Thursday, June 20, 2019

Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff: Review & Giveaway!

Death by Dissertation

A Cassandra Sato Mystery
by Kelly Brakenhoff

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658
Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.
A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.
Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

About the Author

Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.  Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.  When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.  Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Here are Kelly Brakenhoff's links:  WebsiteAmazonTwitter, and Instagram (@kellybrak).
ASL Woodgrain Large Clock

My Summary

Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff takes readers on a trip to Carson, Nebraska.  Cassandra Sato is the new Vice President of Student Affairs at Morton College.  It is a big change for Cassandra who grew up in the tropical environment of Hawaii.  While President Gary Neilson is on a business trip to China, Cassandra will be taking over his extensive duties.  But before he can depart, Austin Price has been found dead on the stairs outside Edgerton Science Center.  Austin was one of the college’s deaf students who had a work study job in the biology lab.  Cassandra begins her investigation by learning more about Austin.  She soon uncovers information that links the beef the college obtains from a local farmer, the ABG blood bank, and a research study.  What did Austin uncover that led to his death?   Cassandra is also dealing with threatening emails, vandalism, complaints and a break in.  Someone does not want Cassandra at Morton College, and she is wondering if she made the right decision leaving Hawaii.  The longer the case remains open, the more publicity there is surrounding the matter.  Cassandra needs Austin’s killer caught before she is out of job or, if her stalker has their way, the next victim.
The Ohio State University - University Hall

My Thoughts

Death by Dissertation is the first novel in A Cassandra Sato Mystery series.  The author sets the stage for the book by telling readers about the inner workings of a college.  We get an inside look at the administrative side of college life and how they handle various situations.   Cassandra Sato has plans on becoming a college president one day and this is the first step towards her goal.  On a day to day basis, Cassandra deals with students who are more interested in playing video games and attending frat parties than going to class and turning in their assignments.  Cassandra looks and dresses differently from the rest of the staff at Morton College.  She is not used to see a sea of Caucasian faces and land all around her.  Cassandra misses the tropical climate of her home along with the friendly people, veggies and the ocean.  She is glad to have her friend Meg O’Brien, an ASL interpreter, working at the college and living nearby.  Readers get a look at what deaf students must deal with on a daily basis (needing an interpreter for classes, people not understanding them, or treating them inappropriately).  The author is an ASL interpreter herself and her knowledge is evident in Death by Dissertation.  The mystery delves into the scientific arena and readers are provided with detailed technical information as the search for the killer ramps up.  I had to laugh when Meg helped Cassandra with her hair and asked, “How close to God do you want your hair?”  I also enjoyed Cassandra and Meg’s commentary on women wearing yoga pants.  Death by Dissertation has collegiate spirit, a complex crime, scientific exploration, an avaricious killer, and a gifted gumshoe.  
Law Quad, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, May 2007 by Conlawprof, via Flickr

Death by Dissertation is available on AmazonWould you like to win a copy of Death by Dissertation?  You can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below or click here.  Good Luck! The next novel in A Cassandra Sato Mystery series is Dead Week.  Thank you for joining me today.  I am reviewing No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky tomorrow.  It is a captivating historical novel.  May you have a dynamite day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

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June 22 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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June 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW

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Work Break, Darren Thompson

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