_“When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a 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. Something is amiss on campus, but none of the facts add up.
With the help of his eccentric nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way and solve the mystery. But can they find the killer before he strikes again?” – Amazon
Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney, the first book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, has been sitting on my Kindle for way too long, especially considering how good it turned out to be. I really want to read the next book in the series, Broken Heart Attack, right now since this one was so good and it ends with a huge cliffhanger, but I have a few other books on my TBR that I have to get to first.
Speaking of cliffhangers, I have no problem with them, especially when they are so explosive and I totally did not see it coming. And since Academic Curveball is not published from one of the huge publishing companies like Kensington, an author needs as many ways as possible to get readers wanting to come back for more… besides good writing and a great story. If you are not a fan of cliffhangers, but enjoy cozy mysteries, you should still give this one a read. And since there are six books in the Braxton Campus Mysteries already out, you won’t have to wait to read the next one to see what is going to happen!
So what makes this book so fantastic, besides the well developed characters, wonderful descriptions of the campus, and a mystery with lots of suspects and some red herrings…. For me it was that the main character (who is a man, which is unusual for cozy mysteries) isn’t constantly repeating the clues and same thoughts about the suspects over and over. I love cozy mysteries, but there will be times when I find myself skimming since the protagonist keeps going over the same information. Sure there is some of that in this book, but not nearly as much as a lot of other cozies.
The other wonderful thing about Academic Curveball is the characters, how in depth they are and the dynamic between them, especially Kellan’s family. We don’t get a lot of scenes with Kellan’s mom, but the ones with his father are very layered and realistic. And Nana D is a hoot! I can’t wait to read about more of her antics in future books, as well as Kellan’s daughter, who we only get to know a little bit through Facetime.
I am looking forward to reading more in this cozy mystery series, and highly recommend you give it a try!
Disclosure: Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.