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Braxton Campus Mysteries #5

Haunted House Ghost

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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.

275 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2019

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About the author

James J. Cudney

20 books3,728 followers
James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in Connecticut, 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 2016: 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. From there, I've written other family dramas and an eight-book mystery series. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have ~1800 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 dogs have segments where they complain 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,728 followers
August 3, 2022
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.

Haunted House Ghost is my seventh novel, also the fifth in the Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The series follows typical cozies in that it doesn't contain graphic violence, sexual content, or vulgar language; however, I've turned the genre upside down by focusing on a young male protagonist who is a single father and relies on his wit, connections, and intelligence to solve crimes, all while he's teaching, working at film company, and trying to keep his eccentric nana under control.

To buy this book, please visit Amazon where it's available for purchase as a Kindle, physical paperback and large print. If you're not convinced yet, check out the blog tour for this book where you can see each blogger's posts with author Q&A, special features, videos, and future release information. You can visit my author page for more details. Thank you for considering my work.
Profile Image for Candace Robinson.
Author 51 books1,036 followers
September 10, 2019
This series is so much fun! And when I saw this title and this cover, I just knew it was going to be my favorite. I'm a huge Halloween fan and would seriously just like this holiday year round! Anyway, now that I'm going off course, let me get to my boy Kellan!

Kellan's life is full of so much drama and I love it! There's a ton of mystery to these stories, but what I like just as much is the family dynamic with the side characters. Kellan's such an awesome dad, and I've always wanted that bond he has with Nana D. Seriously, I want my own Nana D! Also, there is some awesome chemistry between April and Kellan in this one! They need to catch a break!

There was talk about Halloween costumes, food, and an entertaining mystery that needed to be solved! Can I also mention that this book had me at skeleton being found in the library! I literally finished this one in less than 24 hours because I wanted to know what was going on! Andddddddd of course there is a cliffhanger, so that leaves me yearning for the next book! Side note: can there just be a Netflix series on Kellan's mysteries? That would be amazing!
Profile Image for Kathi Defranc.
1,183 reviews468 followers
October 6, 2019
Halloween In The Braxton Campus Is An Adventure With Friends,Ghosts And Criminals

Another fantastic adventure with all our friends who live and work in and around the Braxton Campus. The author continues to expand the lives of all characters, you can not help but feel of several as real friends!
Kellan's life is full of drama, comedy, and lots of love as he works hard teaching classes and trying to keep his daughter, Emma, safe and happy. He is really interested in the new sheriff, April, but incidents happen and they still can't get to a real date!
During renovations to the library on the campus, a skeleton is found! Of course Kellan is involved, and since he bought an old house from the Grey family, there have been many scary scenes with things being moved and new work messed up! So who is haunting his home, could it be this skeleton, as one lady was last seen at the library 50 years ago?!
A fun, intriguing story that will keep you turning pages, laughing, crying and jumping from fear through every twist and bump until the eye-opening ending...When you are Ready For More!!!
A 5 STAR story for any who enjoy a good book.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,478 reviews276 followers
November 1, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kellan Ayrwick is staying in Braxton and has purchased the old Grey House. A big Victorian that is said to be haunted. Kellan doesn’t believe the rumors until some weird things start to happen as the crew finishes up renovations on the main floor. Kellan gets advice from a psychic and the town’s historian to learn more about the Grey’s family history. He finds himself a rich old mystery to delve into.

Braxton is also having a Halloween festival complete with haunted hayrides and the college is making way for a new library wing. When one of the buildings is demolished to open space a skeleton is discovered in the debris. The timing is peculiar but many believe the skeleton and Kellan’s “ghost” are connected. As the festival draws near Kellan is on the trail for answers and the truth. But he puts himself in peril as he starts to put the clues together.

I have read each book in this series and each one tops the last. This time the author includes a cast list which I just glanced at as I started reading but soon I was very thankful for that list. While my favorite characters from previous books returned readers are introduced to a vast number of new characters that connect to others, sometimes in a myriad of ways.

What I really enjoy about these stories in the family dynamics at play. Kellen has had a lot of drama in his life but he is working hard to provide a stable home for his daughter. He is trying to move his personal life forward too and I loved the new beginnings of romance in his life but I don’t believe his past love is totally behind him. They will always be connected by their daughter and that leaves a door open for plenty of drama. The Ayrwich family continues to be revealed and evolve as the series continues. Nana D. continues to be my fave.

Again, the mystery is complex and filled with twists on top of twists. A skeleton, a missing woman, a ghost . . . at times I thought I should have a flowchart just to keep track of all the players and their deeds, but Mr.Cudney does an excellent job of keeping readers on track and in the know. He also lets humor shine in all the right places. The book has a complicated and intricate plot that will keep readers on their toes. Several times I slowed down my reading so I didn’t miss a single clue. I still was unable to solve this one totally without everything spelled out. While the mystery is wrapped up at the end of the book Cudney again sets up another cliffhanger.

Haunted House Ghost is a perfect Halloween read with such a touch of paranormal. It is well-plotted and hard to put down. I found the entire story fascinating.

Now, I find myself tapping my foot waiting for the next Braxton College Mystery. The sneak peek at the end of the book was just unfair. Mr. Cudney, please finish it up soon!
Profile Image for Shalini (shaliniandbooks).
2,523 reviews208 followers
September 9, 2019
"I went to the Land of Braxton
Met up with Kellan and Ulan
A cousin from Africa he was
Wanted to move to New house
But a ghost haunted that place
A skeleton was found in old library space
A confession, an attack on the side
A new murder too on the hayride
Who was the victim no one knew
The suspects were old but still new
Father and son were present
Ex and new, old and psychic were sent
A priest and his family were shaken
Kellan and April, their time was taken
A breakthrough occurred in Kellan's mind
He showed James J Cudney is one of a kind."

The magician has done it again. A brilliant whodunit!! James J Cudney brought out a pack of cards from his top hat and constructed a house so deeply layered that the clues were hidden in the sleight of his hand.

Brilliant in his writing, it all started with a nightmare, the words had a haunting smoothness to it. If you listened carefully, you would hear the grim reaper with the scythe.

I have never seen autumn and Halloween in real life, the author made them come alive for me with the power of his writing. Red herrings were placed strategically amongst the orange pumpkins and the Halloween props. They blended in so smoothly that guessing the killer was beyond me.

The old characters returned, romance between Sheriff April and Kellan had its sexy moments before a skeleton and murder rudely interrupted them. The plotline had many twists as this author's books often do, and the finale was a perfect amalgamation of real and unreal.

I repeat - a fun whodunit with shades of autumn, Halloween, and ghostly sightings.
Profile Image for SA Krishnan.
Author 35 books175 followers
November 2, 2021
Lovely Halloween mystery

Kellan is back and this time he is moving to a new house because of something that Nana D has done. It connects up to the skeleton in the library and naturally Kellan is in between it all. Between loads of fun, his work at keeping Emma safe, his relationship with April, the sheriff, is lovely and beautiful.

The scary scenes in between also added up to the horror element in the story and made a perfectly enjoyable read. 

The mystery and intrigue of Halloween as he tries to figure out the haunting ghost was thoroughly enjoyable. Lovely read.
Profile Image for Shelle Perry.
483 reviews30 followers
September 26, 2020
Don’t let the cutesy retro cover of this book fool you. What lies within is a good old fashioned Who-Dunnit, with scads of suspects, copious leads, and more twists and turns than a Halloween corn maze. So not a cookie-cutter cozy.

I am new to the Braxton Campus Series, but after reading this book, I cannot wait to go back and fill in the bits of the stories I have missed out on. Seriously, it has all the hallmarks of a great detective television show, thanks in part to some well-written characters that leap off the page. I wasn’t sure if I should fear Nana D or laugh at her shenanigans. Kellen’s siblings are such bold strokes of color, they almost take the story over in a whole new readable direction and the local citizenry is funny and abrasive and totally real.

I truly enjoy Kellan Ayrwick, “The Unlikely Death Locator.” When your almost girlfriend gives you a nickname like that you have to be something different. Not your typical cozy sleuth, Kellen is in his early thirties with a young daughter, a former Hollywood director turned college professor, and well, he’s a man. One doesn’t see that often enough in the genre. He has got a lot on his plate with raising his daughter and teen cousin while juggling his teaching job and keeping his never pleased boss happy while trying to find a way to turn his hot flirtation with the county sheriff into an actual relationship. It would be a lot easier if he could finish the renovations on his new home and just get the family settled in. Trouble is the house seems to be haunted and the alleged ghost doesn’t want him there making changes to the house.

When Kellen lives up to his nickname and finds a 50-year-old skeleton that might be connected to the history of his house, he finds out that “whodunnit?” is just the first question that needs answering and Braxton is just full of skeletons, the kind that hangs out in closets.

This book reads beautifully as a stand-alone, but it is its own advertisement for reading the rest of the series. I don’t have a lot of favorite authors, but James J. Cudney may just have made the list.

I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Jacquie.
Author 93 books884 followers
October 15, 2019
Kellan Ayrwick has a new house, but it comes with a few surprises!

Kellan is busy renovating his new home–though pranksters keep vandalizing the space–planning the fall festival, and creating a stable life for his daughter and young cousin.

When a skeleton is found during the demolition of the Memorial library, the town speculates whether it is the long lost mistress of Kellan’s new home and Kellan wonders if he’s found his ghost.

A series of suspicious accidents sends Kellan on a search for the truth, but a killer has a few plans of their own.

The author did a fantastic job of world-building in this series (each can easily be read as a standalone), creating a memorable cast of characters, some who are rather eccentric!

Favorite lines
You always remembered your real first kiss, but it’s rare when the intensity blindsided your ability to think straight.

Cudney, James J.. Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 5) . Gumshoe Books – A Next Chapter Imprint. Kindle Edition.

And just like that, my hopes for a future free of spooks and murders, along with any residual sanity, splattered on the floor.

Cudney, James J.. Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 5) . Gumshoe Books – A Next Chapter Imprint. Kindle Edition.

My patience had worn thinner than a dryer sheet.

Cudney, James J.. Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 5) . Gumshoe Books – A Next Chapter Imprint. Kindle Edition.

I can relate with that last one!

If you like strong family dynamics, relatable characters, and whodunits that keep you guessing, try Braxton Campus Mysteries today!

I give Haunted House Ghost 5 spooky kisses- a fun read!
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews55 followers
November 3, 2019
I have read the previous books and found them clever and action packed. The 5th edition continues in the same vein. At first I had trouble getting into the story as the author introduced many new characters making the narrative difficult to read as you try orient yourself to connect all the characters. I felt the story was too busy at times. I forgot trying understand the characters, after I forgot the relationships and just read I had no problems.

Kellen Ayrwick agree to take a young cousin into his household while the boy's father is overseas. His cottage is too small so he buys and old Victorian house that has been vacant for long. The house is believe to be haunted. Braxton college is rebuilding it library and decided to implode the library. A complete skeleton is found in the rubble. The story takes a number of twists and turns as Kellen tried to understand the genealogy of two families that lived in the house. The interactions between Sheriff April and Kellen are intriguing and often funny. The skeleton identification is important who was he/she?
Profile Image for Melanie Mole.
Author 13 books32 followers
July 1, 2020
What do remodelling a house, The Fall Festival, Nana D's wonderful baking, threatening messages on your own basement door, being told that there are no such things as ghosts when you know very well that there are, a mafia princess, being back at Braxton, a venomous cad, Madame Zenya at St. Mary's and the Grey's all have to do with it?
Well. if you read this wonderfully written book by James J Cudney then you will find out.
As with his other books, here, James Cudney has written another classy cozy mystery book which kept me riveted to the spot throughout. The characters were believable, fun, serious at times, intriguing and so much more.
The story was one which kept giving, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you for another wonderful read James.
Profile Image for E. Billups.
Author 23 books106 followers
January 13, 2022
Haunted House Ghost is the fifth book I’ve read in James Cudney��s Braxton Campus Mysteries Series. This one, I must confess, was right up my alley. With a haunted house, unearthed skeleton, family secrets, and a persistent amateur sleuth all revolving around the Halloween season, you can’t go wrong.

Again, the author introduces new characters (members of the Grey Family) into the regular dramatis personae. Kellan, now an ensconced member at Braxton, and an amateur sleuth with several murder mysteries under his belt, is now the owner of the county's most haunted homes. Yet again, he’s the center of a murder mystery when a fifty-year-old skeleton materializes at the new Memorial Library construction site. Many believe it’s Prudence Grey, the previous owner of Kellan’s new home, who went missing years ago. When strange things happen around the house, they think it’s Prudence Grey’s ghost or someone trying to scare Kellan away from the property.

Kellan puts on his sleuthing hat and whittles a list of potential suspects down to the most likely assailant. As Kellan closes in on the Grey family mystery, someone else meets a grisly fate during the annual hayride. With his new girlfriend, Sheriff April Montague, they devise a plan to snare the killer. For me, this wasn’t an easy murder mystery to figure out, a true sign of excellent writing. Positive I’d guessed the killer amongst the Grey family, I was surprised to learn the real culprit at the end.

This cozy mystery is a page-turner that kept me guessing. I was also thrilled to see the progression of Kellan and April's relationship and was eager to see more romance. Maybe in the next book. There’s a definite growth in Kellan as a father and overall man. I enjoyed this story, and I'm eager to read book 6 of the series.
Profile Image for Bernard Jan.
Author 10 books214 followers
October 23, 2019
The title says it best: you have a haunted house; you have a ghost. But you also have Halloween, the Fall Festival, a murder, a killer, and a 50-year-old skeleton. What more do we need to get intrigued and dive into this macabre story!

Haunted House Ghost is a cozy mystery novel finely dosed with excitement, expectation, curiosity, and humor. James J. Cudney has created a true holiday atmosphere and charismatic and funny characters we love more and more as the popular series develops. In the fifth book in Braxton Campus Mysteries, he raised the ladder even higher. How far he will go? Only the sky’s the limit!


My reviews of Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis.

Follow me on Twitter.

Bernard Jan
Profile Image for Misifusa.
23 reviews
March 21, 2020
Kellan is at it again, only this time author James Cudney steps into the paranormal and gives the mystery a Halloween scary vibe! It works amazingly! As I've written before, the main characters are fleshed out so that we feel as if we know them and the other characters whom Cudney brings in are well described by word and deed so we know who they are too. I love that type of book that makes you feel towards the characters and laugh or cry with them because they're like family now.

A word of warning though and I don't think I have said this before, but picking up one of the books in the Braxton series is dangerous. They are like potato chips...you can't eat/read just one because you keep wanting more!

Lucky for me, the latest one just arrived! Whew! You know where I'll be this afternoon? Sipping a beverage and reading!
Profile Image for Julie.
156 reviews17 followers
October 12, 2019
Whoa! I think my head is still spinning from attempting to keep up with the sprawling cast of characters in HAUNTED HOUSE GHOST! I'm very grateful to Cudney for including a character list at the beginning of his book that I actually had to reference several times, but even that wasn't truly enough-- at one point I thought I had better start drawing family trees to try and understand everyone's intricate connection to one another! For me, the enormous amount of characters slowed the flow of the narrative as I frequently paused and thought, "Now, who's that character again?" When I read in the author's bio that Cudney is an avid genealogist, I wasn't surprised at all; his love for that facet of history is very apparent considering the complex web of relationships that his characters exist within. When I finally decided to stop obsessing with keeping up with the who's who of Braxton, I found the story much more enjoyable and entertaining. Even so, because I did get so worn out with trying to remember all the characters, I didn't end up playing along with Kellan as much as I normally would have in his attempts to solve the mystery of his potentially haunted house and not just one but two murders.

Stepping away from my character list soap box, however, I really did enjoy the endearing relationships within the book, and I found Kellan to be both charming and quirky. Hands down, though, Nana D was my favorite character-- I loved her spunk and sass! And Cudney really is a talented writer who has way with words. I definitely plan to return to Braxton County again soon to read more about Kellan's adventures.
Profile Image for M.N. Cox.
Author 1 book53 followers
September 27, 2022
At about four percent in I realised that the main protagonist was male. I'm not used to reading cosies without the usual female main, so I was curious and it turned out to be a great thing. Kellan is a sincere, fun and likeable guy. He's a single father too, so this book series offers something of a difference.

Something I found difficult was the number of characters. Now, I have come in on the fifth book in Cudney's series ‘The Braxton Campus Mysteries’, so I didn't have the benefit of what, I assume, would be characters introduced more gradually. That might have helped. To his credit, Cudney offered a list of the characters at the start of the novel. It also included how they are related to each other.

I enjoyed the lovely descriptions of small-town life. Little things like the smell of roast chestnuts and hot chocolate, which the university cafeteria was serving for those watching the library demolition, were delightful. Even the way the library demolition felt like a town event - these are things I love in cosies!

Overall this was a fun Halloween-themed cosy mystery. It was “classic” in many ways but with a few points of difference that worked for me, plus plenty of likeable characters that I could get behind.
Profile Image for Carla.
6,135 reviews136 followers
October 16, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Amber Garabrandt.
808 reviews37 followers
October 30, 2019
Fall is in the air and it's time for the annual Fall Festival!  Haunted hay rides, corn mazes, and a renowned psychic.  Kellen is roped into helping out with the festivities by his overbearing nana/mayor.

At the same time, he's helping his daughter cope with her no-longer-dead mother, his nephew integrate into school and life away from his elephant-saving father, and getting a fifty year old house habitable.  Strange things are going down with the construction crew, though.  Missing/ moved tools and threatening messages.

When the old library's demolition unearths a fifty year old corpse, Kellen is pulled into investigating, if only to be sure that the body isn't wife of the man that sold him the house, negating the sale.  What happens, though, if the truth wants to stay buried?

I love this series for a lot of different reasons.  It moves fluidly from one book to the next, like one long story.  That said, you could still start anywhere in the series and get a great story.  The characters are wonderful, and their relationships are constantly growing.  It really is a fun, vibrant community that you get to revisit over and over again.

The plots are always a bit outlandish, but in the very best way.  It's a fantastically fun, quick, adventure.  In this specific book, I especially  enjoyed the budding relationship between April and Kellen.  It's sweet and authentic, I felt like it added a lot of charm to the story.  Discovering pieces of everyone's past was also really interesting.  I feel like this series embodies the best parts of a cozy mystery.  The drama, the mystery, the deception.... all cut with humor and charm.  It's never too dark, too heavy... it's more light and ...well... cozy.  For me, this is a four star book.

On the adult content scale, there's some language and violence.  There wasn't anything too over the top, and I would still hand this book to my niece.  Let's give it a three.

The book is out.  Have you read it?
Profile Image for Lisa Diaz Meyer.
Author 7 books124 followers
December 30, 2019
They say ghosts will haunt a house during renovations and that’s exactly what Kellan Ayrwick discovers after a series of strange happenings at his newly acquired home. But is it a ghost or is someone playing games with the heroic professor? After a skeleton in a library closet is unearthed, he is desperate to collect every clue he can. This marvelous mystery brought to us by James J. Cudney, is the latest in his Braxton mysteries. Picture fall, a college campus town and a slew of quirky, lovable characters as they try to solve a 50 year old mystery that some would rather it remain unsolved. The story is beautifully written, one can practically taste, see and smell this Halloween tale in all it’s autumn glory, the descriptions are just that vivid. If you love cozies, October and fun characters, then this is for you. 5 out of 5 stars for this meticulous mystery!
Profile Image for Lghiggins.
807 reviews9 followers
March 1, 2020
For readers who enjoy a complex mystery, I recommend Haunted House Ghost for a plot that is intricate and convoluted, but in the best possible way. Author James J. Cudney takes plot complexities to a whole new level with family relationships taking center stage as past and current marriages and paternity issues come to light when victim remains from cold murder cases are discovered.

Murder and intrigue play out in the setting of a haunted house that the main character Kellan is trying to restore as a home for his growing family. Weird sightings, threatening messages, and a locked basement set the stage for a ghostly mystery. Is a ghost actually haunting the house? Is Madam Zenya really a psychic medium? In true Agatha Christie style, the main players in the mystery are gathered to force the truth to emerge.

There are so many surprises in Haunted House Ghost that I watched in amazement as the mystery developed. Fortunately, the author helps with a recap of possible suspects and motives as Kellan meets with the sheriff (his girlfriend April) and the case detective (his best friend Connor) to convince them to try his clever idea to force the murderer into the open. The murderer’s identity is surprising and unpredictable as are the final pages that make the perfect setup for the next book in the series.
Profile Image for K.D. Dowdall.
Author 4 books60 followers
October 19, 2019
A Book Review of Haunted House Ghost by James J. Cudney IV
James J. Cudney IV’s captivating mystery, The Haunted House Ghost is the 5th book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series. The novel itself is a marvel of intricacy, very much like a corn maze, with dead-end paths just when you think you know who the murderer is and it leaves you guessing, and you forge ahead as the Protagonist, Professor Kellan continues to forge ahead to unravel the 50 year old mystery. Beyond the mystery are unique personalities that you get to know like family.
A fascinating aspect is that the writer deftly combines 50 years of mystery about the one murder discovered after 50 years, that brings new mysteries to be solved and solved they will be. Kellan, the brilliant one or so his grandmother Nana D. refers to him, is a very dedicated amateur sleuth that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together in very ingenious ways.
Imagine that it is approaching Halloween night in Braxton, Pennsylvania and you have just purchased a historical home with a storied history of a beautiful young woman named Prudence, who was married to Judge Hiram Grey. Prudence is said to have disappeared 50 years ago during the fiery Vietnam War Protest at Braxton Campus that damaged the oldest part of the Campus Library.
You are told that Prudence haunts her family’s ancestral home that was built before the Civil War in America, but you just shrug your shoulders because you don’t believe in ghosts, until suddenly you do.
Imagine in that same small town of Braxton, Pennsylvania, a young male Army veteran just home from the war, named Ian, disappears on the same day during the fiery episode of the Vietnam War Protest in front of the College. Therein lies the heart of the mystery, but that mystery just opens up Pandora’s box to reveal hidden crimes of money, betrayal, love, and revenge that appears to have rattled the bones of everyone in town.
Imagine it is now the present day and the Board of Directors at the Braxton Campus decides to tear down the oldest part of the Library as they wish to upgrade the College Campus into a University. During the demolition of the more than 100 year old structure of the oldest part of the Library, it was a shock to find the bones of a human being with brutal injuries suggesting a murder had taken place 50 years ago in the Library.
The town’s older generation wonders, could it be Prudence or some other poor soul? Many people remember Ian, whose wife to this day is full of grief at the loss of her husband. Did he abandoned her when he was discharged from the Army or did he really make it back home and is it his bones at the bottom of the now hollow hole?
Professor Kellan, the grandson of a longtime resident of the small town of Braxton, Pennsylvania, Nana D., finds himself in the center of this mystery as he actually bought the Civil War era haunted manor.
Professor Kellan being an amateur sleuth, knew he had to find out the truth. He manages to convince April, the town’s new sheriff, to help with his informal investigation when they become aware of the strong chemistry between them. They both aim to discover who the bones belong to and who is the murderer. Kellan devises a plan to research and dig up the ugly truth, so that he and his daughter Emma may live there without being haunted in their newly renovated home that may still belong to the disappeared Prudence. Kellan decides to get the help of a psychic medium who warns him of the danger he is in.
During all of this upheaval the Halloween Festival must go on with horse drawn carriages, haunted hayrides, and the race through the spooky corn maze. Everyone was enjoying the Festival when out of the dark, something spooks the horse drawn carriage causing deadly damage to two people, Professor Kellan knows that this was no accident.
This brilliantly conceived mystery, Haunted House Ghost, is a superb story that is thrilling, captivating, fascinating, and a very satisfying read that surprises you when you least expect to be surprised. The kind of thrilling mystery that you will want to read again and again. 5 stars

James J. Cudney IV

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Profile Image for Didi Oviatt.
Author 29 books191 followers
January 20, 2020
Whew, I’m officially caught up on all the happenings at Wharton county! And, just in time for the next book in the series to be released. I’m also officially on the list of fans who would LOVE to see this series played out in a TV drama series. Talk about thought provoking and unguessable twists in each and every book. I’ve even found myself dreaming up what actors would play who’s parts. For me, that’s rare! One thing that I love about Braxton campus is that every single book is packed to the brim with well rounded dynamics. There’s family bonds, feuds and speculations. There’s scandals, shocks, secrets, and of course -- dun, dun, dun -- mysterious death around every corner.
Haunted House Ghost delivered all of these qualities and MORE. You see, Kellan is somewhat used to stumbling across freshly murdered people (I mean as used to something like that as any regular person can be. It's clearly a shock every time!) but what he’s new to, is finding old ones.
Cold case mysteries are a whole different flavor of cookie to crack, but what’s worse, can the bones uncovered beneath the campus library be tied to all of the odd goings on at the home he’d just purchased?
Kellan is a family man. He’s an amazing father to Emma who is now seven. We’ve watched her grow throughout the books. She’s one of my favorite characters. He’s also now raising a teenager, thanks to the tenacious Nana D who volunteered him for the temporary task. Nana D has eased into her job as Mayor which gives her a bit more insight on the happenings at Wharton county. This ultimately helps Kellan in solving the complicated and twisty crime that may have happened nearly 50 years prior yet still bleeds into the present.
Kellan bought a house that is supposedly haunted, but the problem with that is Kellan doesn’t necessarily believe a true blue haunting to be the case. He feels like there is more to his house drama than a ghost. There’s a reason he’s being stalked and threatened in his own home, and he’s determined to find the tie between his house, and the skeleton found while renovating the library on campus. There are too many coincidences that tie into the infamous county judge Mr. Grey, as well as the family of his first wife who went missing the same year that the skeletons origins rooted back too.
Another awesome aspect about Haunted House Ghost that really sets it apart from the previous Braxton Campus books is the blossoming romance between Kellan and April, the county sheriff. Because he’s still working out the kinks of his estranged wife, Kellan is trying his best to take it slow with April. Which isn’t a hard thing to do, despite their eminent pull to one another, because time is of the essence and quite frankly neither of them have any. Every time they’re able to catch a few moments of privacy they’re interrupted, which really feeds to the build up of their relationship. I can’t wait to see where James J. Cudney will take this relationship in book 6! Hands down, another 5 stars! Way to keep the mysteries one of a kind James, I’m holding my breath for book 6!!
Profile Image for Stanley McShane.
Author 10 books44 followers
October 14, 2019
Although this is the fifth in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Haunted House Ghost works fine as a standalone and this one is particularly unique.

April and Connor figure prominently again as the local detectives, with April becoming a romantic interest. Kellan has a large family unit, most notably Saraphina Danby, better known as Nana D and recently elected mayor, as well as daughter Emma. Kellan now functions as a college professor.

This entry to the series has Kellan finishing renovation of an old Victorian, the Grey House, which has been standing empty a long time. Any new occupant left quickly due to the possible paranormal activity in the house and it isn't long before Kellan begins to experience disturbing and unexplained occurrences as well.

Also occurring at the same time, the implosion of the old wing at the library in the process of being replaced exposing a human skeleton.

Now, as you might expect from this author, things begin to get complicated. The town is in the process of celebrating Halloween with all manner of planned activities and excitement, lending the perfect autumnal feel to the narrative while multi-layers begin to complicate an already complex and well-plotted storyline.

Twists, red herrings, characters in and out of suspicion as Kellan attempts to herd his youngsters, plan his lessons, and ferret out leads of persons to interrogate (that is, interview) in his quest to find answers to multiple questions. You can guess the perp, but you probably won't be right, and there is the question of the ghost in his house as well. This is more of a serious mystery than a cozy. I'm on the fence with April being a romantic interest and this particular novel ended in a huge cliffhanger.

I was given this digital download by the author and publisher for this blog review stop and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. You'll appreciate the intelligent and complex storyline.

See my full review at https://rosepointpublishing.com/2019/...
Profile Image for Mary Deal.
Author 28 books123 followers
October 3, 2019
A Ghost, Halloween Festival, and Secrets Long Buried Exposed

I’ve gone over the previous stories in this series while looking at the map included in this book and placed everyone and all the action in the various locations. The list of characters and how they relate in the story is a great idea too. The map and list of characters creates a great foundation.

As the story progresses, Cudney continues to build the personalities of his characters, their interactions among themselves, their lives, and how they tie to Braxton Campus. Through all of Cudney’s stories, his humor rings true.

It’s Halloween and once again, Kellan finds himself investigating a murder. First, we learn Kellan had purchased the Old Grey House that is supposedly haunted. But are they rumors or is it really occupied by one or more ghosts of residents past? This story and its surprising and unsettling twists can be classified as light horror. It’s a perfect plot with a Halloween setting.

As Kellan renovates the old home and moves in, secrets about the house, its past residents, and even the relatives are laid bare. A skeleton is discovered buried in the Memorial Library wing of Braxton Campus as the burned out Library is being renovated and rebuilt after a devastating fire. Are those remains tied to the ghost of the Grey House with its disturbing historical past? So many threads tie to the remains.
Profile Image for Balroop Singh.
Author 11 books64 followers
November 7, 2019
I avoid the stories that haunt, ghosts have never been my favorite characters yet Haunted House Ghost beckoned me because I have been following Braxton Campus series that coruscate with delightful mysteries, well-crafted characters and witty dialogue. Spooky imagery sets the tone with a meticulous choice of words right in the beginning, easing a little as the book progresses.

The plot is so intertwined with present and past connections that you have to be alert all the time. A plethora of characters that James keeps excavating demand an extra effort. This book is not an easy read but is a harmonious blend of conjectures, judgments and investigations about who is haunting the house and why. The story is muddled with too many webs with one string attached to the Fall festival, another to relationships and bizarre ideas of a psychic but the magnificent revelations are worth all the effort!

My expectations have been rising with each book and Cudney never disappoints. His style has been improving but I must mention that some unnecessary details could have been eliminated to keep the flow, which is hampered by many POVs, repetition of Kellan’s family details; his routine and then cramming in the demeanor problems of Ulan. Too much description doubts the imagination of the reader. Probably an incisive editing could make this book an unparalleled sensation. It deserves five stars despite all those issues.
1,266 reviews12 followers
December 26, 2019
Another cute one

I love this series. I love the characters and the setting. This is a fun addition to the group. I will say that the story was kind of convoluted, but fun nonetheless. A nice little break for my brain.
Profile Image for Peter Adams.
Author 7 books23 followers
August 3, 2020
Haunted House Ghost: Book 5 in the Braxton Campus Mysteries
by James J. Cudney
A review by Pete Adams

I love this series and Book 5 does not disappoint.

Ordinarily I would not pick up a Ghostie, Ghoulies book; it’s not my thing, but my trust in this accomplished author was rewarded with a brilliantly complex, whodidwhat and then whatwasdone and, if anything actually wasdone, whodunit?
I have read all the series so far and come to thoroughly enjoy the characters and how they react in this small Pennsylvania, USA, college community. I once described the books as Agatha Christie on speed and this was right up there with a pace that enhancedthe complex narrative. There are also underlying and continuing storylines that leave me wanting to learn more – it is as if I live there and I am involved and, there can be no better tribute to an author than that.
Our central protagonist, Kellen Ayrwick, college professor and amateur sleuth, has purchased an historic house with a serious rep and when he begins remodelling and restoration, he is faced with a series of malicious spooky events. In the meantime, the campus library is to be rebuilt, for the second time in its history, the first following a disastrous fire 50 years ago. The old building is demolished and a skeleton is found in the basement; does this solve the disappearance of the house owner? No plot spoilers but skeletons, in what turns out to be a massive basement cupboard, start falling out during the annual Halloween celebrations; Kellen pitches in assisting the enigmatic sheriff to solve the mysteries as they accumulate.
What I like is the organic growth of my involvement in the characters through the series, even the not so nice ones, and this contributes to my immense enjoyment of the twists and turns, the highs, the lows, and the darn right funny; stand-by, the feisty Nana D continues rollicking through the town as the newly elected mayor and she appoints our protagonist, Kellen, her grandson, to the Halloween coordinating committee; predictable sparks fly. In the meantime, the smouldering romantic tension between Kellen and April, the town sheriff is approaching fever pitch? What is there not to love?
5 stars and a big recommendation from me for the whole series – I have bought book 6 already and looking forward to a cosy crime riddled read amongst characters I have grown to love.

Profile Image for Michael Stern.
Author 28 books67 followers
July 11, 2021
Marvelous Mystery
"Haunted House Ghost" by James J. Cudney is the fifth book of the Braxton Campus mystery series, and I've read the first five. To call this a cozy mystery is a misnomer. Braxton is a college town, in a small, historic village, with families that have lived there for generations. Amateur sleuth Kellan Ayrwick is both a professor at the school, and a member of one of those families. For a small town, mysterious deaths seem to follow him and the fun of the read is watching Kellan investigate. The intrigue is this edition is discovery of skeletal remains of what may be someone who disappeared fifty years in the past. Figuring out who it is and how they got there and who may have been the killer keeps Haunted House Ghost a page-turner. I've tried to see a pattern in each of these books to help find the culprit. Nope. Twists and surprises are all part of the enjoyment, so jump on board. You'll be glad you took the ride.
Profile Image for Mitch Reynolds.
Author 40 books40 followers
October 28, 2019
Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (2019) is the fifth book in author James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries series.

Previously I have read the first two books in this series but when I came to continuing with this series, I couldn’t help skipping ahead to this book with the season of Halloween that is in it but I plan to return to books three and four in the future.

In this outing, the protagonist of the series Kellan finds himself with a Halloween-themed mystery on his hands after he moves into a new house which has a very spooky and mysterious history. The mystery dates back fifty years and it feels like the ghost of Prudence Grey might be haunting the house since then. But whoever is responsible for her death it seems may still be living in the town of Braxton where they have spent the last fifty years literally getting away with murder. Soon Prudence’s skeleton is found and a confession quickly is offered by a member of the community. But is all quite as it seems?

The mystery side of this story is great with numerous twists and turns which keep you turning the pages. I didn’t work out the mysterious murderer so that’s always something great for mysteries. The author fantastically put in many red herrings to push the reader off the scent of the real killer which always makes for a fun read. The book had a very Agatha Christie feel to it especially the gathering of the suspects at the end for the big reveal and the use of acting out the paranormal which as a major Agatha Christie fan I enjoyed reading in a contemporary book. Kellan’s grandmother Nana D was back. She is one amazingly fierce, honest, cool woman and I love her and seeing what she is getting up now is always a highlight for me in this series. Very fond of her indeed. Constance is a new character I met and I liked her too so I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on in future books. It was also great to read the romantic element to the story and a joy to finally see Kellan and April together. I think they fit together wonderfully and am also looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses in books to come.There was also a lot more of Kellan’s young daughter Emma’s personality showing through in this book and she seems a cool, strong, caring young girl. There was also many references to Halloween which was cool as it’s one of my favourite seasons.

All in all this is a great Halloween read and a great catch-up with all the gang. Completely holds your interest throughout. There is a great array of suspects and investigators and a really strong plot with no loopholes.

A joy to read and perfect for Halloween.
316 reviews4 followers
October 1, 2019
This season we are back with Kellan as he’s once again pulled in a million different directions what with parenting not only Emma but his cousin as well, along with teaching, other family obligations with Nana D, Violet, Eleanor, etc., and being co-chair of a Halloween/Fall Festival being held at Danby Landing, all while trying to complete fixing up his newold house so they can move in. But all is not smooth sailing for the Ayrwick family as strange things have been happening during the renovation process. Conveniently, Gabriel has been away so they’ve been able to stay in the cottage. And the possibility that these things are being caused by the supernatural causes Kellan (though he doesn’t believe) to agree that Eleanor can contact her psychic friend Madam Zenya to see if she can help.

The renovations for the Braxton Campus library also get underway in this book but those are put on hold when during the demolition a body is discovered in the foundation. So now Kellan feels compelled to investigate that situation as well.

I quite enjoyed reading this story, and it’s always good to catch up with my friends in Braxton. I also often emulate Nana D, as I also bake pie the first weekend of October. And I think this story has just enough suspense and mystery and humour and just Fall fun to make it the perfect read to curl up with on a cool Autumn night, along with a blanket and a hot chocolate.
Profile Image for Fee (Ebook Addicts).
1,413 reviews43 followers
October 11, 2019
This may be the fifth book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries series, but I felt right at home with the characters from the beginning. The who's who at the start was very helpful indeed, since this book had a whole host of characters, I initially felt overwhelmed reading that but soon discovered the book would narrow them down and we would only dealing with a select few -phew!

Our main character Kellen has bought and is renovation the Old Grey House which just so happens to be haunted, or is it....? No only do we have ghosts, but there is skeletons, murder and mystery afoot for our Professor. The story flowed well and had me reading into the wee hours of the night(or rather morning) and just when I thought I had the culprit in my sights Cudney made me doubt my choice on several times I might add, and when the reveal did happen I never saw it coming nor was I expecting the cliffhanger!!! 

This was a great Halloween centred cozy mystery, and I cant wait to go back an read all of Kellen's past adventures.

5 stars
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