Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2) by James J. Cudney..

This is my review for Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2) by James J. Cudney.. and the second in the series that I have read.

I read and reviewed Academic Curveball the first book in the series earlier in the year which I enjoyed and I was looking forward to catching up with Kellan Ayrwick and his family and friends.

About Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2)

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?

My review for Broken Heart Attack.

One of the good things about reading the second book in a series is that you are already up to speed with the main characters. This helps you slip into the story where the last one left off, with a bit of a cliffhanger for the lead character, Kellan Ayrwick, which continues to intrigue throughout this story. We get to know new players in the drama, including the leading family in the town, who have a finger in most pies, including the university and particularly the drama department. Nana D, Kellan’s grandmother has ambitions of her own, but when it comes to friendship, she will leave no stone unturned to find out the cause of her friend’s problems.

Rather she will get Kellan to leave no stone unturned, and in this case it is the suspicious death of the matriach of the Paddington family, who expires in an untimely fashion in the middle of a Shakespeare play. And what things he finds when he does lift some rocks and secrets and lies are abundant.

Add in a fiesty sheriff who likes to play hardball, his former mother-in-law making impossible demands, and a boss who would be delighted to see the back of him, and you have a fast paced mystery with plenty to keep the reader busy.

There were red herrings which is always a good thing in a mystery, nothing worse than identifying the killer in the first chapter… I had my suspicions about a few characters but only discovered my misconceptions in the last chapter of the book. Whilst the case is satisfactorily closed for most people concerned, the author has left some threads for us to follow up in the next book, Flower Power Trip, which I am looking forward to.

I do recommend that you begin with Academic Curveball so that you are up to speed with the cast members and you will then enjoy this next mystery to the full.

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Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

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About James J. Cudney

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 spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website:

What do I do 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 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains 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. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Connect to James J. Cudney

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I hope you have enjoyed my review for Broken Heart Attack and will consider buying and reviewing the book yourselves.. thanks Sally.