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Academic Curveball

(Braxton Campus Mysteries #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  621 ratings  ·  157 reviews
When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, 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. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college's athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father
Paperback, Regular Print, 271 pages
Published October 15th 2018 by Next Chapter
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James Hi! Well, thank you very much. For some reason, Goodreads isn't showing who is asking this question, so it's a surprise to me. I appreciate it and tha…moreHi! Well, thank you very much. For some reason, Goodreads isn't showing who is asking this question, so it's a surprise to me. I appreciate it and thank you for sharing this message. I try to be funny, sometimes it's a fail. :)(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Since this is my own book, I'm not going to write a review. I'm using this space to let you know when there are discounts or marketing promotions, as well as share some thoughts on how the book came to be.

★★★★★ – “I read a lot of murder mystery and whodunit books, and this was one of the best I’ve read in a while. The story is full of twists and turns, and the characters are relatable. If you like cozy mysteries, you should definitely give this series a try.”
★★★★★ – “Fantastic writing an
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars *

Okay, I have to mention the end of this book first! Yes I know, that’s just crazy, but I wanted to say WoW - what an ending, I never saw that coming!

Set in the world of academia, this is the first in the Braxton Campus series. It begins with single dad Kellan Ayrwick returning home on the occasion of his father’s retirement from Braxton college.

When one of the college professor’s is found dead, Kellan finds himself playing the part of amateur sleuth, but he soon discovers that memb
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery, e-book, 2019
Academic Curveball by James Cudney is a 2018 publication.

A clever whodunit!

Widower, and single father, Kellan Ayrwick, has returned home to help his father celebrate his retirement from Braxton College. He is also hoping to connect with a professor at the college regarding a show he is working on. But, before he can speak with her, her body is found in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Concerned that his father may somehow be connected, Kellan tries to determine who would want the professor dead, and w
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, has returned to his hometown to celebrate his father's retirement from Braxton College. But instead of listening to speeches and celebrating, he finds the dead body of a professor at Braxton. Adding into the mix are the hostile message his father has been receiving. Apparently, someone is not happy with the anonymous donations being made to the College's Athletic program. Then a second dead body is found. Kellen always seems to be caught up in ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kellan Ayrwick just got his life back after the death of his wife in an accident when he had to come back to his hometown for his father's incoming retirement. The woman who promised to give some dirt to Kellan and his boss on goings on behind-the-scene in Braxton College ended up being killed before the guy met her. Thus before he knew it Kellan had to teach her classes in the college (having a father still being the President did not hurt him getting the job; to be fair he was forced into volu ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting and entertaining cozy set on a college campus in America. The dialogue was frequently amusing and the whole formed a very pleasant way to pass a Sunday afternoon!

If I had an issue with anything it would be the characters. Why were they all so horrible to each other? At the beginning I thought Kellan's parents were supposed to be cross that he did not come home enough. Watching how they treated him I was surprised he went home at all. That was only a small thing though. Th
Candace Robinson
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I’ve read by Cudney and what I love is how each novel is so different yet each one is equally awesome! Academic Curveball kept me on my toes while I tried to figure out the mystery. I also loved Kellan and reading from his POV! He felt real and completely relatable, which is one of my favorite kind of characters. What you’ll get is plenty of mystery, fantastic writing, and witty dialogue. And that ending seriously has me yearning for book 2!!
Well I can honestly say I wasn't expecting that. This was a brilliantly crafted slightly cozy whodunnit mystery. I know it was obviously set in the USA but change the location to say Lincolnshire or Suffolk in England and it wouldn't have made any difference. Jay, (James) you have written a real corker here.
The characters are interesting and the story is so intricately put together it just zings a long at a fast pace.
I don't usually give out any spoilers but (view spoiler)
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 1-in-series, mystery
She lay dead in the stairwell, the very woman Kellan Ayrwick was to meet with to get the down and dirty on Braxton College, where his father was the retiring head.

Was it the athlete in academic trouble? His coach desperate to have one of his players go professional, putting a feather in his own cap? What about the bitter academic who sees no value in sports? Was it a member of the powerful Ayrwick family, seeking to silence negative press?
Part cozy mystery, part disinterment of the ghosts in eve
Kellan Ayrwick returned home – under sufferance – to join the farewell dinner for his father as he retired from his position at Braxton College, but he was looking forward to catching up again with Nana D. His connection with Nana D was even stronger than to his mother, and his father and he clashed constantly. His sister Eleanor was another person he was looking forward to catching up with, although he would only be there for a few days as he’d left his six-year-old daughter Emma with her mater ...more
Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews
You can read all my review on Blog - Books Teacup and Reviews

Academic Curveball was cozy murder mystery set around Braxton College, Pennsylvania,hometown of main character, Kellan. The book revolved around the Ayerwick family, Braxton college and murder of professor on campus.


Kellan was 32-year-old single father who wanted to start his have his own television show. But returning back to his hometown Braxton changed his life entirely. His sense of humor and unique voice was refreshing
Jina Bazzar
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun, non-stop intriguing book. Kellan is like a dog with a bone – determined and persistent, and he won't let go no matter how many times people tell him to.
When a body is found on campus –the same person he travelled to meet – Kellan is pulled into a tangle of who-did-it; with a lot of sarcasm, suspects, and plenty of murderous reasons to go around.
I honestly had no idea how all the threads would tie at the end, there were so many murderer candidates, I was, like Kellan, trying to fi
Kathi Defranc
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an exciting cozy mystery that gets you involved and keeps you there as you learn of the Ayrwick family, their friends and the city they live in, Braxton! The characters are great and are fully described so they soon feel like your own family. The son, Kellan, is visiting the home for a week,brought there under duress by his sister and parents. He has not been home for awhile, caring for his young daughter after losing his wife in an accident. While home he finds things are normal, with his ...more
Lisa Reynolds
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Academic Curveball (Released October 15th, 2018) is the first book in author James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries series and the third book I have read by the writer following on from his amazing novels Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure.

This book is told from the POV of the protagonist Kellan Ayrwick who is 32 and a single father. He returns home to Pennsylvania following his father’s retirement and finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery (Like you do! J) when he finds not
Martie Nees Record
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Murder Mystery
Publisher: Creativia Publishing House
Pub. Date: Oct. 15, 2018

I just had the pleasure of reading “Academic Curveball.” True to its title, the setting takes place in the world of academia. The novel is filled with multiple spins provoked by murders that may have been the result of the clashing cultures within colleges: educations vs. sports. The author, James J. Cudney, cleverly puts together an often humorous, cozy murder mystery brimming with family drama, action, a twist
Rating: 3.5/5.0

This is the second book I read for James J. Cudney after reading Father Figure. One will look into its gorgeous cover and can't resist but think about those Agatha Christie's beautiful covers. The story here is also a murder mystery. Kellan returns home for his father's retirement party, unfortunately, his return does not turn as uneventful as he was thinking. A dead body is found in the stairwell. He and the others know the identity of the dead! Kellan's adventure starts to revea
I loved this and I can’t wait to read the next one. I’m invested. Nana D is hilarious and so is the MC Kellan. I have a Nana so it is good to see one in a story.
All that dessert talk. My gosh !! I seriously feel the need to bake something or talk someone else into it.
I haven’t read a cozy in a while and this was just perfect to ease me back in to the genre. This was my type of cozy. It was missing a cat but it had pies ! I laughed a lot and loved and appreciated the humor. It was a huge bonus
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the first novels I have ever read as a kid – yeah, you guessed it – a mystery. Add a murder to that mystery, it becomes exciting. Add a dash of sarcasm to that, it becomes humorous. To all this, add another murder, mix it with a number of suspects, and it becomes an unputdownable potboiler of a book which is both thrilling and intriguing.

James J Cudney has done it again, he is quite a maverick. His versatility is well shown in the genres he has chosen to write. From family drama to gentle
TS Chan
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
3.5 stars

This is my first cozy mystery and I finally understood why it's termed as such. It's light and humourous, and has a distinct lack of thrills and spills. There wasn't much suspense as well even though I was kept engaged by the murder mystery. The characters were enjoyable to read about, especially Kellan's grandmother, Nana D. As much as I would love to have a grandma who can cook and bake like that, it'll be the end of any weight control that I could possibly muster. Culinary skills asi
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Things are not what they seem in this debut of the Braxton Campus mystery series!

Kellan Ayrwick is going home for his father's retirement ceremony from the college he's run for the past twenty years. Kellan's boss takes the opportunity to have him meet a woman with information for a true crime show they're working on, but before he can find her there's a murder on campus.

Kellan's dad, Wesley, becomes a prime suspect and Kellan must weave his way through a tangled web of lies and deceit if he wan
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the third book I have read by James Cudney, and this is quite a different book from the other two. There are some similarities, such as a dysfunctional family, but this is a cozy mystery, with some humour. Kellan Ayrwick is a single father following the death of his wife in an accident. He has returned home for his father's retirement celebration as well as to meet and talk to a woman who has a story for the reality television show he works for. The woman, who promised to give some dirt ...more
Mark Baker
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018
Kellan Ayrwick has returned home for a few days to attend a dinner in honor of his father's retirement from Braxton College. While Kellan's there, he is supposed to meet up with a woman who has done some research for the true crime TV show that he works on. However, Kellan gets distracted when, near the end of the dinner, he finds a dead body. The victim was a professor at Braxton. With everything swirling around the at college, Kellan is afraid that someone he loves will be arrested for the cri ...more
The first book is always more introduction and background. So, we have Kellan who lost his wife some time ago and has a young daughter to care for. His father is retiring from the Braxton Campus and there is party thrown in his honor. The night of the party, however, one of the staff members is seen dead at the bottom of a stairway. The funny thing is, that was the woman Kellan was supposed to meet in regards to a second season of a show he is helping with called, Dark Reality.

Yeah, reality just
Doward Wilson
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quirky characters in the academic world made this a fun and entertaining read. The murder plot was well done and lead us to a surprising ending in more than one way! I highly recommend this delightful cozy to anyone who enjoys a good book!
Lili  Marcus
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads, mystery
I LOVED IT. This book really exceeded my expectation. I knew it'll be a good cozy mystery but I wasn't expecting the hilarity of it. Kellan is such a refreshing MC for this genre. :)

I'll post a full review soon (I need to review the first books I've read first. I'm too behind schedule.) but you guys can read my friend's reviews/ like mine, they gave this book 5 stars and their opinions are pretty much what I thought after reading this book.

NORIKO's Review
SHALINI's Review
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts
We meet Kellan Ayrwick, who works on true crime dramas in Hollywood. He has come home to attend his father’s retirement party and meet with a woman who has done some research for an upcoming season on his television show. Near the end of the party, Kellan makes a tragic discovery. One of the professors appears to have fallen to her death down a flight of stairs. Evidence quickly points to murder and the top suspects include people close to Kellan. Kellan is encouraged to do a
S.C. Karakaltsas
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can't recall reading a series and I don’t tend to read a lot of mysteries so I thought I'd better remedy it. I’d seen this book across my social media networks and have read an earlier book by this author, Watching Glass Shatter (see my earlier review

Academic Curveball is the first of the Braxton Campus Mysteries and is set at Braxton College in Pennsylvania. Single father, Kellan Ayrwick returns home to dutifully attend his father’s retirement functio
Brigid Gallagher
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, fiction, mystery
Kellan Ayrwick is 32 year old widower with a six year old daughter, who works on a true crime television series called "Dark Reality." He returns home to Pennsylvania for his father's retirement party at Braxton Campus, where he has also scheduled a meeting with professor Abby Monroe, who has been gathering information on behind the scenes corruption. However, Abby is found dead under suspicious circumstances on the night of the party.
Told in the first person, the story follows Kellan's attempts
N.N. Light
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you like cozy mysteries, you're going to love Academic Curveball. The setting is a college and this is a perfect setting in my opinion. The characters are well-developed and the plot moves at a good pace. I kept trying to guess who did it but was surprised at the ending. Kudos to James J. Cudney for keeping this mystery fan from guessing right. Can't wait to read the next one.

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to be honest – I haven’t read many cozy mysteries, but a small town college setting, the adorable cover, and great reviews drew me to this book.

I immediately liked Kellan. He’s a fairly recent widower with an adorable young daughter who’s trying to do the single dad thing, while also keeping the peace with his in-laws. When he travels to his hometown for his father’s retirement party, it’s clear there’s also friction in his own family. The reader doesn’t have to wait long for the action t
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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 accepted roles working in technology, program management, and business operations in the retail, sports, entertainment, and media industries. Although I enjoy my career, I began to focus on other passions in 201 ...more

Other books in the series

Braxton Campus Mysteries (8 books)
  • Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries #2)
  • Flower Power Trip (Braxton Campus Mysteries #3)
  • Mistaken Identity Crisis (Braxton Campus Mysteries #4)
  • Haunted House Ghost (Braxton Campus Mysteries #5)
  • Frozen Stiff Drink (Braxton Campus Mysteries #6)
  • Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries #7)
  • Sleigh Bell Tower (Braxton Campus Mysteries #8)

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