Book Review – Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

My Book Review – Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney.



Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

My Review

Academic Curveball, by James J. Cudney, is the first of six Braxton Campus Mysteries.  I have both the eBook and audiobook. I listened to the audiobook.

The story is told in first person from Kellan Avrwick’s Point of View. Kellan works in Hollywood for the TV show Dark Reality. He returns home for his father’s retirement as the president from Braxton College. He expects to meet with a professor, Abby Monroe, who did some research for the next season of Dark Reality. Toward the end of the retirement party, through Lorraine Candito, his father’s assistant, he finds Abby’s body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Upon the initial examination of the crime scene, Sheriff April Montague declared that Abby was hit in the head before falling down the stairwell.

After Abby’s death, his father asks him to take over Abby’s class. He accepts the invitation to stay longer to do his own investigation. By checking out the grade book in Abby’s office, he discovers a grade change in one student. Over the course of two weeks, he meets with people such as his sister, his nana D, a former Braxton friend Connor Hawkins and other people who give him hints on the suspect. He also runs into Lorraine’s brother, who is Abby’s husband in getting a divorce with Abby, and some male and female students who might be suspect. One evidence even puts his father among the category. Kellan has a way to get people talking and give him information he was seeking.

He reports to his boss Derek and Sheriff Montague on every hint he discovers. In between teaching classes, meeting with people and going to the gym, he visits nana D for delicious desserts.

The story is full of fast-paced twist and turn throughout the chapters. I love mystery, especially murder mystery. I follow every hint and make my guess of the murderer. Even though there are many characters, the author makes every character distinctive so the reader can easily keep track of them and their relationships to other characters. Each character’s action is revealed in a seamless and engaging dialogue. In the end, Kellan cleverly assists the arrest of the least expected murderer. This is a lighthearted read. I highly recommend this book.

Amazon and Goodreads rating


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 began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I wanted to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through words. In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. From there, I wrote another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. Many of my books are available in print, electronic, and audiobook formats, and we are beginning to release foreign language translations. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website:

Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at, I have over 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Contact the Author


Amazon Author Page







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