Posted in Cozy Series, Reviews

Review of Academic Curveball : A Kellan Arywick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James Cudney IV

Purchase Links:

eBook (and Kindle Unlimited): https://amzn.to/2LOOc2g

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RMjXNs

Audio: https://amzn.to/35eaDWk

Five Stars *****

Academic Curveball is the second book I’ve read by James J. Cudney and the first of his Braxton Campus cozy mysteries. Having enjoyed his first novel, the standalone family saga Watching Glass Shatter that I reviewed here, I was curious to see how he would handle a cozy mystery. I wasn’t disappointed. The characters in Academic Curveball were all well portrayed. I especially liked Kellan, the main character, a widower with a young daughter who was called home for his father’s retirement party as president of Braxton College. Upon his return, Kellan who is currently working for Dark Realities, a television reality crime show, plans to meet Professor Abby Monroe who has material for the second season of his show after his father’s party. Unfortunately, he never gets to do so because Abby’s dead body is found during the party by his father’s assistant Lorraine Candito.

A number of people, some close to Kellan including his own father, are suspects in Abby’s murder, but the murder weapon is missing along with two other items, one that was intended as a gift to Kellan. The motive is believed to have involved the changing of a grade for an athlete so he can compete in a game that a college scout will attend. But when another murder occurs and they find the possible weapon hidden in Kellan’s father’s desk, Kellan has even more reason to solve the case despite the warnings by the town’s female sheriff who refers to him as “Little Arywick.”

Aided by his sassy grandmother, Nana D. and his old school friend Connor who is dating both his sister Eleanor and his college girlfriend Maggie, Kellan sets out to find the person responsible for the murders. Although I had a funny feeling about the character who the killer ended up being, I didn’t know the identity of the murderer until it was unveiled . . .  and then it all made sense. What surprised me even more was the cliffhanger at the end of the book that was totally unexpected. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but I love double twists. This one was done exceptionally well. I can’t wait to read the second book where it should be explained. My only criticism of this book was that the plethora of characters were introduced close together which made it somewhat difficult to keep them all straight initially. Otherwise, I highly recommend this series to those who like academic settings, a variety of interesting characters including a male protagonist, and cozy mysteries with lots of subplots and twists.

In addition to being a talented writer, Cudney also has a terrific WordPress blog called This is My Truth Now.

Posted in local author event

St. Stephen’s Author Fair Featured 9 Awesome Authors

On Saturday, November 16, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Hicksville, New York hosted its third local Author Fair. This year, it featured keynote speaker and author, Roland Allnach, President of the Long Island Author’s Group, and eight other authors including myself. Roland spoke about the experience of being a local author and how the community can support them.

The authors spoke in three groups. Mystery authors, Debbie De Louise, James J. Cudney IV, and Catherine Maiorisi took turns at the podium sharing their writing and reading some excerpts from their books. After the three mystery authors spoke, there was time for a Q & A session with the audience and then a break where attendees could visit author tables, purchase books and raffle tickets, and help themselves to free refreshments.

The second set of authors included romance author, Nika Rhone; Young Adult author, Tracy Auerbach; and dark fiction author, Lisa Diaz Meyer. After these author’s spoke, there was another question and answer period along with a break.

The final two authors were non-fiction writers who both spoke on religious topics, Dr. John Krahn and Janet Rudolph. Dr. Krahn, also a pastor, had lectured many times at St. Stephens.

After the final questions from the audience and the last break, the authors posed for a group photo, and raffles were drawn for the books that the authors donated.