Genre: Humorous Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Creativia Publishing House
Pub. Date: November 25, 2018
I have read a couple of the author’s books and I must say he is getting better and better at his craft. I do believe that James J. Cudney has the potential to become a household name for those who enjoy light-hearted murder mysteries. “Broken Heart Attack” is the second book in the “Braxton Campus Mysteries.” However, “Heart Attack” can be read as a stand-alone book. One needn’t read the first novel, “Academic Curveball,” to follow along. The author smoothly informs us that the protagonist, Kellan, is a young widow and a single dad. (I would love to write more about his marriage because it has such a good twist, but that would be a spoiler). In book one, he was working as a writer for a murder mystery TV series until he became an amateur sleuth at Braxton College. He finds a dead body on campus and uses his writing expertise to help solve the crime.
In book number two, Kellan is now working as a professor at the college. I am happy to report that the characters of his spunky, ringleader-like grandmother, as well as his spunky and sweet young daughter, remain in the series. Kellan’s young daughter has a larger piece of the writing pie than she did previously. The father/daughter relationship is easy on the reader’s eyes. This reviewer hopes it will be continued even further in book number three. Personally, I would like to see more of Kellan’s family dynamics and issues into the story. (I actually thought this in “Curveball” as well). The reader will find tantalizing family dynamics, issues, and major drama, in the characters that make up the Paddington clan. The possible murder in “Heart Attack” occurred during a play’s dress rehearsal. Kellan is there along with, Nana D. (the grandmother) and her friends the Paddington sisters-in-law. It is here that one of his grandmother’s friends dies of a suspicious heart attack. Nana D. suspects her friend was actually murdered by a poison that caused the heart attack. So, Kellan is once more back into the crime-solving business.
As in book number one, the story is told in the first person by our professor. Also, once again the writing is at a top-notch comical level with the character of Nana D. When she doesn’t get her way with Kellan she is prone to say things like, “I won’t disown you, but I will set you up with every available harebrained girl in town. I’ll have you fending off more cougars…,” and so on and so forth. This is to her grandson who she adores. One doesn’t mess with Nana D. And yes, once again the novel ends with a cliffhanger leaving you wanting to ask Cudney when number three will be released.
I am not your typical cozy mystery reader because I am not usually a fan of the genre. But, I do make a few exceptions as with “Curveball.” This whodunit borders on the tradition of an Agatha Christie read. At times, the author (who is a friend of mine), doesn’t trust his own talent and tends to explain the plot to his readers especially when writing about potential killers. But, heck I just said something similar in another review about a book written by the enormously talented and accomplished author, Barbara Kingsolver. So Jay, aka James J. Cudney, is in very good company. I do want to add that although “Heart Attack” can be read alone, you would be missing all the fun by skipping the first book in the series.
I received this novel from the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
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