Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan

Mystery Fiction


Danger multiplies for a pregnant coroner investigating a math teacher’s murder in this hard-boiled mystery by a USA Today–bestselling author.

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows a thing or two about dead bodies. That’s why she’s on the case of Derrick Ames, a high school math teacher stabbed to death with a barbecue fork straight to the heart. Sure, she’s turned up some motives and a few suspects, but nothing adds up. Especially when the evidence points to Ames’s teenage son. Newly pregnant Mattie can’t believe it, even as her own long-estranged father may be following her. But one thing’s certain, she’d better start figuring things out fast, or a deadly perpetrator could be subtracting two more victims from the population of Sorenson, Wisconsin . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Stiff Penalty is the sixth book in this series and I want to state upfront that these books should be read in order to fully understand the characters and the relationships but also for the hilarity that ensues within the pages of each book.

Mattie Winston has had a hard life, her father left when she was young, she caught her husband in the act of cheating on her at the hospital where they both work, and now she is dealing with a stalker, an unexpected pregnancy, and of course, another murder or two.

It took me a few minutes to get into this story because most of it is told in flashbacks but after I got the rhythm down the pages flew.

Ms. Ryan really brings the drama this time. Maddie is seeing a therapist and all her insecurities come out. It was great to see the other side of Maddie. She tries to keep a brave face on for the world but her life is changing in ways that can be downright scary.

There is drama at work too. High School math teacher Derrick Ames was stabbed straight into his heart with a barbeque fork. There are suspects but Maddie can’t piece the clues together to pin down the killer. But again, there is that stalker and the baby on the way. And being shot at doesn’t help matters. The drama doesn’t stop there either.

I really enjoyed Stiff Penalty. I started reading this series because it is set in my home state of Wisconsin. I keep coming back and reading more because I have become invested in these characters and the craziness that comes along with them. A great mystery or two just adds to the fun.

I am bound and determined to get all caught up on this series in 2021.

Your Escape With 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

Leave a Reply