I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I'm giving this 4 stars in spite of a few things that stuck me, because I just didn't want to put the book down. Mattie's world is an easy one to fall into, which I think says good things about the writer.
Mattie is a bit of a hot mess; but she's the kind of hot mess that I imagine most people can relate to - in whole or in part. In spite of herself, she's still very capable, independent and strong. Occasionally I question her intelligence, but she doesn't pull any TSTL moves.
Stiff Penalty is set up slightly differently from the other books in the series so far - it's first person POV, but is told retrospectively, as Mattie is meeting with her therapist, relating the incidents that brought her to her appointment. I'm not sure I liked it; it worked, and after the first couple of chapters it didn't interfere with the flow of the story, so I won't complain. I will complain about the abundance of foreshadowing because I'm not a fan; it makes my eyes roll every time.
The main plot was good; this one is a bit procedural-ish but the ending still ends up being a surprise. A very abrupt one, and maybe a bit hasty and forced. The secondary plot concerning Mattie was sort of weird: it was good, but it lacked any real tension and it should have had some tension. By the end of the book, it felt like a non-issue.
This is one of the cozy series I genuinely enjoy, even if I sometimes think the author tries too hard, and I'll definitely read the next one.