Joe Cosentino on his latest release:
Drama Castle, the seventh Nicky and Noah mystery
“Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Mark Twain could have been writing about our times when he wrote those poignant words. I took them to heart when I first read them. I come from a funny Italian-American family, so humor has always been a large part of my life. As an actor, my favorite roles were comedic roles, and my favorite co-stars were gifted comic actors like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, and Holland Taylor. So it wasn’t a surprise when I turned to the comical world of a college theatre department (where I currently work as a theatre professor/department chair) to create the Nicky and Noah mystery series, called “the funniest MM series ever” by one beloved reviewer. It also wasn’t coincidental that the seventh novel in the series includes making a movie (I acted in several) and takes place in a Scottish castle loosely based on a vacation spot I shared with my spouse.
For those of you who haven’t yet hidden from the traumas of our times inside the pages of a Nicky and Noah novel, I’ll explain that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are warm and cozy—and yes hysterically funny. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a Republican senator scheduling a private meeting with Russian spies (as Nicky would say). At the center is the touching relationship between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and captivating whodunits.
Here’s a quick review for the newbies. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective, Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with his husband Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel.
Now in Drama Castle, Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Rounding out the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the moat, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. Nicky and Noah are joined by their best friends and fan favorites Martin and Ruben, and by Noah’s eccentric parents. And book seven adds a number of captivating new characters like Brody Naughton, the hunky head of Housekeeping with a red beard and roving eye for the oldest Conall brother, Barclay, and for Donal Blair a waiter in the castle’s Great Hall dining room. Each of the three hunky Conall brothers (Barclay, Magnus, and Fergus) have a surprising secret, and Noah makes a shocking revelation.
It is my joy and pleasure to share this seventh novel in the series with you. They say: laughter is the best medicine. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on steep cliffs, ancient turrets, stormy seas, misty moors, malfunctioning kilts, and murder!
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a historical film at a castle in Scotland, co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, and their son Taavi. When historical accuracy disappears along with hunky men in kilts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is pitching residents of Conall Castle off the drawbridge and into the moat, before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining seventh novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on steep cliffs, ancient turrets, stormy seas, misty moors, malfunctioning kilts, and murder!
Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven't discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino's hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn't laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Excerpt of Drama Castle, the seventh Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino:
Wearing a canary polo shirt that highlighted his olive-colored skin and black hair, Taavi looked adorable with his legs dangling off the high bed. “Grandma and I explored the castle.” His dimples appeared. “I found a secret passageway.”
“A sleuth, like your dads,” Dad said.
“And like your grandfather,” Mom added.
Taavi wiped his palms on his sky-blue shorts. “I can’t wait to shoot my scenes.”
Noah smiled. “Will you steal them from me?”
“That’s the plan.” Taavi offered his father a hang loose sign and a huge grin.
Mom said, “Judy was very impressed with our little Taavi’s acting in that slasher film you all did last year.”
“As she should be,” Dad said as if he were Taavi’s agent.
“Judy said that little Dung’s chocolate coloring would show up well on film.”
“Too bad Tommy and Timmy aren’t in the movie business like our Nicky and Noah,” Dad said.
Mom and Dad laughed together triumphantly.
I noticed a gold necklace around Dad’s neck as it danced over his flabby chest. “I’ve never seen that before, Dad.”
He stuck out his already protruding stomach. “What, my sexy physique?” Dad winked at Noah. “I may be giving you a run for your money tonight, Noah.”
Noah’s scarlet cheeks turned crimson.
I walked over to Dad. “I mean your necklace.”
“He’s worn that thing around his neck since I met him,” Mom said.
Taking it in my hand, I admired the fine craftsmanship of the gold two-leaf clover.
“It’s really a four-leaf clover,” Dad explained, “but the other two leaves broke off.”
“Where did you get it?”
“In a little shop on a glen in a valley in the highlands of Scotland. A year before I met Mom, I visited the land of my ancestors to find my roots.”
“While I was covering up mine with peroxide,” Mom said with a smile.
“But my ancestors didn’t come from a place like this.” Dad explained, “They were sheepherders.” The dairy farmer added, “Milking is in my blood.”
“So is high cholesterol from all the cheese he eats,” Mom said as if speaking about a death row criminal.
Dad patted his stomach. “I like food.”
“Me too, Grandpa.” Taavi patted his stomach too.
“Did you all eat dinner?” Noah asked with concern showing on his handsome face.
Mom nodded. “A sweet young waiter named Donal served us in the dining room.” She giggled like a young girl. “He paid extra attention to me.”
“Were you jealous?” I asked Dad.
He waved me away like a color guard on speed. “Donal was a nice-looking guy. But he reminded me of you and Noah, if you know what I mean.”
My father-in-law developed gaydar?
Taavi’s dark eyes glistened in delight. “We ate cock-a-doodle-doo soup, blood pudding, green fish, and bread for short people.”
As if a United Nations translator, Mom said, “Taavi means cock-a-leekie soup—”
Okay, it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s a soup with chicken, bacon, leeks, and spices.
Mom continued, “—black pudding—”
Get ready to be grossed out. It’s pork fat, pork blood, oatmeal, and oat and barley groats.
“—scallops with cabbage and green apple sauce, and shortbread.”
“I texted all my friends from school. I can’t believe we’re living in a real castle!”