Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries) by James J. Cudney

Cozy Mystery, 1st in Series
Independently Published (October 14, 2018)

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making Nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed it. My review can be found here: Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney

Character Post Myriam Castle: 

I’m Dr. Myriam Castle, a professor at Braxton College focusing on theater and drama studies. I’m sure you’ve read all about me in that mystery book, Academic Curveball, right? In case you’re curious, I know every play ever written and am often heard quoting from the Bard’s extensive canon of literature. Shakespeare is the Bard for those of you who fail to know the essential facts a person ought to know. There are some writers who deserve our ultimate admiration because they are at the top of their craft. Then there are those who… well… I suppose only time will tell us. I’m talking, of course, about the author, James J. Cudney, who likes to think he has a right to speak for me. I’m currently considering legal action given he never once asked permission to reveal my story to the likes of you.

A quote from a treasured play comes to mind when I think of Cudney: “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Do you know which masterpiece I speak of? Probably not; I’m assuming you, like most of these fools I deal with at the Braxton campus, are all pomp and no substance. I’m sure neither Cudney nor his doppelganger in attitude, Kellan Ayrwick, has a clue either. I’ve been forced to work with him for a few weeks while he’s filling in for a professor who… shall we say… disappeared under mysterious circumstances. I’m not a gossip, so let’s just leave it at that. Have you guessed the play yet? Doubtful. Go look it up, but I’m not waiting for you. I’ve got better things to do with my time… such as prepare for next month’s debut King Lear performance. I oversee the drama department on campus, and I’ve just lost my director. She rudely quit when a very off, off, off-Broadway national tour cast her in their dreary production. Now who will I find to run the next show? At least I know even a dog would be a better fit than any of these fools. I hear Baxter, that author’s shiba inu puppy, might be able to fill in.

I often wonder how it is this campus has been so successful given its president, Wesley Ayrwick, has been as useless as piece of gum stuck your shoe. Honestly, there are few of us who truly earned our positions at this college based on merit. If it were my decision to make, and it soon might be if the right people are making the decision, I’d re-build from the ground up hiring only the most dedicated, brilliant, and savvy women possible. To think someone like Kellan can be forced upon us is tragic. I’m sure women find him easy on the eyes. I’ve heard he’s a terrific father to a six-year-old girl named Emma. And he’s full of chipper banter based on the limited exposure we’ve had to date. I’m assuming he must be adopted, as I’ve met his parents. Wesley and Violet Ayrwick might know how to fool the school’s Board of Trustees, but they certainly haven’t pulled the wool over my eyes. If it seems like I’m complaining about this family, I must admit, I am and I have my reasons. But that’s neither here nor there at the moment.

You are the one who asked to speak to me. Now, tell me, what did you want to know about this book? The author, as I said, might be okay… I need to read a few more of his books before I’ll acknowledge any talent that he’s sharing with us. He’s determined, I’ll give you that much. He’s clever, it’s not the norm for me to spend this much time thinking about a man or his books. Let’s just say… between us for the moment… I’m hoping if I get on Cudney’s good side, I might be able to push Kellan out of these books and become the primary focus. You’d much rather deal with someone like me than him, that’s clearly obvious. Let’s chat in a few days when this blog tour is over… just you and I… and see how we can cut a deal. Sound fair? Excellent. I need to get home now. My other half is cooking dinner tonight. We’re celebrating some news we just received… I’m sure you’ll hear all about it at the end of this book.

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About the Author: James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog
Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)
Braxton Campus Mysteries
Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Social Media Links

Purchase Links: Amazon