Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Today I am happy to feature James J. Cudney’s Academic Curveball
as part of his Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour!
Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney
When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.
Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.
Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.
With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?
We meet Kellan Ayrwick, who works on true crime dramas in Hollywood. He has come home to attend his father’s retirement party and meet with a woman who has done some research for an upcoming season on his television show. Near the end of the party, Kellan makes a tragic discovery. One of the professors appears to have fallen to her death down a flight of stairs. Evidence quickly points to murder and the top suspects include people close to Kellan. Kellan is encouraged to do a little investigating and the finds one curve after another before he hits it out of the park and uncovers whodunit.
We rarely have male protagonists in cozy mysteries and I liked Kellan right away. A single dad living and working in California. He is clearly not happy with his boss. His relationship with his parents is complicated, they are a unique pair, but he sure loves his Nana and their relationship was so heartwarming. Kellan is smart, funny and sarcastic is a delightful way. He comes across as very laid back and confident. His arrival home and the subsequent murder lands him right in the middle of everything going on at the college.
The author has written a mystery that encompasses a wide variety of people. Professors, students, and staff of the Braxton Campus are all entangled in the murder investigation. Another death hits close to Kellan and his family and I was heartbroken when he found the body. All of the characters feel real and believable. Campus life is truly portrayed with an emphasis on the athletic department. Twists and turns kept me guessing right up until the end.
The pace was good but it was wordy in places and that bogged it down a bit. I think a little tightening up would make it fly. The character development was great and left plenty of room for growth. I hope to get to know Kellan’s daughter better in future stories. The world building clearly gave me a sense of time and place.
This series is off to a wonderful start. I found the story entertaining and enjoyable. I look forward to future installments.
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About the Author
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.
When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!
Praise for Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney
. . . a nice, significant mutation in the main character stereotype and succeed to give us a very, very nice and original piece of cozy mystery.
The main characters are a lot of fun. They’re well-rounded, well-thought-out, complex, and full of personality. I just love Nana D!
The mystery is plausible, with twists and turns galore. The multiple red herrings kept me guessing, and I was surprised by whodunit.
This book had a little bit of everything. There was humor, tension, suspense, sarcasm, and family drama all rolled into a great book.
I enjoyed the college setting of Academic Curveball, and it was a nice change of pace to read a cozy featuring a male sleuth.
~The Book’s the Thing
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List of Books
Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)
Braxton Campus Mysteries
Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)
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ACADEMIC CURVEBALL TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
January 7 – Mythical Books – REVIEW
January 7 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT (No Post)
January 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
January 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – Jane Reads – REVIEW
January 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
January 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
January 14 – Carla Loves To Read – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
January 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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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.”