Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries #2)
by James J. Cudney (Goodreads Author)
This second book in the author’s Braxton Campus Mysteries series begins just a week after the first book left off. Kellan has a lot of stressful things happening in his life; he is contending with a new job, a vicious new boss, a cross-country move with his six-year-old daughter, and the reappearance of his supposedly dead wife. He doesn’t need to add helping his seventy-plus-year-old grandmother run for mayor, a possible murder investigation where the victim literally falls over on him and multiple run-ins with the local sheriff who seemingly has it out for him.
Unfortunately for Kellan but fortunately for the plot, his grandmother, who was a good friend of the victim, doesn’t give him a choice about investigating. Soon Kellan will be involved in the affairs of a wealthy but scandalous family, all while dodging “enforcers” sent by his Mafioso mother-in-law. It’s going to be a fast-paced ride!
The subplot adds to the drama of the investigation and speaks of Kellan’s mind state as he begins his investigation, encouraged and goaded by Nana D and her septuagenarian/ political campaign club. As we learned in the last book, Kellan‘s wife, whom he thought long dead, is actually alive, thanks to her parents who head a mafia family and who faked her death to save her from their rival crime syndicates.
In this sequel, Francesca, and her parents, wants Kellan to join her in hiding, leaving behind his family and the new life he’s trying to build for himself and Emma, the couple’s daughter. Does Kellan still love his wife, who allowed him to mourn for her; and is that enough reason to turn Emma’s life upside down; not to mention would he ever see his own family again? Kellan faces an impossible choice, but once he’s made it, will everyone be able to live happily ever after?
This massive novel, nearly 500 pages, contains a complex cast of characters/relationships for our main protagonist, as well as an absorbing mystery with a number of potential culprits as there are several potentials with motive and opportunity. However, the true criminal is hiding in the background, and is not truly revealed till near the end. While the mystery is absorbing, and easily fits the mold of the “cozy mystery” genre, the subplot provides a tantalizing cliffhanger to end the book and entice the reader to reach for the next volume.
I award this story four and a half stars, for its compelling story that though a bit meandering in the beginning hits its stride and becomes fast-paced about halfway through. I would recommend this book to any fan of the genre, as well as mystery lovers in general.