Published October 1st 2019 by Next Chapter
Synopsis: It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival.
Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing.
While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.
I thoroughly enjoy this series. Kellan Ayrwick is a great protagonist who constantly finds dead bodies and ends up helping to solve the mystery behind the murders. This is the fifth book in the series, and although you can read them as standalone stories, I recommend you read this one in order. There is a lot of character development that happens in each book as well as history that will help you to enjoy these books to the utmost.
As this is a Halloween story, this story has some paranormal added to it, but that is not the case in the other books in the series. I thought it was a nice change for the holiday and was done well. I enjoyed the eccentricities and quirkiness of some of the characters that play a big role in this story. There is a psychic and the town historian that claims to know where all the ghosts in town are. There are a few mysteries in this one involving a skeleton found during library renovations, a missing woman that is presumed dead by most people and who or what is behind the pranks and vandalism at “Grey House”, the home that Kellan has bought and is renovating. The writing is witty, and strong. The story is well-plotted, flowing well to keep the reader interested, and tying all the various storylines together well. This is a complicated story with a lot of clues, twists and characters. You need to pay attention along the way or you will miss something that becomes important. As Kellan begins to unravel the mystery, it is all revealed to the reader and you will be nodding your head along with his actions.
One of the things I like about these books is the family dynamic. With a new family member, Ulan, Kellan’s young cousin coming to live with him, we see another side of many of the characters. I love the banter between Kellan and his family and enjoy his daughter Emma much more in this one. She seems to be more grown up and is not as sarcastic as she was in previous books. As always, Nana D adds humour to the story with her quick wit and sarcasm. This book introduces Kellan’s oldest brother, Hampton, and I do not like him one bit. He is a bit snobbish and thinks he is better than the rest of them. The siblings are so diverse, it adds a lot to the family dynamics. Throw in a Halloween festival, some costumes and food, and it all adds up to a great Halloween story.
The final reveal is well done and came as a surprise to this reader. Just when you think the story is winding down, BAM. there is a cliffhanger. Now I am not a huge lover of cliffhangers as I have to almost reread the previous one to remember what happened, but this one was pretty good. So James, when is the next one coming out? I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Purchase Links – Amazon
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. 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.
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
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 (March 2019)
Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
Websites & Blog:
Next Chapter: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney?rq=cudney