Stiff Competition By Annelise Ryan: Review/Giveaway

Feb 6, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Stiff Competition, and a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.

As Thanksgiving approaches, Wisconsin Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston is not feeling very grateful. Her beautiful infant son has left her in a continual state of mommy-angst brain, anxious over the time that he does sleep almost as much as when he doesn’t. Her postpartum body, baby spit-up wardrobe, and inability to find time to comb her hair, also has Mattie feeling more than a little inferior when compared to the gorgeous police videography specialist who is not shy about expressing her attraction to Detective Steve Hurley. Hurley may be Mattie’s baby-daddy and probably the love of her life, but they can barely manage to find two minutes of conscious time together between their demanding jobs, breast-pumping, and Hurley’s troubled teenaged daughter who unexpectedly dropped into their lives.

bookDeath doesn’t stop for the holidays though, even in sleepy Sorenson where ninety percent of the crime is alcohol-related. Much-maligned developer Lars Sanderson managed to get himself impaled by an arrow during hunting season, but his death looks to be anything but an accident. Grateful to have some time together, Mattie and Hurley use her impressive medical knowledge to question the many suspects with reasons to want the greedy, womanizing, unethical deal-maker dead. If only they didn’t also have the distraction of baby duties, their own relationship anxieties, and yet another disappearance of Hurley’s daughter complicating their lives.

The joy in reading the mysteries by one of my favorite authors derives from how cleverly she incorporates humor throughout her novels. The laughs are continual, and by assuming that readers are clever enough to pick up on her wit, she presents subtle but nonstop humor throughout her books.

The investigators have personal lives as well, but their dramas never overwhelm or interrupt the flow of the main mystery. Balancing professional and personal lives is a dilemma for all involved, as even Mattie’s middle-aged boss/landlord/best friend is confronted by his partner’s desire for a family. The relationship between Hurley and Mattie has always been the heart of the series, despite fate’s apparent determination to sabotage their future with a continual string of obstacles. This seventh in the series perfectly blends together humor, heart, and forensic investigation into a fascinating and completely unpredictable mystery. Readers will be more than thankful for future adventures of Mattie and her new perfectly imperfect family.

To enter to win a copy of Stiff Competition, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “competition,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 13, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

You can use this link to order this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore:

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Looks great and love the cover; thanks for the chance to win 🙂
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  2. It sounds wonderful, I like it when humor is incorporated well too! Thanks!

  3. A real person struggling though motherhood and solving a mystery. I would love to read this book. Thanks for offering another great giveaway.

  4. I have entered the giveaway by email, but am commenting in support of this book synopsis/review. I am very intrigued by this book, as I love a little humor with my…murder. I also enjoy relying of forensics in the investigation, not just police work or amateur deduction. This is a new-to-me book and author, and it is great to know there is a whole series to enjoy.

  5. Great review. Have added this series to my TBR list. Thank you for the chance to win.

  6. Thank you for introducing me to a new author! This book sounds like a great read. Thank you for the chance to win it.

  7. I agree about Ryan’s humor. It was evident throughout Stiff Penalty, so I’m looking forward to this installment.

  8. Looks good add me to the list of hopefull winners

  9. We have a winner!


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