#BookReview: Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2) by James J. Cudney #CreativiaPub

I am delighted to share my review of Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney, a cozy mystery with a professor for a sleuth!


About Broken Heart Attack 

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

My thoughts on Broken Heart Attack

I have dived straight into the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries without reading the first. While it soon became clear I would have benefited from reading the earlier mystery, I was quickly brought up to speed and settled into the story without any difficulty.

Broken Heart Attack has all the elements of a good cozy mystery, including an amateur sleuth who sets out to solve a suspicious death, in this case Gwendolyn Paddington, a family friend dying while watching a dress rehearsal of King Lear. The narrator, professor Kellan Ayrwick, is a satisfyingly flawed protagonist with a full portion of problems, both personal and professional, on his plate. In true cozy style, the reader is drawn into an intimate world filled with loveable, and well-rounded characters. Even chair of the department, Miriam Castle, the “venomous barracuda”, is sympathetically cast.

As Kellan bends to his grandmother Nana D’s wishes and investigates Gwendolyn’s death, he struggles to deal with the complex matter of his own nuclear family. Cudney has given his sleuth a challenging and heartbreaking dilemma. Cudney’s handling of this theme is sensitive and considered.

There is nothing not to love about Broken Heart Attack. Cudney’s writing style is warm, vibrant, edgy and upbeat, the humour leaping off the page in the opening paragraphs. The first person narration is strong, the use of a modern vernacular style appropriate. Broken Heart Attack is a racy read, the reader kept entertained as the plot unfolds, eager to discover the culprit. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader hungry for Book 3. It is a device that does not always work, but in this case it does.


You can find Broken Heart Attack on Amazon

Don’t Let Them Fall! – a desert island protest

The ancient ruins of one desert island paradise

Photo by JF Olivares

Don’t Let Them Fall!

I wasn’t planning on writing a novel set on the desert island idyll of Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands’ largest and driest island, with some of the world’s best beaches. Situated some 60 miles off the coast of southern Morocco, Fuerteventura really is an island of beaches. Then I met a photographer native to the island, a man with a grand passion. JF Olivares runs a Facebook group in which he posts his beautiful photos and also educates all who cross his path on the special heritage of Fuerteventura. He posts on the flora and fauna, the geology and archaeology, the landscapes and the changing seasons, and shares his photo-documentary of the many buildings in ruins.

Fuerteventura ruins
Photo by JF Olivares

Old farmhouses dot the landscape throughout the island, especially in and around the inland villages. Some have been restored, and of course at vast expense, but too many have been left in ruins while new buildings are constructed, sometimes right next door. What is being lost is not only rock and mortar but a whole heritage, a story of a way of life of a people who lived in one of the planet’s harsher climates. These buildings are an integral part of Fuerteventura’s cultural identity.

Fuerteventura ruins
Photo by JF Olivares

It was images like these that prompted me to brush up on my Spanish and engage with Jf Olivares’ posts. He decries what is happening to the Canary Islands as a result of unregulated tourism. We soon became good friends as I told him I shared his passion. I had a hand in restoring an ancient ruin on Lanzarote back in 1988, purported to be 300 years old, a ruin I partly owned at the time. It was my dream home in my dream village on my dream island and I had to let it go. Little wonder I was drawn to these old ruins of Fuerteventura!

Fuerteventura ruins
Photo by JF Olivares

My own connection to Fuerteventura goes back to 1989, when I visited, staying in Corralejo and Tetir. I was taken there by my local friends from Lanzarote, where I was living. The first time I went, it was for a festival. Corralejo was so vibrant and alive and I met a man, Pedro, a local artist. The attraction was strong, so strong that he wanted me to live with him in a little village called El Time. But I was already being swept up by another man, the highly charismatic Miguel Medina Rodriguez. I was back then like a feather on the wind. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had stayed, with Pedro, with Miguel, or alone on the islands that had embedded themselves in my heart. They were heady, Bohemian days.

I have dearly wanted to move back to the Canary Islands. Last year I came close to buying an old farmhouse in a tiny village but the sale fell through. So, I did the next best thing and wrote a novel set there, a novel about a woman who wins a lottery jackpot and restores a ruin in a village called Tiscamanita. I love it that my characters can live my dreams!

Clarissa’s Warning was written to help raise awareness of these lovely old buildings slowly falling back to earth. I am indebted to JF Olivares for inspiring me to write this book, and for letting me use his photos. I am now at work on another novel set on Fuerteventura, again thanks to JF!

You can read more about Clarissa’s Warning here

Here is a link to Clarissa’s Warning on Amazon viewbook.at/ClarissaWarning

Clarissa's Warning

Clarissa’s Warning is the third novel in my Canary Islands’ series, which began with The Drago Tree

Here is the link to The Drago Tree on Amazon viewbook.at/TheDragoTree