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Academic Curveball–knocking this cozy out of the park

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Academic Curveball

by James J. Cudney

Academic CurveballAcademic Curveball is the first cozy mystery in the newly created Braxton Campus Mystery Series by James J. Cudney. Although not alone in having a male author and a male protagonist, this book is outside the norm for the typical cozy. He effectively flips the scenario from female main character, either supported or opposed by a male law enforcement figure, to a male character standing in opposition to a female sheriff. He also has a mixed relationship with his former best friend who is currently director of security at Braxton college.

Academic Curveball has a very complicated plot. The reader must attend closely to all potential clues as Kellan, assistant director of a TV reality show, evaluates them and follows the leads to discover the murderer in a case that involves secrets of all kinds from romantic to political. He does his amateur sleuthing while trying to reestablish family ties and old friendships, working his primary job, filling in for a murdered professor, and doing some long distance single parenting.

With interesting characters and tangled motives galore, Academic Curveball is set in a college town. His father is the president of the college and his mother is in charge of admissions. A favorite character for most readers will be sassy Nana D whose repartee with Kellan provides humor, but she is lively and sharp and should not be overlooked as fluff. There is a baseball theme along with focuses on politics, both in the town and at the college. Just when you think all the balls have been recovered, there is one last curveball that will surprise you and make you wish January and the publication of the second book in the series, Broken Heart Attack, would come quickly.

I would like to extend my thanks to author James J. Cudney and to Creativia for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series

Publication: October 15, 2018—Creativia

Memorable Lines:

Nana D indicated she’d rather spend an afternoon with her mouth crammed full of lemon wedges, her fingers pricked by a thousand tiny needles, and her feet glued inside a bumblebee’s nest than attend another Braxton event for my father.

It would be an interesting discussion with my father when he graciously stepped off his high horse and spoke to me again.

Wisps of gray shot out in all directions underneath a furry blue hat three-sizes too big on her frail and wrinkled head.


  1. Linda,

    Thank you for this wonderful review, intro and feedback. You covered every possible angle — that’s so helpful! Those lines… oh, Eustacia and that hat. She’s front and center in the next book, so it’s going to be quite a roast. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Love tangled motives! Sounds fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cozynookbks says:

    Looking forward to this one. Excellent review, Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. carhicks says:

    Wonderful review Linda. I enjoyed this one as well. Nana D is one sassy grandma.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good review👵

    Liked by 2 people

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