Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1)by James J. Cudney

Publication Date: October 15th 2018 by Creativia
Read Date: December 16th 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 270

Stars: 5/5

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

Academic Curveball was cozy murder mystery set around Braxton College, Pennsylvania,hometown of main character, Kellan. The book revolved around the Ayerwick family, Braxton college and murder of professor on campus.

Kellan was 32-year-old single father who wanted to start his have his own television show. But returning back to his hometown Braxton changed his life entirely. His sense of humor and unique voice was refreshing. He was smart, witty, and empathetic person.

There were many secondary characters, Ayerwick family, Kellan’s friends and those involved in the murder mystery. Not all characters were likable but I bet you can’t resist Nana D, Kellan’s grandmother. She brought the book to life.

This is third book by James I read and it was quite different from the first two. Book was character driven first person narrative with wonderful writing.I must admit James creates wonderful characters and each described fantastically with minute details that feel like watching them playing their role live on drama stage.

First 30% of the book was all about introduction of protagonist,his family and their quirks, picturesque narration of Braxton village, college campus and intriguing puzzle of anonymous blogger defaming Kellan’s father and murder in campus on the day of his retirement party.

I liked Kellan’s relationship with his sister and grandmother and his complex relation with his parents. I didn’t like the attitude of Sheriff and Connor, they did almost nothing to solve the case and the way they were treating Kellan for his efforts was pathetic. I have a feeling Kellan’s relation with these to was going to be even more complex in the next book.

It was interesting to find out the answers of- who was attacking Kellan’s father and why someone killed Abby Monoroe, who tampered the grades and why, how sport and politics of college was involved in murder and was it someone from the faculty or student or someone else. The mystery was hard to solve, I couldn’t guess who might be the killer among so many suspects.

The twist and turns were placed in such a way that it eliminate done suspect but at the same time added another. It kept stalling me till the last chapter. The climax and end was smooth and I liked the way the case was solved.

It was not fast pace book but certainly interesting. It was more like getting to know the characters and setting of the book. That last page twist hinting the sequel of the book was surprising.

Overall, it was interesting cozy mystery with quirky characters and a great start of series that I recommend to all cozy mystery lover.

Author: James J. Cudney

*** Note: I downloaded free e-book via Amazon Kindle. *** 


What do you think about the book and review?
Have you read any book by this author before?
Are you going to add it on your TBR?

Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.



Twitter (2)  Instagram (2)  Goodreads (2)  Pinterest (2)  Google+ (2)  facebook-100x100  bloglovin


  1. Yesha,

    This was such a wonderful surprise to wake up to this morning. I really love the way you write your reviews by showing multiple levels and aspects about a book. I’m grateful for readers (and friends) like you. Thank you.

    When I set out to right a bit of a different cozy with a younger male character as the amateur sleuth, I had so many questions in my head about how to present him. First person was a risk, but I think it’s working out. And I promise, his relationships will always be the central focus to the crime-solving… his family will keep him running around!

    Have a wonderful week. Thank you for making my day and it’s only 8:45 am here.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow, i love to get such wonderful feedback! I was going to email you for this book but then i saw your free kindle post and i grabbed that opportunity.
      It was bit tough to write review for this book than previous ones as I couldn’t write more without giving away and if i have written more descriptive review it would be like writing summary of whole book.
      It was great read and would love to continue the series. and yes, first person narrative is working. i know by third person we get to know perspective of all characters but i love to read first person more.
      Thank you for such great comment. Like Siobhan i was so busy with my girl and all other chores that it took almost whole day to write and publish this post but your comment made it worthy.
      Have a great day and a fabulous week!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.