Thanks to the author for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now!
Synopsis: When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return 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, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball player isn’t expelled.
Someone is playing games on campus, but non 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 wreck 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 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.
This is the third book I’ve read by our fellow blogger, Jay Cudney, and once again he’s knocked it out of the park! (I know. Sorry for the dreadful pun).
The story is told from the first person POV of Kellan, a widower with a sweet six-year-old daughter. I really liked him and found him thoroughly engaging. I loved his musings and interactions with the other characters, especially his eccentric irrepressible Nana D and the snarky sheriff upon who his charm continually fails. I did find the story a little slow in the middle, but it wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment. The mystery itself kept me guessing right up until the reveal and all the loose ends were satisfyingly tied up. The end of the book has a whopper of a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to jump into the next book, Broken Heart Attack, which is coming out (Thank God!) December 15th. Overall, I think Academic Curveball is an excellent beginning to this new cozy mystery series. It’s full of the memorable quirky characters that Jay is so wonderful at creating, and that, combined with a twisty mystery and cozy college town setting, makes for a delightful read.