Dead of Winter Break

Dead of Winter Break (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)

by Kelly Brakenhoff

About Dead of Winter Break

Dead of Winter Break (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)

Cozy Mystery

3rd in Series

Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (November 17, 2020)

~340 Pages

Digital ASIN: B08KRG2T9D

It’s beginning to look a lot like murder . . .

And Cassandra is knee deep in . . . 


Her boss is dead, and the police are calling it burglary gone wrong. But when the killer comes after her, it’s going to take more than a pair of furry boots to keep the smart, witty Morton College administrator, Cassandra Sato, out of the deep. . . 


Her first Christmas in Nebraska could be her last unless her friends help unravel the mystery and housebreak her dog. 

Buy now for a fast-paced, holiday themed whodunit. 

Dead of Winter Break is the third book in Kelly Brakenhoff’s popular Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. Death by Dissertation was a 2020 RONE Award Finalist. Publishers Weekly called Dead Week, “a diverting whodunit.”

  Putting the “Support” in Supporting Characters by Meg O’Brien with Kelly Brakenhoff

I’m the sidekick.

My good friend, Cassandra Sato, is the one who gets all the press and Instagram memes. Which—let’s be honest—is how it should be because she’s the smartest person I know and the most ambitious. I work as an ASL Interpreter with her at Morton College where I’m used to fading into the background while other people go about their business. 

Cassandra asked me to fill in talking to you today about the latest mishap in Carson, Nebraska. Cassandra and I have known each other more than 10 years. We worked together at Oahu State College when I lived in Hawai’i with my husband while he was stationed on Oahu with the army. 

When she accepted the new job this semester as Vice President for Student Affairs, I was thrilled. Although the first few months were rocky, we’re hoping that over the winter break things will slow down for all of us. My husband and I are actually expecting another little bundle of joy in April! Cassandra is a great Auntie to our ten-year-old son, but I’ve secretly hoped that she’d meet someone special and start her own family. 

Can perfectionists find a soulmate? Asking for a friend.

Sometimes Cassandra cares about the students so much she’s blind to their faults or sticks up for them even when they’re undeserving. Other times, she can be terrifying, especially when she channels her mother’s Stink Eye or bawls someone out in her local Hawaiian Pidgin accent. Really, her parents are the sweetest little couple. I know it was hard for her to leave home, but I think Cassandra realized it was the only way to get what she wants eventually. 

She has two guys vying for her affections, but most days she spends so much time at the office she has little energy left for romantic thoughts. Plus, with this semester’s freaky “accidents,” the stalker, the crazy bosses, and no budget for an administrative assistant, Cassandra probably just falls into bed exhausted every night. What most people don’t realize is that underneath that super organized exterior is a really sweet, kind person who had her heart broken years ago when she lost her fiancĂ©. She’s just never been the same since. 

I was shocked when she adopted an adorable foster dog named Murphy at the end of the semester. Cassandra has never owned a pet in her life, and she texts me at all hours asking for advice. “How do I make Murphy stop barking at squirrels?” “How do you wash pee out of a towel from his kennel?” Or “Do you know of any local shelters who accept rescue dogs?” I keep waiting for her maternal instincts to kick in, but so far Murphy seems to have the upper paw.

Cassandra’s latest obsession is our former boss’s recent death. Instead of enjoying a cozy Christmas holiday, she’s convinced the police are missing important clues. Although her hunches have been correct in the past, I worry about her. Her life has already been in danger several times this semester when she got involved in other investigations. 

Maybe the snow will slow her down this time. My weather app says to expect a blizzard overnight. I’d like to think a foot of snow would force her to curl up by the fire with a book. But if I know my best friend, Cassandra will dig her way out and end up in the middle of the drama, searching for truth and justice. I wouldn’t want her any other way.

About Kelly Brakenhoff 

KELLY BRAKENHOFF writes the Cassandra Sato Mystery series including DEATH BY DISSERTATION, a 2020 RONE Award Mystery Finalist, DEAD WEEK, “a diverting whodunit,” (Publishers Weekly), and DEAD OF WINTER BREAK available in November 2020. 

Kelly is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends.  NEVER MIND and FARTS MAKE NOISE, her children’s picture books featuring Duke the Deaf Dog and illustrated by her sister, Theresa Murray, have quickly become popular with children, parents, and educators for promoting inclusive conversations about children with differences. 

The mother of four young adults and a German Wirehair Pointer, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.

Author Links:

Purchase Link – Amazon 

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