Title: Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 1)

Amazon Author Page: James J. Cudney

Publication Date: October 15, 2018

Formats: Paperback & Kindle

Genres: Cozy Mystery, Teen & Young Adult Town Life E-books, Teen & Young Adult Humor Nonfiction eBooks, Teen & Young Adult Detective Story eBooks


In the Author’s Words

Who killed professor Abby Monroe?
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.

Someone is playing games 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. But who is behind the murder?

Praise from readers:

★★★★★ – “Fantastic writing and witty dialogue… Awesome.”

★★★★★ – “An exciting cozy mystery.”

★★★★★ – “Full of twists and turns, and an ending you won’t see coming.”



Kellan Ayrwick returns home to attend a dinner in honor of his father’s retirement from Braxton College. While he’s there, and as part of his job, Kellan has been asked to meet up with a researcher for the true crime TV show that he works on.

Instead, Kellan finds a dead body who happens to be a professor at Braxton. As the bodies start piling up, and between his friends and family’s involvement at the college, Kellan worries that someone he cares about will be arrested for the crime. Can he work out the truth and solve the murders?

Academic Curveball is a good read and the mystery appeared well thought out. However, the book is overly long when it didn’t need to be. For me, the characters were a bit trite and overdone.

As the male protagonist, Kellan does too much self-talk which bogs the story down. Nana D was quite the character and should have her own series. I had quite a few chuckles at her dialogue.

The one thing I wasn’t sure on was the timing of when the college baseball season actually started. The book begins a few weeks after Christmas in Pennsylvania with a subplot about a Major League Baseball scout interested in one of the students. I consulted with my ex-pitcher husband regarding the timing of the season. He said the author was spot on with his schedule, considering it’s the end of March and my husband is glued to the television for Opening Day.

For a cozy mystery, the book delivers all the way up to the cliffhanger ending. I look forward to continuing the series.


Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System
Author, James J. Cudney

About the Author

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words.

My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance.

My second novel is Father Figure, a contemporary drama about two young women’s journeys on a college campus filled with secrets and tragedy.

My third, fourth, and fifth novels are a new mystery series focusing on Braxton Campus. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com and you can buy the books via Amazon.

About Me: Thisismytruthnow.com

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: Thisismytruthnow.com

Facebook: Thisismytruthnow

Twitter: @jamescudney4

Can you Solve the Mystery?

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