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Broken Heart Attack
by James J. Cudney
The best way for me to describe the beginning of Broken Heart Attack is “hyperactive,” a label which is meant to be descriptive, not positive or negative. Author James J. Cudney packs a lot into the first several chapters as he brings readers up to speed on the events in the first book of the series and introduces a complex plot with a lot of characters.
The main mystery of Broken Heart Attack centers around the Paddington family, murder, and a missing will. Unfortunately, the Paddington family is quite dysfunctional, and there is not one member of the family that I could relate to or invest myself in. In other words, by the end of the book, I really didn’t care who the murderer was.
A side issue to the murder is a paternity case. Other stories that affect the main character, Kellan, continue from the first book but make little progress: the reappearance of a presumed dead wife, conflict with co-worker Myriam, a potential love triangle involving friends Connor and Maggie, and a possible softening in his relationship with Sheriff Montague.
I purchased this book; it was not an advance copy. Therefore, I was surprised to see a number of errors. Some were obviously a case of autocorrect gone wrong, some were spelling, and some were, more egregiously, pronoun usage. This is particularly startling because the author rarely has errors in his posted book reviews.
On the positive side, Nana D continues to provide humor and Kellan is a likeable character. Would I read another book in this cozy mystery series? Absolutely! I would particularly like to see what happens as Kellan is pressured by his wife’s mob family, the Castiglianos. I would urge the author to write the next book at a less frenetic pace with more character development. He has the beginnings of a good series with interesting plots and a college setting that provides a background with multiple possibilities. The Braxton Campus Mystery Series definitely has a lot of potential.
Notes: #2 in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series. It could be read as a standalone, but would be more fun in sequence.
Publication: November 25, 2018—Creativia
I loved my nana, but her friends were harder to handle than standing upside down catching a greasy pig in a mud slide.
Eustacia and Nana D had some sort of symbiotic relationship where they often couldn’t stand to be around one another but if ever two days went by without time for tea or gossip, the world might’ve come to an end.
I woke up Thursday morning with a hangover so painful my head had put out a foreclosure sign.
Died in the Wool
by Peggy Ehrhart
Died in the Wool, like the first book in Peggy Ehrhart’s Knit and Nibble Mystery Series, has a calmness that gives me pleasure as I read. Although the main character Pamela sometimes follows inadvisable investigative leads like other cozy mysteries’ main characters, neither her pace of life nor her pursuit of justice is frenetic. I sometimes wonder how some main characters manage to maintain a job while trying to solve the mystery and juggle their many personal issues.
Pamela, like author Ehrhart, enjoys knitting and food, and those passions are evident in Pamela’s life as a member of a knitting club whose meetings also feature snacks or desserts. Ehrhart includes a knitting pattern and recipes in the back of the book, but more pointedly, her descriptions of various foods are detailed and mouth-watering.
The knitting club Knit and Nibble works for weeks producing stuffed animal aardvarks, the school mascot, to sell in support of the football team at Arborfest. Unfortunately there is a murder and the knitting group’s reputation is damaged. Pamela and her friend Bettina try to find the murderer. This cozy has twists and turns with the criminal’s identity discovered only after many understandable, but wrong assumptions and some exciting scenes. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, Knit One, Die Two.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the Knit and Nibble Series, but works well as a standalone
Publication: August 28, 2018—Kensington Books
She tested several ice-breaking comments in her mind, settling on “Your daughter’s tabouli is delicious.” He turned, looking as startled as if she’d announced a taste for human blood. Terribly shy, Pamela said to herself, awkward in social situations.
At that moment, the sandwiches arrived, on cream-colored oval plates with slender pickle spears tucked alongside. Gobbets of tuna salad and golden streaks of melted cheddar were barely contained by bread that had been grilled to buttery and toasty perfection.
Pamela wasn’t a wary person. She woke up every morning expecting the day to unfold predictably, just the way a knitting project moved predictably toward completion with only an occasional dropped stitch that could easily be picked up again.