Title: Drama Muscle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #2)
Author Name & Publisher: by Joe Cosentino (Lethe Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 2nd 2016- 188 pages
It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body.
You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!
Well to start this review I would definitely not recommend reading this book as a stand alone like I did. I would recommend reading the first book in this series before this one or you might be a little confused like I was.
I thought this was a very good mystery book. Nicky and Noah are trying to figure out who is killing all the bodybuilders at their school they teach at. There was definitely a lot going on in this book and I really did like Nicky and Noah together, they were so sweet!
I will say some of this book lost me. Between the things that were going on that really did not make sense to me in a few parts of this book, too the way everyone was talking to each other which was a little weird at times. But other than those few small parts I did like how this author wrote these characters and the pretense of this story!
So I will leave this review with… I liked this book!
As Mack drank, Jimmy Saline, a theatre major working as a student aide in the gym, said hello to me, then approached Mack shyly. At about a hundred pounds, Jimmy’s whole body could have fit into one of Mack’s muscular legs.
“Excuse me?” said Jimmy hoarsely.
Mack looked at Jimmy like a fly buzzing around his head. “Yeah?”
Jimmy swallowed hard. After clearing his throat, he wiped the perspiration off his freckled forehead, and croaked out, “You looked really up there good.” Jimmy’s face turned the shade of his fire-engine-red hair. “I mean you looked good up there. You should win.”
Mack smiled. “Thanks.”
I pretended to focus and refocus some lighting equipment near them as Jimmy handed Mack a fluffy white towel, then started to walk away.
Mack wiped the sweat off his handsome face. “What’s your name?”
Jimmy looked like a shock victim. “James…Jim…Jimmy.”
“Hi James Jim Jimmy. I’m Mack.” Mack offered his thick hand.
Jimmy’s face lit up like a torch as he stared at Mack’s hand in wonder. Finally his sweaty hand connected with Mack’s.
As they shook hands, Jimmy said, “I didn’t mean to take you away from your rehearsal.”
“You didn’t take me away,” Mack responded. “I’m on a break.”
“I’m glad. I mean, it’s good to have a break once in a while, because you might get tired, and then you’ll need…a break.” Jimmy raised his brown eyes to his mop of red hair. “I’m babbling.”
As Jimmy started to leave, Mack said, “Are you a phys. ed. major?”
Laughing, Jimmy responded, “What gave me away? My skinny arms or skinnier legs?”
Mack put his strong hand on Jimmy’s minuscule shoulder. “Jimmy, you shouldn’t put yourself down.”
“I’ve learned to do it before someone else beats me to it.” Realizing he was still holding Mack’s hand, Jimmy moved away nervously. “I’m a theatre major, working here as a student aide.”
“Why do you want to work in the Phys. Ed. building if you’re a theatre major?”
I’ve been asking myself the same thing.
“You don’t want to know.” Jimmy picked up a broom resting against the gym wall and began sweeping the floor.
Mack held the broom still. “I don’t ask a question unless I want to know the answer.”
Jimmy looked down at his sunken chest. “I took a weightlifting class last semester. Obviously I failed. When I was leaving class one day, I saw you coming into the weight room.”
“That’s why you applied to be a student aide here?” Mack asked in astonishment.
Jimmy nodded. “I hoped I could meet you.”
Jimmy took a step backward. “Please don’t get freaked out.”
Mack raised Jimmy’s chin from his chest. “I’m not freaked out.”
“I’m not a stalker or anything. I know that someone like you would never be friends with someone like me. I just want you to know that I really admire what you’ve accomplished as an athlete. And I’ve watched the way you interact with people, how you listen to them and respect them. I think that’s a really good thing. And I think you’re a really good guy.”
Jillian Flowers tapped Mack’s perfect back, then flicked back her blonde hair. “Mack, you um want to go over our like poses together?” She pressed her strong shoulder against his. “I, you know, promise to go like easy on you.”
Jimmy looked like a squirrel at a demolition site. “I’m sorry I bothered you. Good luck with the competition.” He scurried off to the supply room.
“Wait!” Mack shouted, but Jimmy was gone.
WHY I WROTE THE NICKY AND NOAH MYSTERIES
Book Two: Drama Muscle, published by Lethe Press
by Joe Cosentino
As a kid I had terrible insomnia. How did I overcome it? Reading murder mysteries! For most of my life I’ve read cozy mystery novels. Though full of murder and mayhem, they always made me smile, challenged my brain, and relaxed me. What could be better than a brain-teasing puzzle taking place in a comfortable environment? Like an Agatha Christie novel, the mystery is the central focus with red herrings and inversions leading to a satisfying conclusion. As in an Armistead Maupin novel, the characters are wacky, surprising, and endearing. Yet I couldn’t find many cozy mysteries with gay characters in them. As a college professor/department head, I have always been aware that colleges are rife with mystery, romance, and humor. So I created a gay cozy mystery series set in the world of academia.
If you haven’t read Drama Queen (and you should!), 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. In the first novel, it is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance. The setting is warm and cozy, 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 (and your mind reeling), and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I’ve heard the readers fall in love with them. In Drama Queen college theatre professors were dropping like stage curtains and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah had to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. When the ebook reached #18 on the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook (with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe) sold like tickets to Les Mis after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery. Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, a captivating whodunit, and the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue?
I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. What dedication! I quickly noticed the link between bodybuilding and theatre. So I realized the second Nicky and Noah mystery would take place in the Bodybuilding Department at Treemeadow College. In the second book, it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. 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. 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. Since I work out every day (yet see very little results!) and am enamored of the real bodybuilders who are so big they don’t even need to iron their shirts, Drama Muscle holds a special place in my heart. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.
The third book (Drama Cruise not yet published) takes us on cruise to Alaska for sights of glaciers and whales while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. More on that later.
It is my joy and pleasure to share another gay cozy mystery with you. So take your front row seat. The curtain is going up on young bodybuilders at Treemeadow College. Lights (and weights) up on Drama Muscle!