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Mistaken Identity Crisis by James J Cudney

Title: Mistaken Identity Crisis (Braxton Campus Mysteries #4)

Author: James J Cudney IV

Published on: 5th June 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kellan Ayrwick is back! This time he has a cold-ish case to solve. I years ago, the residents of Wharton County fell victims to a series of burglaries. The burglaries stopped when Kellan’s younger brother Gabriel moved to San Francisco. He’s back now and Imogen Grey is the latest victim of a theft. Meanwhile, Kellan’s not-so-dead wife Francesca is kidnapped by a rival gang leader. He’s even threatened to harm Emma (Kellan’s) daughter if the Castiglianos (in-laws/mafia) do not do as the rival gang leader Cristiano Vargas says.

Fourth in Braxton Campus Cozy Mystery series, I cannot stop gushing about Mistaken Identity Crisis. James Cudney is one of the best and sweetest authors I know in the blogosphere. His storytelling and character portrayals are simply the best. 

Having read the first three books in this series, I was eagerly waiting to see how the story proceeds on the dead-wife angle. Let me explain. Kellan’s wife passed away in a car crash more than two years ago. It took Kellan and his daughter Emma to come to terms with losing Francesca. Kellan wasn’t aware of his wife’s family being in the mafia business. He moved away from them to protect Emma. 

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Fast forward to the present, (in the previous two books), Kellan learns his wife’s accident was an eyewash – she was hiding in her parents’ home until things settled down between the rival gangs. Kellan tells the County Sheriff April about this and together, they plan to take down the Castiglianos for good. Now, April and Kellan never got along well when they first met. She calls him “Little Ayrwick” which totally irritates Kellan. But three crimes later and Kellan “interfering” at each murder scene and ‘gathering clues and donning his deer stalker hat’, he and April are now on friendly terms (and possible couple in the near future). 

The mystery behind the burglaries 8 years ago and how they might be connected to a recent murder keeps the reader hooked on to the story. We also have the angle of Francesca’s kidnapping and Kellan falling into the drama between two mafia families. He also has to prove his brother’s innocence – and in the process, learns a secret or two about his wacko family. 

Leave it to James Cudney to write an engrossing cozy mystery with elements of quirk in it. I absolutely enjoyed reading Mistaken Identity Crisis. Though this book can be read as a standalone, it is better to start from book #1. We also have a who’s who list at the beginning of the book so in spite of a lot of characters in the story, one won’t have a problem of remembering them. 

The character development is excellent. The writing is brilliant and the mystery is mind-blowing. The end was just wow! Unexpected and totally surprising. We also get to see (just a sneak peek) what’s next for Kellan – the next book is called Haunted House Ghost- so excuse me while I go grab the copy. 

A male protagonist in a cozy mystery (this is rare), a dead wife who is kidnapped (um…), a case from 8 years ago that manages to shake a closet full of skeletons and a murder, Mistaken Identity Crisis is a complete package! Highly recommended!

6 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity Crisis by James J Cudney Leave a comment

  1. Rekha,

    Wow! I was thrilled to wake up to this post. It’s a beautiful reflection of the book and Kellan’s life. He does have a lot of trouble. You’ve made it shine, and I am beyond grateful.

    I am so happy and humbled that you like this series so much. I try to make it as immersive as I can, so it’s not just about the murder, but it also covers an entire town that maybe someone would want to live in.

    You are fantastic! 🙂

    Thank you.

    j

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