Stiff Competition by Annelise Ryan is the seventh book in the “Mattie Winston” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, January 2016

Stiff CompetitionEvery 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. . .

Mattie is such a fun character to read about with her trials and tribulations that had me laughing at times and shedding tears at a particular scene that brought this whole story together. This evenly-paced drama took me on a thrilling ride that both entertained me and kept me engaged in all the escapades of Mattie from arriving at a scene with a gift from her newborn son, to a favor asked by a best friend, to a puzzling case with secrets left to expose, to a missing angst teenage daughter and a change in her appearance, all to keep Mattie busy in her quirky day to day interactions with her friends and colleagues. I like how the author set up this mystery with a bevy of suspects and enough clues to wrap around the killer’s identity. Boasting a great and lovable cast of characters and cleverly written conversations, this is one of best in this terrific series and I can’t wait to see what adventures await Mattie, Hurley and the rest of the gang in Sorenson, Wisconsin.

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