Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery
by Joe Cosentino
Didn’t you always think that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were gay lovers? They sipped tea together at the fireplace. Shared meals. Traipsed around town as a unit. And argued like an old married couple. They seemed to always know what the other was thinking, and therefore they had this silent, deep connection. Holmes and Watson also balanced each other perfectly with Holmes the observant, analytical partner and Watson the deep thinker. A vacation in England confirmed it for me when I visited the Sherlock Holmes restaurant, and I later stood flesh face to bronze face with the Sherlock Holmes statue. The gay vibes were abundant. As Nicky would say, “I felt like a priest at altar boy induction.”
After that trip, I started to think, “What is even gayer than a Sherlock Holmes story?” Since my spouse and I were at the airport in New York City, it hit me like an eleven o’clock number: a Broadway musical! So, I combined my infatuation with Sherlock Holmes and musical theatre for the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery novel, where 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. Their best friend, Martin Anderson (who is the theatre department head like me), Martin’s husband Ruben, their 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.
For those of you who haven’t read the first four novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series (and you should!), it is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, 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. At the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver.
In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit. Who am I to argue? One reviewer wrote Drama Queen was the funniest books she’d ever read! In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which my spouse and I also did). 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. (The first three books are also available as wonderful audiobooks!) 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 and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar.
And now the release of book five: my homage to Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and musical theatre queens everywhere! So put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and coat, grab your pipe and theatre program, and take your front row seat for the musical. The game is afoot in Drama Detective!
DRAMA DETECTIVE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a Sherlock Holmes musical in a professional summer stock production at Treemeadow College, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague Noah Oliver as Dr. John Watson. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky dons Holmes’ persona on stage and off. Once again Nicky and Noah will need to 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. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fifth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up, the game is afoot!
“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.” 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
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 (Lethe Press), 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 Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, The Perfect Gift; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (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 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.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Excerpt of Drama Detective by Joe Cosentino:
Since Tony and Mark had finished rehearsing the opening number, I moved back to my seat front and center. I opened the bag at my feet and downed some vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, turmeric, and L-theanine with apple juice for energy. After calling for the actors’ attention on stage, I rose and attempted to give a few acting notes to London’s West End theatre actor Trevor Worth (our diabolical Professor Moriarty) and professional wrestler seeking a legitimate theatre credit Bruno Locho (as Scotland Yard’s dimwitted—not much of an acting challenge—Inspector Lestrade). Standing center stage, Trevor wore a long black coat and Bruno sported a wrinkled umber-colored suit. “Trevor, when you take off the prostitute costume on stage in the opening number to reveal yourself as Professor Moriarty—the jewel thief—stand more stage left so you are in the shadows.”
The tall, thin, sixty-year-old actor sprouted lines on his face like marijuana in a teenager’s window garden. His natural British accent compounded like a televangelist’s mansion during a television pledge drive as he said, “Have I told you that I have played the role of Moriarty in eighteen different Sherlock Holmes productions?”
More times than a closet gay actor tells the press he’s too busy working to date.
Trevor flicked back his long, thin shoe polish black hair and looked down his longer and thinner nose at me. “And did I also mention the productions spanned six countries?”
Bad news travels fast. “I’ve read your resume, Trevor.”
“And as the rest of the company knows, I will be starring as the title character in next season’s Broadway play aptly titled Moriarty, produced by the legendary Tom Rairy.”
“Trevor, what’s your point?”
“My point, Mr. Director, is that nobody knows the role of Professor Moriarty better than I. And Professor Moriarty would never change disguises in the dark. He would proudly switch personas where everyone can see him and then disappear.”
“I got a problem with that.”
I rested my elbows on my knees. “What’s your problem, Bruno?”
The wrestling star sucked in enough breath to expand his already expansive nose and chest. “Instead of Moriarty running away, me and him should go at it.”
“Go at it?” I asked like a sailor walking the plank.
“Yeah. Moriarty versus Lestrade in the ring.” Bruno’s dark eyes lifted to his bald head. “The ad for the show can go like, ‘Le Strade and Moriarty Shoot Off Head to Head.’”
Sounds more like an ad for a gay porn film to me.
Harvey Snigger (Porky Johnson) stood stage left with his hand on his ample hip, did a double take, and shook his jowls back and forth as if on the small screen. “Wrestling? Really, Bruno? My TVQ is on the line with this show. I won’t be party to a phony wrestling match.”
“Phony!” Bruno advanced on Harvey. “I leaped off the ropes and squashed guys double your size.”
“And Dumb It Down for Dad clobbered wrestling in the TV ratings,” Harvey replied with a sniff.
Bruno ripped off his tie and jacket. The shirt came next. “Let’s see how easily I can clobber you!”
Harvey sniffed like a rabbit in a genetically modified carrot garden.
Bruno prepared for attack. “And will you stop that annoying sniffing!”
Before real blood was shed on stage, I asked for the technical rehearsal to resume with the next song, where the famous Holmes, having just solved a case in Africa, flies in a helicopter over the heads of the audience. Corey called the cue from the stage manager’s console off stage. Reminiscent of that infamous tragedy at the Booth Theatre, the helicopter descended from the ceiling – and crashed into a box seat. As the cast and crew shrieked, the helicopter’s tail rotor flew off smack into Harvey Snigger standing on stage. While student technicians rescued the helicopter with our Sherlock Holmes trapped inside but unscathed, I called for another break.
Thankfully unharmed (except for his ego), Harvey stormed off stage into the wing shaking the rotor, and his chubby fist, at young Corey Sundance. “What kind of a stage manager are you? You nearly got me killed!”
My ex-student slid down in his chair. “Not my fault, dude.”
Harvey snorted like a pig staring at a truck load of bacon. “Over the entire course of our rehearsals, I haven’t seen one positive attribute of yours.”
Check out his butt on the internet.
“In the world of television, you’d be fired before the first commercial break,” Harvey shouted in Corey’s face.
“This isn’t the battle scene in Les Mis. Leave the kid alone.” Our author and musical director appeared at Corey’s side.
Harvey snarled like a conservative politician at a lecture on global warming. “Do you know who you are talking to?”
Mark Melody answered, “A chubby little guy who gets angry and turns greener than Elphaba in Wicked and does double takes and jowl rolls on a sitcom that would insult the intelligence of a teenager with an I.Q. of ten who is hooked on crack.”
Harvey did in fact turn green, do a double take, and shake his jowls. Then he stampeded downstage center and flailed his fatty arms at Ruben and me. “Producer, Director, if these two amateurs aren’t fired immediately, it’s roll the credits and show’s over for me, meaning you can kiss the TV audience goodbye.” He sniffed wildly.