4 Stars, Genre Romance, Joe Cosentino, Lethe Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Title: Drama Queen (A Nicky and Noah Mystery)

Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: Lethe Press

Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages

At a Glance: Drama Queen is a comedic and cozy little murder mystery with a side of romance.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Dividers

Review: Joe Cosentino’s Drama Queen takes readers behind the curtain at Treemeadow College, a fictional school set in the fictional town of Treemeadow, Vermont—perhaps the last place on earth one might expect to happen upon a series of murders. But, that is indeed what we find within the pages of this book: a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel that never takes itself too seriously, leaves us rooting for its amateur sleuthing duo, Professors Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, and places this novel firmly in the category of a tried and true cozy mystery.

There’s a play-within-the-play feeling to this story, in that Cosentino makes us, the readers, his audience, as though we’re watching a theatrical performance he’s scripting and directing as the story moves forward, all while the actors are moving from scene to scene and including us in the show. There’s a play in pre-production at Treemeadow, too, but someone keeps bumping off faculty members, one by one, which leads to the theater department’s eventual closure, and leaves Nicky and Noah to team up as our pseud0 Holmes/Watson investigative team, not only to help find the killer but to help clear Noah as a suspect.

The author keeps things close to the vest as the story unfolds—there are a slew of players, both major and minor, which leaves us with plenty of red herrings, each with possible motives and sufficient opportunity to make them a plausible suspect in the crimes. As Nicky and Noah make their way through this cat and mouse caper, and the body count continues to rise, we also watch these two playful and charming men fall crazy in love with each other, which gives Drama Queen just the right heartwarming tone to add to its blend of lightheartedness and drama.

If you’re ever on the outlook for a sweet romance with a murderous bite that’ll tickle your funny bone too, consider giving this coziest of cozies a try.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

You can buy Drama Queen here:

Smashwords

Smashwords

Standard
Giveaways, Joe Cosentino, Lethe Press

Guest Post and Giveaway: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Banner

Author Joe Cosentino joins us today to chat a bit about his latest novel Drama Queen and is also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of his Dreamspinner Press novella An Infatuation. To enter for your chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

Dividers

WHY I WROTE A NEW GAY MYSTERY/COMEDY/ROMANCE SERIES

THE NICKY AND NOAH MYSTERIES

PREMIERING WITH DRAMA QUEEN, PUBLISHED BY LETHE PRESS

by Joe Cosentino

A good who-dun-it, a good laugh, and a good spark of romance are hard to beat. I have always been a huge Agatha Christie fan and a loyal Armistead Maupin reader. What I love most about their novels are the sense of mystery, plot twists and turns, clever humor, and unexpected yet totally earned endings. So I decided to write a new gay mystery/comedy/romance series along that vein. As a theatre college professor/department head, I set my series on a college campus in a fictitious, quaint, private New England campus. The Nicky and Noah mystery series was born.

The setting is an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bares: Treemeadow College. In the first novel, it is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance. In the second book, it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. The third book takes us on cruise to Alaska for sights of glaciers and whales.

As Drama Queen (book one) begins, David Samson, the technical theatre professor, is found with a knife from the prop room lodged in his back. The suspects include David’s wife and son who stand to inherit a fortune, David’s two hunky graduates assistants who are desperate for his job, the mysterious movement professor who Samson didn’t support for tenure, the department head David wanted to unseat, David’s two ex-lovers, and his four students with a joint secret. When the local police are stumped, including a studly closet-gay detective, it is up to handsome, well-endowed Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing, to moonlight from directing the college production and use his theatre skills to find the murderer. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on gorgeous Assistant Professor of Acting, Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder (whose tenure application was not supported by the victim).

Nicky has his sleuthing cut out for him as Treemeadow theatre professors continue to drop like stage curtains. Since Noah finds each of the bodies, Nicky must not only restore justice to Treemeadow, but also save the man he adores.

As Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book. In Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Physical Education Department. In the third book, Drama Cruise, Nicky and Noah embark on a cruise to Alaska while putting on murder mystery dinner theatre—and solving a real murder mystery onboard ship.

Readers will enjoy getting to know quick-witted sleuth Nicky and sweet, loyal Noah. They’ll find the clues, red herrings, plot twists, and puzzles captivating. Fans will love the budding romance between them. Most of all, readers will laugh at the hijinks, hysteria, and unquenchable spirits of Nicky and Noah. As the two fall in love with each other, the readers will fall in love with them.

So grab your program and take your box seat. The curtain is going up on this new series. Lights up!

Drama Queen is available at the following e-tailers: Lethe Press (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (paperback) | Barnes & Noble

Dividers

Author BioAbout the Author: Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). 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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery), Drama Muscle (the second Nicky and Noah mystery), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella).

You can find out more about Joe at his website joecosentino.weebly.com

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY:

An Infatuation: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
Joe Cosentino, Lethe Press

Release Day Excerpt: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Banner

It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Dividers

Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). 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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Dividers

DramaQueencoverExcerpt: Surrounded by darkness, I sat tensely watching as a young, beautiful man lay on the floor with blood dripping off his six-pack abs. I held my breath. Another muscular young man stood over the first and looked down with a vengeful gaze and devious smirk. My heart pounded as he strutted through the quiet street in his long flowing cape, weaving from corpse to corpse. His knife, erect, poised. “The Lord is vengeful and strong in wrath. And revenge is oh so sweet,” he said.

“Blackout then lights up!”

Tyler, the technical theatre graduate assistant running the lighting board, hit a button, and our Treemeadow College theatre once again sported its Victorian proscenium, cream-colored walls, maple wood wainscoting, bronze wall sconces, and ruby red stage curtain.

Sitting behind the director’s desk (actually a wooden plank temporarily set up in the center of the audience seating area) I scribbled a last note before shouting, “Good work, everyone! Please get out of costume and make-up as quickly as possible and join me in the first two rows of the house for notes.”

Students scurried about: the actors off the stage; the technicians behind the set securing lighting and prop pieces.

Since it is tech week for my show, I have been working in our Edwardian style theatre every evening alongside our workaholic technical director. Tyler Thompson is our technical theatre professor’s graduate assistant, who like all good technical directors, eats, sleeps, breathes, and basically lives in our Scene Shop behind the stage. Standing at five feet tall with mountainous shoulders, a broad back, powerful arms, thick hands, and stick legs, Tyler rules over all things sound, lights, projections, set pieces, and props at Treemeadow College. When he leaves, we will be at a total loss to find or do anything technical in our theatre.

Sets for plays used to consist of wooden flats screwed together to create the walls of a room or a slide projection of a building. Nowadays no set is worth its weight in a Tony Award if it doesn’t include moving film projections of farmland, urban settings, fireworks, or whatever exterior is called for in a given scene.

“I’ll fix the video of the street scene for tomorrow night, Nicky.” Tyler slumped in a chair next to me as the familiar smell of pepperoni, his staple food, and sawdust stung my nose. He wore his usual techie attire: a soiled white T-shirt under frayed overalls above worn workboats. This look was accented by a gold cross around his neck, tattoos on his arms (like an illustrated book with words, numbers, and pictures), and long, stringy, unwashed hair. Tyler scratched at his beard, a result of him not having shaved (or washed) since we started tech. “I also want to fix the sound cue for the siren, and change a few gels for the red wash across the stage during the murders.”

Before I could thank Tyler, David Samson, Professor of Technical Theatre and our show’s Scenic Designer, barreled down the theatre aisle like a bull in a field of tomatoes, shouting, “Tyler!” David is an imposing six feet two inches tall, weighing about a hundred and eighty pounds with a shaved head.

Tyler froze, and replied like a convicted chemical dumper facing an environmental lynch mob. “Yes, David?”

“You didn’t add in the new light cue I gave you for the top of Act II.”

“I’ll have it for tomorrow night,” Tyler said.

David’s strong features hardened. “Your procrastination and laziness are not acceptable.” He scowled. “Do it now.

“Sure, David,” Tyler responded as he leapt off the theatre seat and hurried into the lighting booth at the back of the theatre.

I came to Tyler’s defense. “David, Tyler has done an amazing job—”

“Nicky, the pacing of the show is too slow. The blocking isn’t balanced. The actors aren’t committing fully to their roles and to listening to one another. This comes as no surprise to me since our Acting professor is as incompetent as you are, Nicky, as our Directing professor. Unfortunately, it seems you’d rather flirt with one another than get to work! This is a disgrace to our department!” David raised his arms in the air like a preacher facing an unrepentant congregation. “You’re the director, Nicky. And I use that term lightly. Your other shows have been insulting to the intelligence of the audience, but this one has reached the pinnacle of being even worse! Will even you let an audience see this repugnant crap?”

“David, this is not the time or place to have this discussion.”

Purchase Drama Queen at: Lethe Press (Paperback) | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Smashwords

Standard