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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney is the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries. A night out to see a dress rehearsal becomes a tragedy when one of Nana D's friends dies. Nana D doesn't believe for a second the cause was a heart attack and pushes Kellan to investigate. Hours before her death, Gwendolyn spoke to Kellan about family problems. The best place to start is looking into her family secrets which, once uncovered, put the Paddington family in a new light. While Kellan dives into Gwendolyn's family drama, he also struggles to cope with the recent revelation about his wife and has to make a life-changing decision.
Gwendolyn's death sends him deep into what her family has been hiding for years. The more he uncovers, the more the investigation provides an inside look at each of the family members and their personalities, which slowly sheds light on their motives. This gives a lengthy list of suspects that keep Kellan guessing until the end. Balancing out the murder mystery elements are Kellan's own family problems as he struggles with the revelation that his wife isn't dead. He is given a choice about whether he wants to go into hiding with his wife or stay where he is. This choice haunts him throughout as he tries to figure out what the right path is for him and his daughter.
These complications are woven throughout his progress with the investigation. His familial relationships play a key role in his life as his biggest confidants are Nana D and his sister Eleanor. Nana D has a vocal and brazen attitude, often jesting with little semi-harsh comments while also acting as his sounding board. His sister is the only one who knows about his wife so she offers him advice and gives him peace of mind throughout. His daughter is only six years old, but she has the same spunk and vocal bluntness as Nana D, just on a much smaller scale. Her presence adds a touch of cuteness to the story, giving the murder mystery a charming aspect. James J. Cudney delights with another intriguing mystery filled with humor, a complex murder investigation, and lively characters you'll love.