Drama Detective (the 5th Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by Joe Cosentino
audiobook performed by Griswold Addams
Cover Art & Design: Holly McCabe
Release date: September 17, 2021
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!
Praise for Drama Detective, the 5th Nicky and Noah mystery:
“Drama Detective (Nicky and Noah Mystery #5) by Joe Cosentino is high camp, warmed-hearted, murderous fun! A series that, like Nicky and Noah themselves, keeps getting better with each story as they adjust to each other, grow, and yes, continue to love, act, and investigate murders now as a family. I think this is the best yet! I can’t recommend the series and this story enough! Be prepared to want to cuddle a character or two as well as laugh out loud!” –Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“This series is superbly twisted, full of murder and mayhem, and so many laugh out loud moments…Each Nicky and Noah Mystery Series book has a wonderfully twisted plot steeped in farce and absurdist humour. The murder ‘weapons’ are always highly original as is the motive and identity of the murderer…One thing I can guarantee; you will not put this book down until you finish, unless it’s to recover from one of the many belly laughs you’ll engage in while reading. Another winner from this gifted author which I have no hesitation in highly recommending.” —Divine Magazine
“In the fifth volume of the delightful, award-winning Nicky and Noah mystery series from author Joe Cosentino, Drama Detective, Treemeadow College theater professors Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver find themselves embroiled in yet another murderer’s killing spree at the one place you would think they would be safe: A stage….As narrator, Nicky’s trademark wit, catty commentary and mocking metaphors are laugh-out-loud funny…like the previous four entries in this delectable series, the author leaves us breathlessly anticipating what’s next in store for Nicky and Noah.” –Edge Media Network
Q&A with Joe Cosentino, author of Drama Detective,
the 5th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
now an audiobook performed by Griswold Addams
Welcome, Joe Cosentino. Thank you for chatting with us today about the audiobook release of the fifth novel in your popular Nicky and Noah mystery series.
No problem. Nicky and Noah are incredibly fun to talk about.
Great. Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you start writing?
For fame and fortune. Kidding. As a kid I was a complete musical theatre nerd beginning with producing, writing, and directing mega-musicals in my neighbor’s garage. Our unsuspecting families were our captive (and I mean captive) audience members. Thankfully, instead of committing me, they supported my interests. After majoring in theatre in college, I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Moving on to playwriting and ultimately writing novels came next. Along the way I received two master’s degrees and became a college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mystery series). I do lots of writing there, but it’s nowhere near as fun.
Do you envision any of those celebrities in a television series adaptation of the Nicky and Noah mysteries?
I can see Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis playing Noah’s funny parents, and Nathan Lane as Martin Anderson’s (the department head’s) spouse. I want to play Martin Anderson! Wanda Sykes would be a riot as Martin’s office assistant, Shayla.
I also think Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris would be terrific as Nicky and Noah. Luke McFarlane would be perfect as Nicky’s brother, Tony (or any role). I can also see Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! I’ve already written the teleplay for the first novel, Drama Queen.
Why did you decide to write in the mystery genre?
When I was a kid, I had terrible insomnia. Believe it or not, what finally cured me was reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries and Agatha Christie novels. I became absorbed with analyzing the clues, sifting through the red herrings, and marveling at the brilliant detectives’ powers of deduction as I sharpened my own little gray cells. Even at a young age, I suspected that Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson were more than roommates, which made reading the series even more fun. Unfortunately, given the times in which those books were written, none of the characters were openly gay. I decided to change that.
Why did you write a gay cozy mystery/comedy/romance series?
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: hysterically funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! There aren’t a whole lot of books like that out there. I’ve been told the series is unique and I agree. As my parents will tell you, I’ve never been one to follow the pack.
For anyone who hasn’t read them (and they should!), tell us about the Nicky and Noah mysteries.
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious. 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. As in an Armistead Maupin novel, the characters are wacky, surprising, and endearing. In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while Nicky directs the college play production), and Nicky and Noah must figure out whodunit and why. In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016), Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells. 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 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 and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In each book Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.
Has the Nicky and Noah mystery series been well received?
Reviewers called the books hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read. Who am I to argue? The awards have also been amazing. “They like me. They really me.” Hah. Actually, they like Nicky and Noah, and so do I! The series in ebook and paperback are Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, and the upcoming Drama TV, Drama Oz, and Drama Prince.
Besides the Nicky and Noah mystery series, you have other mystery series.
Yes, my five Jana Lane mystery novels and two Player Piano mystery novels. However, all of my books have elements of mystery in them, including my five Cozzi Cove novels, Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories, Tales from Fairyland anthology, and Found At Last and In My Heart novellas.
Is it challenging writing a series?
It’s a joyride! I feel as if I am visiting with old friends. I also enjoy watching the leading characters and their relationships develop. As Nicky and Noah fall more deeply in love with each other in each book, I and the readers fall more deeply in love with them. Watching their marriage expand to include a son has been so emotionally gratifying. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben, into major characters in later books. Ruben was especially a blast since we get to see his dry and wonderful sense of humor, devotion to Martin, and mystery solving chops. Finally, I enjoy creating new characters/suspects in each book to relate to the regulars.
Since you are a college theatre professor/department head, are you Martin Anderson, and is the series based on your life?
My faculty colleagues kid me that if anybody at my college ticks me off, I kill him/her in the series? Hah. To be honest, I like my colleagues and students too much to murder them in my books. Martin Anderson, Nicky and Noah’s department head, is based on me. He’s a loyal, hardworking department head and professor who fully supports his faculty colleagues, office assistant, and the students in his department. Like me, he is also a little bit, well quite a bit, of a gossip. His spouse, Ruben, is based on mine. My knowledge of theatre is also very evident in the series. The other characters came from my head. They’re a conglomeration of people I’ve met, spiced up by my vivid imagination.
Why did you set Treemeadow College in Vermont?
Treemeadow College is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and Cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.
Tell us about the storyline in Drama Detective. But no spoilers please!
Nicky is directing and ultimately starring as Sherlock Holmes opposite Noah as Dr. Watson in a Sherlock Holmes musical premiering at Treemeadow College on the road to Broadway. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the streetlamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. As usual it’s a laugh riot, and also a good puzzle with an ending you won’t see coming. You’ll love it more than an anti-gay politician loves the backroom at a gay bar.
Nicky is described as tall, handsome with a Roman nose and dark hair, muscular, and having an enormous manhood. Does that help him solve the murders?
It doesn’t hurt. Well, maybe it hurts Noah a bit. Hah. Nicky has to flirt his way into some places to get certain information, so his handsome face, muscular body, and huge penis are definitely assets. Even more, however, Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues. Most of all, Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective. And as in the third and fourth novels, he gets some help from Martin and Ruben, joining in with hysterically funny role plays to nab the killer. Those are my favorite scenes.
Since both you and Nicky are of Italian-American decent, are Nicky’s parents like yours? Are Noah’s parents like your spouse’s parents?
I come from a very funny Italian family. I use that in a great deal of my writing. My husband’s family is pretty funny too but in a very different way. Nicky’s parents and Noah’s parents have many of the traits of my parents. They’re absolutely hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marry their fathers. Also, both sets of parents accept their son’s spouse as part of their family. Kudos to them.
Who was your favorite character to write in Drama Detective?
Nicky is so adorable. I love his never say die attitude, wit, smarts, and perseverance in the face of adversity. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he will do anything to solve a murder mystery. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. My favorite new character in book five is Mark Melody, the creator of the Sherlock Holmes musical who talks in musical theatre talk and has a wild crush on Corey Sundance a young stud actor member of the company.
Who was the easiest character to write in book five?
I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward Nicky and Noah, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line. Finally, it’s wonderful to see an older couple so much in love (uncommon in the entertainment field), and how they can read each other like a book—no pun intended.
Which character do you like the least in book five?
I started out not liking handsome Rev. Tommy Hawk for his discrimination against Nicky and Noah under the guise of Hawk’s “religious freedom.” However, when things took a turn in the story, my feelings changed.
Which character was the hardest to write?
Corey Sundance is an incredibly handsome, muscular, and sexy young rebel with a cause. His inner secret makes him behave in a self-centered manner, but he’s masking the heart of a frightened child yearning for love.
Which character was the sexiest?
Definitely Tony, Nicky’s macho, muscular, Italian-American, younger brother. Tony oozes sex out of every pore.
How did you find Griswold Addams, the audiobook narrator for Drama Detective?
I prefer to call Griswold a performer, since he perfectly captured over twenty characters in the audiobook. I listed the Drama Luau audiobook on ACX and heard the auditions. It was clear right away that Griswold had the perfect voice, comic timing, versatility, and emotional commitment for this audiobook. I asked him to do the next book. Thankfully he agreed. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. He really brings the story to life!
Did you supply Griswold Addams with a character biography before the recording?
Yes, and I still marvel at how well he picked up on every character’s traits and individuality.
Were there any disagreements between you?
None. We were always on the same page (no pun intended).
How was the audiobook edited?
At Griswold’s home studio. He has the finest recording and editing equipment available.
In addition to Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, and now Drama Detective, which of your other books are currently available as audiobooks?
Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (the first Cozzi Cove novel), A Home for the Holidays (the first Bobby and Paolo Holiday Story), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (the first Tales from Fairyland anthology), Paper Doll (the first Jana Lane mystery novel), and Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery novel). Stay tuned, there are more coming soon!
How do you find the time to be a college professor/department head and do all this writing?
I don’t get a lot of sleep.
Where do you write?
I have a cozy (no pun intended) home study with a window seat, fireplace with a cherry wood mantel (like Martin Anderson), a cherry wood desk and bookcase. It’s hard for me to leave that room.
What is your writing process?
I go to sleep at night with a pad and pencil on my night table, since I get my best ideas when jolting from sleep at three am. I approach my writing in the same way as acting. I start with character biographies and ask questions about each character. Who do they love, hate, fear? What do they want? What is standing in the way of them getting what they want? What was their history? Then I get them talking to one another and the magic happens. I write an outline, but I deviate from it constantly. My spouse reads my second draft then I write my third draft.
How do you get your ideas?
Generally from my past experiences as an actor and/or college professor. Trips with my spouse also garner ideas i.e. our cruise to Alaska (Drama Cruise book three) and our trip to Hawaii (Drama Luau book four).
What advice do you have for unpublished writers?
Write what you know and feel passionate about. Write every day. Don’t be afraid to take chances. When you have a story you think is unique and perfect, ask someone you trust to read it. Then after doing another draft, email it to a publisher with an open submissions policy who publishes the kind of story you’ve written, or publish it yourself via CreateSpace.
Is it hard to write comedy?
For many people it is incredibly difficult. Thankfully not for me. I’ve always thought funny. I remember directors telling me as an actor to stop making my scenes so funny. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my parents bought me a jacket and my sister a house. When I complained, my mother said to me, “You’re getting a bargain. The house comes with your father and me.”
Why do you write gay fiction?
Go to a mall and look at the row of movie posters without any LGBT characters in them. Take a look at so many of our political and so-called religious leaders who raise money and gain power by demonizing LGBT people and take away civil rights under the guise of their “religious freedom.” I mourn for the young gay kids who consider suicide. So I support organizations like GLSEN donating a portion of my book royalty money to them each year, and I write stories that include LGBT people and themes. However, just as my Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its LGBT leading characters and straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. Everybody likes a clever mystery, a sweet romance, and a good laugh.
What are the rules for writing a good mystery?
A mystery should have more than mystery. Like any novel, it should include interesting characters, a strong plot with lots of twists and turns, and a shocking but totally earned satisfying ending. Getting there should be half the fun. So don’t forget the romance and humor. And play fairly by giving the clues early!
What are the rules for writing a good romance story?
The writer and reader must fall in love with the leading characters while the characters are falling in love with each other.
What are the rules for writing a good comedy?
There is so much humor in the world. Key into it and write about it. Don’t impose the humor on the story. Let it come out in the scene naturally. Life is funny. Trust that.
How can your readers get their hands on the Drama Detective audiobook, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links are below, as are my contact links, including my website. I love to hear from readers/listeners!
Thank you, Joe, for sharing with us today.
It is my joy and pleasure to share this new audiobook with you. So put on your Sherlock Holmes coat and hat, grab your pipe and program, and take your front row seat. Listen up! The curtain is rising, and the game is afoot in the audiobook of Drama Detective!
About the Author:
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, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan; the Dreamspinner Press series: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the Found At Last series: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando, and the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; 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. Many of Joe’s books have received Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love a good gay detective series. The one that tickles our little gray cells the most will win a gift Audible code for their choice of one of the first three Nicky and Noah mystery audiobooks: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, or Drama Cruise!