I have been working through this entertaining cosy murder mystery series, featuring young single father, Kellen, who is trying to rebuild his life after his wife’s tragic death. This means moving back to be near his family to get help raising his young daughter and get a job teaching at the local college, though his tendency to trip over dead bodies rather gets in the way of things. See my reviews of Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack and Flower Power Trip.
BLURB: A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff, given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case, back when Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby, and a body, are discovered at the campus, Kellan must investigate the killer’s motive to protect his brother. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton?
REVIEW: It’s been longer than I originally intended, before I became reacquainted with engaging Kellen and his eventful life. It was a delight to jump back into this busy world and get back in touch with not just our rather frayed hero, but many of the other characters that also feature in this charming series. Like many other readers, my personal favourite is Kellan’s feisty grandmother, Nana D, whose peppery comments hide a fierce love for her grandson and his daughter. Now she is local mayor, she is determined to root out any corruption and get things running more smoothly.
However, there are a string of jewellery thefts – and once again, Kellen does his trick of unexpectedly encountering a dead body. Fortunately, his relationship with the local sheriff has now markedly improved, and instead of having to run the gauntlet of her scornful remarks and prickly attitude, she is now prepared to accept his help. So long as it’s on her terms…
Once more, I’m struck at how strong the characterisation is and how very well plotted the mysteries are – both of the jewellery thefts and the murder. And bubbling away in the background is a massive issue that has thrown a shadow over Kellen’s whole life and also very much impacts his daughter’s wellbeing, too. It would have been all too easy for Cudney to have slightly faltered with a loss of momentum, or overlooked a plot hole, while keeping all these narrative arcs moving forward. But his assured, readable writing style rolls the story forward such that I stayed up far later than I’d intended to find out what happened.
The denouement of this one worked particularly well and I thoroughly enjoyed where the story went. Fortunately, I have the next book in this entertaining series already on my ereader – and I won’t be waiting so long before giving myself a treat and tucking into it. Highly recommended for fans of cosy murder mysteries with plenty of plot twists and a cast of likeable characters – though whatever you do, start this series at the beginning – you’ll miss far too much vital backstory and enjoyable shenanigans, otherwise.
I remember when you reviewed the last book, and it sounded like such a fun series. So glad this is a strong entry and that there’s another one on the horizon😁
Thank you, Tammy – I’ve also read the next one. And I believe that Jay is busy on the launch of the sixth book in the series. Which I will definitely be getting!
Thank you so much! Very kind of you.
The post looks amazing. What a wonderful surprise this morning! Thank you very much for being so kind and reading this much in the series. I can’t believe #7 launches in two days. It only began 2.5 years ago.
I will be sharing this all over tonight. I love that you are enjoying Nana D. She is kinda the life of the series. 🙂
Have a wonderful day!
You’re very welcome Jay! Thank you for taking the time to let me know you appreciated my review:)). And I’ve also read the next two and written reviews – though I’ve rather fallen behind on my publishing schedule. So I’m really looking forward to reading the new book!
I will be sure I’ve found and shared them!!! Good luck with publishing. Let me know when you are done so I can check it out.
I will, Jay:)). And that you – I appreciate the offer!
That grandmother delivering peppery comments sounds like the kind of character I enjoy! 🙂
She is a hoot… I hope you’ll give them a chance. They come up for sale or free occasionally via my website. Have a great day!
I think you would. It’s the characters in this series that really makes it ping off the page.
So glad you are still enjoying this series Sarah. I love it and can’t wait to get to the next one. The characters and their interactions are what makes this series stand out for me.
Oh yes, I completely agree. I’ve grown very fond of the Braxton bunch:)).
You’ve made my morning again with such kindness! Thank you so much.
It has been a while since I last read a cozy mystery, but I’ll have to keep this one in mind the next time I’m in the mood for one. It sounds like a fun read and Nana D. sounds like a character I would love. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this series. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Suzanne:). Yes, Jay has a lovely smooth writing style, with plenty of humour – as well as the necessary tension and drama you need in a murder mystery. But it is the strong characters that keep me returning to this engaging series.
Thank you! I think she’s a goal for all of us! 🙂 Thank you for the kind comment.
I need to go back and find out where I left off and continue the series.
Aww, thank you! xoxo hugs
Another series that you continue to enjoy. And I like that cover. Plus, what’s not to love about cosy mysteries.
Thank you, Lynn! That made my day. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.
Oh, it’s been such fun. I am going to be reading more for sure:)).