Review: Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance?

Kellan’s back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright? (Goodreads)

Broken Heart Attack. What a play on words and spot-on title. I personally think this title tells you what this book is all about; Poor Kellan, the hapless protagonist of this book is literally bombarded with an onslaught of emotional torture and conflicts. I didn’t expect this book to be this strong, the author went above and beyond my expectations once again.

Likewise the previous book, “Academic Curveball,” I have hardly anything to nag about this book.
The plot is well-contemplated and intricately crafted, and his writing is solid and strong, except for a tiny niggle that I’ll talk about later, it flows so well and the pacing is right for me.
Among other things, I particularly loved how well the writing conveys Kellan’s emotions. I had my emotions roused and disturbed (in a positive way) so many times, I’d definitely say it was the descriptions of Kellan’s emotions that kept me going with this book; even when I felt a bit unmotivated to read, once I picked up the book, I found myself engrossed in the story and flipping through the pages wanting to know how it plays out. This book is quite addicting.

That said though, here’s the thing – there was a tiny niggle that I had with this book.
This is not limited to this Broken Heart Attack, this is actually something I always feel whenever I start reading his books.
This may be only me who feels this way, but I often feel the intro of his books tends to be a bit verbose. There are, more often than not, a lot of descriptive or embellished descriptions which actually make the flow a bit stagnant and make it a bit tough for me to naturally ease myself into the story.
Of course, this issue vanishes as the story picks up, it’s only in the beginning. Again, the overall writing is quite strong and impressive thus I think I can let it go instead of making a big deal about it.

As for the story, as I briefly mentioned earlier, I never expected this book to be imbued with emotions. This series is narrated from Kellan’s POV, so it is only natural that we get a lot of emotions from this book yet THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY THINGS HAPPENING THAT PLAGUE POOR KELLAN’S HEART. Not only are there a slew of gritting-your-teeth worthy annoying characters which made me feel so mad, Kellan often finds himself between a rock and a hard place. What happens to Kellan in this book often made my heart ache as I got deeper into the book.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is not all sappy or gloomy. It is true Kellan’s goofiness is not as apparent as it was in the previous book, but Kellan in this book comes across more confident, which is a nice change in my eyes. The banter between Nana D is not only all alive and well, the heat is amped up and it felt more natural this time. Their closeness was clearly felt through the dialogues between them. Another credit to the author!

The well-portrayed character dynamics contribute to the tension and mystery, this book is really a great page-turner once you get into the rhythm. (oh, I also loved the sheriff, April warms up to Kellan in this book.)

I don’t want to be repetitive in my reviews, but I honestly cannot say other than what I already said about the previous book regarding the mystery part.
Just like I didn’t have to play detective in the previous book, this book allowed me to simply sit back and enjoy how Kellan eventually nails down the murderer. It’s not that the mystery part isn’t intriguing, on the contrary, it is so twisty that you probably won’t be able to guess how it’s going to end up!
I must admit the number of new characters did my head in especially in the beginning, (prepare yourself – you’ll get introduced to a handful – or even more – new characters! Recommend you get your pens and paper ready) but once I got the character dynamics down pat, I could easily glide through the book. Trust me, you are in safe hands and I can vouch this is a nice, entertaining ride.

Although I had been hit by a flat spell where no books truly hit me strongly, this book put me back in the right track. I might sound like a broken record, but once I picked this book up and started reading, I was pulled back into the story straight away and couldn’t stop reading.

If you enjoy cozy-mysteries, I highly recommend this series.
The huge bomb the author drops in the very last page will surely leave you stunned, hungry for Book 3 like it did to me!

My Rating: ★★★★.5

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