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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Flower Power Trip: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery by James J. Cudney is the third book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series. Kellan is once again drawn into a new mystery when a dead body is discovered during a masquerade ball fundraiser. As if his life isn’t full of enough complications, the wife of Kellan’s boss is facing possible stalking that ties into a painful secret from her past. As Kellan works to help Ursula and track down a killer, he starts to wonder if the two cases are coincidental. As he draws closer to solving the cases, the trail of clues leads him to the new family in town while his father-in-law continues to ask for details about the location of Kellan’s wife.
This latest mystery weaves several threads together through the ongoing mystery of Kellan’s wife, attempting to reconnect with his brother, solving a murder, and investigating Ursula’s past which could put his job at risk if he doesn’t get it right. Kellan has a lot on his plate when he’s thrown into the middle of another murder mystery which makes for delightful chaos that throws his job for a loop. James J. Cudney delves further into Ursula’s character when a shocking revelation about her past drives the mystery and puts the focus on the theme of family. A mysterious family also seems to be at the center as the new characters shake up the mystery and the campus.
Kellan’s family life is an important part of the story with the reality of his wife actually being alive acting as a continuous presence throughout as at every turn he deals with pestering in-laws that want his estranged wife’s location. The in-laws are well-known for being the mafia and this is a thread that carries throughout each mystery that Cudney gradually builds upon each time. Flower Power Trip is a cozy read that weaves delightful humor, action, and heart in a mystery that delves further into the chaos of Kellan’s life and the theme of family.