#FlashbackFriday – Dead Even (A Mattie Winston Mystery) by Annelise Ryan #Review / #Giveaway @ryan_annelise

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.

Dead Even (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
Cozy/Hard-Boiled Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington; First Edition (March 30, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496722574
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496722577
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CBMX13V

In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heart—and Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .
In her previous career as a nurse, Mattie Winston’s job was to keep death at bay. Now, as a medicolegal investigator, she’s required to study death intimately—to figure out causes and timing, and help deduce whether it was natural or suspicious.

In the case of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, a well-to-do Realtor, there can be little doubt: Broken pool cues do not embed themselves. Monty’s body is found in the game room of his lavish house, the walls adorned with photos of Monty and various celebrities. But as Mattie and husband Steve Hurley, a homicide detective, both know, money and connections can’t protect anyone from a killer.

The first suspect is Monty’s wife, Summer, who claims to have been at a cooking class at the time. When that alibi is served up as a fake, Summer moves to the top of the suspects list, but is soon joined by Monty’s ne’er-do-well son, Sawyer, who has racked up gambling debts he hoped his dad would pay off. Monty’s twin brother is engaging in shady financial deals. An affair, a Ponzi scheme, a disputed inheritance . . . there are as many motives as suspects, and soon Mattie and Hurley have turned up other, possibly related deaths.

Balancing a high-profile case with the demands of their increasingly stressful household isn’t easy. It’ll take all of Mattie’s skill—along with a lucky break or two—to stop a killer from racking up another victim . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Death by Pool Cue! You don’t see that every day. But that is the case medicolegal investigator, Mattie Winston and her husband Detective Steve Hurley are tasked with. Prominent Realtor, Montgomery “Monty” Dixon has been taken down by someone he had to have known. Was it his wife, Summer? His son, Sawyer? His twin brother? A disgruntled employee? A client not happy with their real estate deal? Or was someone else trying to get Dead Even? Hurley and Mattie are hot on the case as they juggle their hectic home life. Will Mattie catch the killer? Or will she be the next victim?

I love this series and these characters.

The author has created such fantastic genuine characters. Mattie has grown leaps and bounds over these 12 books. She is still the same clutzy self she has been since Book 1 and I love that. She has always made me laugh out loud and is truly my favorite fictional character of all time. Hurley is her perfect man. They have worked through so much over the years and always come out stronger. Their son Matthew is such a cool kid. He immediately stole my heart. His big sister Emily has been through some tough things but has emerged as such a strong young woman. Dom and Iggy are the best supporting characters. They always have Mattie’s back. Her sister, Desi, and her husband Lucien keep things interesting, especially with the girl’s Dad back in town and Lucien representing the suspects in Mattie’s cases.

Again, Ms. Ryan has wrapped her characters in a complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Mattie knows all the suspects are lying and she just keeps tugging one thread after another while Hurley works the case on his end. I love the trust they have in each other. They come up with theories and dig some more. They have no problem bringing suspects into “The Hole” to try to get to the truth. It is so much fun to follow all the breadcrumbs with them right up to the big reveal. I truly was at the edge of my seat. I was so impressed with Mattie. I was cheering and crying. Knowing this is probably the last book in the series, I was afraid about how the book was going to end.

The author uses the final chapter to put a lid on the mystery answering all the questions and presenting the motives and how they snowballed. She also leaves the characters in a very good place. The one thing she doesn’t do is slam the door completely shut on future stories. I hope someday down the road Mattie jumps into Annelise’s brain and pokes at her a lot to pick up the saga of Mattie and Hurley again. As I said, I love these characters, they are like old friends that I could make a short trip up the highway and visit again and again.

Thank you, Ms. Ryan. I found this series late in the game but once I started I was hooked. I really enjoy the humor you infuse into each story while giving us a fabulous mystery to escape into. I have now read everything you have written as Annelise Ryan and Allyson K. Abbott and am anxiously awaiting the release of Death in the Dark Woods, the second Monster Hunter Mystery. As long as you keep writing I will keep reading!

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

Also by this Author

Coming September 12, 2023

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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