#review Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney 5 stars!


This is the third book by James J. Cudney that I’ve given 5 stars! His writing is phenomenal, and yet again he’s nailed a book that’ll likely be remembered through the ages, because just wow! In The Braxton Campus Mysteries, James put together an array of developed, grounded, and extremely well-rounded characters. He’s created a setting that’s realistic, relatable, and downright homey. The entire Ayrwick family has a certain feel about them that screams realistic. Some are stubborn and set in their ways, some are sarcastic, some meddle, and some prefer their privacy and distance. Each and every person is their own, and painted flawlessly.

When I first heard this book described as being a ‘cozy mystery’, my interest was instantly sparked. I’m usually a little more drawn to quicker paced mysteries/thriller types, but after having familiarized myself with James’ writing style, I had unfaltering faith that he’d be able to keep the twists coming and the suspense thick. James more than lived up to the anticipation and high expectations. The Braxton Campus mysteries is off to an amazing start!

Kellan is a single father, which I love that aspect of the book. It’s an angle that’s rarely covered, and it really shines light on this main character’s dedication and priorities in life. Kellan’s dad is about to retire from his job, and despite his reservation in returning home for the support in it all, he finds himself right in the center of everything. Kellan is tied to the local home town collage in more ways than just his family. His boss has given him the task of meeting up with a professor there on business.

Before Kellan has a chance to meet her, and to retrieve some information from her in regards to his own work project… she’s murdered! Kellan finds himself twisted and tied into the chaos of it all in regards to the school, the murder (s), family drama, old friendships resurfacing, and much more.

One thing I really loved, from cover to cover, is the unexpected sarcasm and humor! Kellan really is the complete package. He’s insanely smart, he’s handsome, and he’s hilarious. He has a bit of free-spirited confidence, and it’s refreshing. I especially enjoyed his relationship with his Nanna. She’s the best, and it’s clear that he got his charm and wit from her.

Another thing I love about this story is the build up in speculation. I couldn’t for the life of me guess who was guilty. Every time I thought that I had it figured out I was wrong! I found myself being suspicious of literally half of the characters, I didn’t know what to think or what to expect on who the murderer was! Obviously, this quality in a book is rare, making Academic Curveball a cut above your average mystery. Cudney is genius in how he’s able to reveal clues along the way. His timing is impeccable!

5 stars hands down, and I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries!

Thanks to James J. Cudney for providing me with a free copy in exchange of an honest review.

Pre-Order here:


When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body 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? 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 and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    I really need to find some time to read books of him. Have heard so much good things about this writer (especially for Watching Glass Shatter 😊) This book sounds great as well, and your review was awesome to read as always! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Michel! Watching Glass Shater is an amazing book! Highly recommend 🤩🤩

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi. Thank you for such a great comment (and in the past!). If you’re ever up for reading one, let me know. I’ll happily send an e-version of whichever you prefer. Thank you again.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. raistlin0903 says:

        Really no problem at all! Definitely look forward to reading one in the future (finally been making a dent in my to read list lately lol😂😂). And thank you so much for the offer, that is very kind of you! 😊😊

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Awesome. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. All around, it’s my pleasure! 🙂 XOXOXO

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Shalini says:

    Fab review Didi. I agree James J Cudney’s books are always fab.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are! He’s so talented!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Shalini. You’re awesome.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Didi,

    This is an amazing review. I am absolutely honored by your words and support. I don’t even know where to begin to say thank you… the gratitude is going to be endless!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shalini says:

      Begin with thank you and end with thank you!! And yeah, fit the mid part with thank you!!
      Sorry Didi. I can’t resist teasing him. He is the best!! One of the best humans I know and like and RESPECT!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Shalini, I feel the same way! Such an amazing human, and a beyond amazing artist! I’m officially a fan! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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