#FridayFlashback: Haunted House Ghost by James J. Cudney

Don’t let the cutesy retro cover of this book fool you. What lies within that cover 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 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 whole new readable direction and the local citizenry are 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 sherrif 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 new house, he finds out that “whodunnit?” is just the first question that needs answering and Braxton is just full of skeletons, the kind that hang 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.

This is a great book to revisit any time of the year.



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