattie’s journey with her family and friends. The ending of this book makes me excited to escape into Dead In The Water soon.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.
For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com
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