When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance?
Kellan’s back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright?
I was super excited to read this book for two reasons. Reason 1: Come on! Who would want to miss reading James’ book?? Reason 2: my first beta read!
If you haven’t read the first book in the Braxton Campus series then I recommend you to do so… like ASAP! For those who have read the first book, you would know that the story ends on a cliffhanger of sorts. I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger… it’s more like a jaw dropper! (Please ignore my pun!) The story ends with Kellan learning that his late wife Francesca is very much alive!!
Like Kellan (and all the others who read the first book), I was curious to know what on Earth was Francesca doing in Braxton? Wasn’t she supposed to be six feet under the ground or something??
First thing I noticed about Broken Heart Attack was the characters. A lot of female characters in the story and I am not complaining! Each of them portrays a very strong role, be it Nana D or Francesca or April or Emma (Kellan’s six-year-old daughter).
What I also liked about the story is the family drama! The Paddingtons are a weird lot. The nasty daughters or Ophelia, Jennifer and her miscarriages, Richard Taft’s extramarital affair, and Sam coming out of the closet.
Sam’s partner was a shocker! I remember telling James that I hope I could see more of Kellan’s other siblings – Gabriel, Penelope and Hampton in the next books in Braxton Campus series. And here they are! Hampton and Gabriel make quite an appearance in the story!
Since Academic Curveball was the first book in the Braxton Campus series, more preference was given to the introduction of characters. And one character that stood out the most for all the wrong reasons was Chief April Montague! She was wild and untamed in the first book. However, she seems pretty sweet and tamed in Broken Heart Attack. I even told James that I smell fried fish here! April and Kellan in a mushy cushy love story perhaps??
Speaking of love story, who on Earth does Francesca think she is? Comes and goes as she pleases.. or should I say.. dies and rises from ashes as she pleases? If it was April who was a vamp in the first book then it is Francesca in the second book!
How can I not speak of Emma! Did you know that Emma and Shalini are BFFs? Emma is the perfect definition of adorableness and cuteness! If she can melt April’s heart (a tad), then the girl can do anything! The father-daughter relationship was well portrayed in the book. Eleonor’s decision (I am not saying what it is and spoil the fun here!) was touching! She plays the role of a strong and independent woman.
And between all this Kellan-Francesca drama and the Paddington’s affairs, Nana D’s mayoral race and the hullaballoo behind it keeps you on your toes.
It goes without saying that James’ writing and storytelling skills are absolutely brilliant. Broken Heart Attack is an engaging read.
Things to look for in the next book: Some feathers are going to be ruffled and bees are going to be kicked out of hornet’s nests here! Paddingtons and Castiglianos, your secrets are going to be out soon!
Character Development: 5/5
Overall rating: 6/5 (I told James that I will be giving this book a 6 out of 5 so James, here you go.)
Title: Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries #2)
Author: James J Cudney
Published on: 25th November 2018
Genre: Cozy mystery
Thank you, James, for letting me beta read Broken Heart Attack.