My blog buddy is back at it again with Book 2 in the Braxton Campus Mysteries and I’m thrilled to be sharing my review today.
When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.
When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.
But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?
Available on Amazon and via Kindle Unlimited
This is Book 2 and can work as a standalone, especially s it is so early in the series. However, there are some ‘situations’ and ‘interesting characters’ that cross from Book 1 into Book 2. I suspect that from Book 2 onwards, you’ll definitely need to read in order.
Let’s start with the mystery. Who killed Gwen? Gwendolyn is the Paddington family matriarch and holds tight reins over the family fortune. It’s a good thing too, as most of that family is incredibly dysfunctional, spoilt, lazy or just too busy thinking about themselves. That cozy bunch provides ample suspects when trying to figure out the true killer.
The clues are dropped from the very beginning, but be careful, there are several red herrings in there too. Every time I thought aha, this one must be the one, my resolution was dashed by compelling evidence against someone else! The motives are all believable. Some of the suspects are unlikable and I couldn’t help but hope it was them. A couple others are just too sweet and I kept my fingers crossed for their innocence.
Speaking of sweet characters, Kellan is back and so is his wife! As if he wasn’t in enough conflict at work with the acerbic, biting, mean-spirited Myriam (hmmmmm… I get the feeling I don’t like her much 😉), he’s got to face-off against his formidable in-laws and their shady dealings. All of this on top of working out his conflicting emotions over Francesca’s return! This book has got some drama!!!
As for Nana D, she’s back in all her dramatic glory and determined to find out who killed her friend. There’s a scene involving Kellan, Nana D and some margaritas…. all I can say is, don’t try to pull the wool over this lady’s eyes. She’ll make you pay!
Now, James provides his readers with a full story and a satisfactory resolution. On the final page, he leaves us with the segue into the next book. So yes, there is a cliffhanger but it does not affect the main story of this book. That said, the cliffhanger is juicy!!! And I can’t wait for Book 3!
I have to admit that I like this instalment more than I liked the first. I think part of that is the author finding his “Cozy Voice”. I look forward to even more improvements as we go along the series and recommend this book to Cozy lovers.
I give this book 4.5/5 whole-hearted espresso shots!
Disclaimer: I was a beta reader for this story. However, these are my honest thoughts on this book.
If you’d like to find out more about the Braxton Campus Mysteries or about author, James J. Cudney, check out his blog over at This Is My Truth Now.