Monday, June 24, 2019

"Mistaken Identity Crisis" by James J. Cudney

Mistaken Identity Crisis
(Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 4)
by James J. Cudney

Mistaken Identity Crisis (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 4) by James J. Cudney

Mistaken Identity Crisis, the fourth book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries by James J. Cudney, releases on 30 June but is currently available for pre-order. Also available: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip (read my blog post).

Braxton Campus Mysteries by James J. Cudney

Mistaken Identity Crisis is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.
Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?
As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.
Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

[In which Kellan and Nana D suspect Gabriel is involved in the jewelry thefts.]
“Are you hinting at something with that comment?” Gabriel had been secretive since his return, and he’d grown darker and more evasive, but he was a good kid at heart. That I was positive about.
“I’m not really up for talking about it this weekend, Kellan. Why don’t you drop me off and come for brunch on Monday when I’m more relaxed? My schedule is slammed with meetings all day tomorrow for the upcoming inauguration,” Nana D said.
I had no choice but to grudgingly consent to Nana D’s wishes. It was her birthday. She made it acutely clear she wasn’t up for discussing it tonight, and I could only handle one melodrama at a time. As we left Wellington Park, a couple dashed across the street and into the park, neglecting to check for any oncoming traffic. I slammed on my horn to warn them, and they briefly looked up with shocked expressions before blocking their faces from my headlights. I was focused on my surroundings and hadn’t gotten a solid glance at them.
“What’s he doing with her?” Nana D mumbled, scratching at the side of her head.
“Who?” I watched them disappear on a walkway heading south once they crossed the street.
“That was Paul Dodd, Imogene’s fiancé. Shouldn’t he be home attending to her after the robbery? Not running around with some other woman!” Nana D reproved before reminding me Paul had been elected the new town councilman of Braxton, assuming the role from Marcus Stanton.
“Maybe he was rushing to get home to Imogene?” I asked.
“Heading into the park? Nah… and he’s supposed to be a stand-up guy. I can’t be certain, but the woman he left with looked like Krissy Stanton, Marcus’s troublesome daughter.”
Krissy was another student in my upcoming class, which made the event sound as suspicious as that persistent deer invading Nana D’s orchard and stealing heaps of fruit. Marcus still wouldn’t acknowledge Nana D officially won the race and threatened to cause a rumpus. “Want to follow them?”
“No, I’ve got ways to elicit the truth from Paul Dodd, Braxton’s supposedly perfect politician and model citizen. Leave it to me.” Nana D tapped the dashboard and directed me which way to drive home. “Something’s fishy in the state of Pennsylvania. And it ain’t your father’s feet this time, Kellan.”

Praise for the Book
“Both character evolution and character delineation well populate the Braxton Campus Mystery series by James J. Cudney. In this installment, the atmosphere gains a strong twinge of Noir ...” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
“I really love the style of this author, since the first pages he manages to completely involve you in the adventures of the protagonists and keeps you in suspense until you solve the case with them. Highly recommended.” ~ LibriAmoriMiei
“Another well-crafted mystery from James (Jay). In addition to the requisite murder, another ongoing puzzling ‘event’ comes to fruition. You'll be wondering who-dun-it? to the end. Enjoy!” ~ Tyler Colins
“This book is exceedingly well written. The author's genius shines though in that his character development is such that I can visualize these people. I can see the actions. I can see the scenery.” ~ LostKnight
“The writing was on point, the descriptions were wonderful, and the thing is, the characters feel real here with dialogue that is spoken how people in real life would! The book is fast paced with plenty of mystery, and I already need the next one! Oh, and this is definitely my favorite cover in the series so far!” ~ Candace Robinson

Guest Post by the Author
Character List & Explanation
Hi. In this special guest post, I’m covering how I created the character list and the town map in the Braxton Campus Mysteries. In each book, both will change so that readers see all the main settings and people that will be included. I’m working on a second map for each book which will be a detailed drawing of the location where the murder victims were killed. I will begin sharing those in book 5 and go back to previous books to include them for anyone who buys in the future. I’ll also share them on my blog and author website so readers who missed out in the first few books have a place to catch up.
Right now, we see the 4 villages or towns in Wharton County, as well as the surrounding mountains, forest, river, lake, and various points of interest. In the next two, I have detailed maps of South and North Campus that will show all the major college buildings, hot spots, and curious places where crime might happen. I can’t wait to see if it’s what everyone pictured, or if I’m way off base in my descriptions matching the drawings. I had help from someone very important to me, as I could never draw well myself. I’m looking forward to sharing them in the fall.

It’s incredibly difficult to be careful about not revealing too much in these descriptions. Sometimes, the killer turns out to have a second identity or be related to someone else. How do I handle it? I pretend I don’t know … and only include the initial description so that there aren’t any spoilers. Each of the main headings tend to be the same from book to book, but they might change in the future books if I have a better way of grouping them. Let’s dive into the categories:
Ayrwick Family
This is our main character and his family. I only include characters who have a speaking role or are mentioned with some sort of a semi-important life change. Under most normal conditions, readers will assume none of these people will be the killer or the victim … except, if you’ve read my books before, you know I tend to go for a bit of the over-the-top shockers. As a result, I wouldn’t necessarily rule out my devious plan to make it someone important and critical to the plot. While I can’t ever imagine killing off Nana D, or making her murder someone, I’m sure it’s possible that the other key family members could be held accountable for their actions. Gabriel, for instance, was a prime suspect in a previous book, as was Kellan’s father, Wesley. And don’t get me started on those Castiglianos … could anyone have worse in-laws than Kellan?
Braxton Campus
These are some of the secondary or supporting characters in the book series. Sometimes there are friendly faces like Ursula or Fern, but other times it includes new characters who might be killed, have important information and red herrings, or have committed the crime. In Mistaken Identity Crisis, there is a group of 8 who went to college together, so many of them show up here, but since there is a past and a present element to this story, they also show up in the next category. For me, this is always the place to be careful in ensuring that I don’t spoil the plot!
Wharton County Residents
Like the previous category, this is where you’ll find the essential people to the story: either they have a clue to share with Kellan, they committed the crime, or they will be killed. Sometimes I might just have a random person who appeared in a previous book and wants to catch Kellan up on his or her life, but I always focus on how to make this area as vanilla as possible. I don’t want to give too much away, but I want to be sure all the key ‘known’ relationships are properly covered.
Wharton County Administration
What’s a town without its leaders? From the law to the news reporters, this is the group of people who will either help Kellan solve the crime or who are trying to ensure the killer is caught and properly brought to justice … just remember, I’m sneaky, so you might find the killer in here one day! It’s important to clarify these enforcement roles because it helps readers identify repeat characters from book to book, so they can develop their favorites and least favorites in the group. I can’t imagine what’ll happen if Kellan ever remarries and his wife happens to be in this group. Where would I put her then? I suppose I shouldn’t let that happen, huh?
Who’s Who in the Braxton Campus Mysteries? (Mistaken Identity Crisis)
Ayrwick Family
·         Kellan: Main Character, Braxton professor, amateur sleuth
·         Wesley: Kellan’s father, Braxton’s retired president
·         Violet: Kellan’s mother, Braxton’s admissions director
·         Emma: Kellan’s daughter with Francesca
·         Eleanor: Kellan’s younger sister, owns Pick-Me-Up Diner
·         Gabriel: Kellan’s younger brother, dating Sam
·         Nana D: Kellan’s grandmother, also known as Seraphina Danby
·         Deirdre Danby: Kellan’s aunt, Nana D’s daughter, Timothy’s fiancée
·         Francesca Castigliano: Kellan’s estranged wife
·         Vincenzo & Cecilia Castigliano: Francesca’s parents, run the mob
Braxton Campus
·         Ursula Power: President of Braxton, Myriam’s wife
·         Myriam Castle: Chair of Communications Dept., Ursula’s wife
·         Fern Terry: Dean of Student Affairs, Arthur’s mom
·         Maggie Roarke: Head Librarian, dating Connor
·         Arthur Terry: Engaged to Jennifer, Fern’s son
·         Quint Crawford: Electrician, Bertha’s son
·         Raquel Salvado: Current student
·         Imogene Grey: Lara’s daughter, Paul’s fiancée, former college sorority girl
·         Siobhan Walsh: Office Manager, current student
·         Krissy Stanton: Marcus’ daughter, former college sorority girl
Wharton County Residents
·         Cristiano Vargas: Runs the mob, kidnapped Francesca
·         Bertha Crawford: Quint’s mother, Silas’s brother-in-law
·         Tiffany Nutberry: Lydia’s daughter, former college sorority girl
·         Lydia Nutberry: Tiffany’s mother, runs Nutberry mortuary
·         Helena Roarke: Maggie’s sister, former college sorority girl
·         Nicholas Endicott: Construction company owner, former college student
·         Karen Stoddard: Restaurant owner
·         Cheney Stoddard: Karen’s son, was dating Helena
·         Timothy Paddington: Deirdre’s fiancé, Jennifer’s brother
·         Eustacia Paddington: Head of Paddington family, aunt to Jennifer and Tim
·         Jennifer Paddington: Engaged to Arthur, Timothy’s sister
·         Sam Taft: Dating Gabriel, nephew to Jennifer and Timothy
·         Chef Manny: Cook at Eleanor’s diner
Wharton County Administration
·         Silas Crawford: Former Sheriff, Bertha’s brother-in-law
·         April Montague: Current Sheriff
·         Connor Hawkins: Detective, Kellan’s best friend, dating Maggie
·         Paul Dodd: New Braxton Town Councilman, Imogene’s fiancé
·         Marcus Stanton: Former Braxton Town Councilman, Krissy’s father
·         Judge Grey: Wharton County Magistrate, Imogene’s grandfather
·         Lara Bouvier: Reporter, Imogene’s mother

About the Author
James J. Cudney
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at This Is My Truth Now.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow - all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.
When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Mistaken Identity Crisis by James J. Cudney (US only).

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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