Theater professors and couple, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are going overboard as usual, but this time on an Alaskan cruise, where dead college theatre professors are popping up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. Further complicating matters are Nicky’s and Noah’s parents as surprise cruise passengers, and Nicky’s assignment to direct a murder mystery dinner theater show onboard ship. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the curtain down on vacationing theatre professors before it is lights out for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining third novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and ship ahoy!
I'm excited to welcome Joe to the blog today to share with us a little about this exciting new addition to the series.
TRAVELLING THROUGH VERMONT, ALASKA, AND HAWAII
Writing the Nicky and Noah comedy mystery series
Book Three:Drama Cruise,published by Lethe Press
by Joe Cosentino
I was lucky enough to attend a college in Vermont for my MFA. (Since it wasn’t a degree in accounting like my sister’s, my mother said it wasn’t a real degree. Thanks, Mom.) While there, I fell in love with the kelly-green sloped mountains, crystal blue skies, quant stone bridges over flowing turquoise rivers, multicolored leaves in fall, whimsical barns, cozy bookstores, and open and affirming residents. When as a huge cozy mystery fan I decided to write a gay cozy mystery series, I knew I had to set it in gorgeous Vermont. As a college theatre professor, I opted to set the series in the theatre department (always a great place for drama) at a white stone Edwardian-style college I call Treemeadow, named after its founders: gay couple Tree and Meadow.
My series is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning 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 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 the first novel, Drama Queen, it is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance.College theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains 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. One reviewer wrote Drama Queen was the funniest book she’d ever read!Who am I to argue? After the novel was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Humorous Novel, and Contemporary Novel by the readers of Divine Magazine, it was time for book two.
In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors are dropping faster than barbells. Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. 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.
Where to set book three? A few years back my spouse talked me into going on a ten-day cruise to Alaska. We had amazing meals (after amazing meals), fantastic ocean views, spotted a whale waving its tail at us, and went on a helicopter ride to the glaciers. We also embarked on land excursions to a tramway over the mountains, a totem pole park, a log climbers’ show, a frontier habitat, and a Native American village. Our cabin sported a private balcony and a gay porter who seemed excited to find a gay couple onboard ship. When we returned home, I decided to immortalize our wonderful trip by setting the third Nicky and Noah mystery onboard a cruise to Alaska.
Now in Drama Cruiseit 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. Martin Anderson (Nicky and Noah’s department head) and his bickering husband are also along for the rocky ride. As in the first two books, there are a slew of colorful, hysterically funny victims and suspects like the cruise director who talks endlessly about her glory days as a theatre major in college, the ship’s doctor who is looking for the secret of life, Nicky and Noah’s porter who wants them to adopt him, and the captain of the boat who insists he has seen the ghost of his former sea captain. The theatre professors are equally as colorful, including an alcoholic who believes he has seen a mermaid, a hypochondriac looking for love, a comic with a cat of nine tails in her closet, and a Shakespearian actor who can’t keep his hands off his volume of the Bard—or off anyone else.
Book four, Drama Luau, releases next. It’s based on our amazing trip to the gorgeous island of Maui. More on that in six months.
So take your front row seat. The boat is leaving from port. Lights up and ahoy matey! Alaska here we come!
DRAMA CRUISE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO from Lethe Press
Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015):
"Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever" "brilliant" Three Books Over the Rainbow
“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don't come more whodunnity than this.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention:
“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino's writing is absolutely flawless. He's a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle's highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation &A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back,Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping OutCozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015, and has won many Rainbow Award Honorable mentions including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press).
Excerpt of DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino, Lethe Press
Noah and I left the lounge and took the all-glass elevator down to the main
level, marveling at the enormous circular marble stairway opposite us.
Noah took my hand and squeezed it. “I’m so glad we’re doing this, Nicky.”
“Whatever floats your boat,” I replied kissing his cheek.
Kissing my sideburn, Noah replied, “You float my boat.”
I grabbed his bottom as we came out of the elevator. “I wonder what
happened to Jeff. We need the star’s confidant character.”
“He probably hasn’t gotten his sea legs yet,” Noah replied with compassion
as usual. “We can check on him later.”
We looked at the various stores, restaurants, and four-piece wind orchestra
“What do you want to do now?” Noah asked.
“You know what I want to do.” I put my arm around Noah’s welcoming
shoulders. “However, I told Martin we would meet him and Ruben at the pool.”
Noah sighed in ecstasy. “Ah, whiling away the afternoon at the pool. I could
get used to this, Nicky.”
We walked up the grand staircase, which rivaled the set from Gone with
the Wind. In our cabin, we changed into bathing suits—form-fitting for Noah
and baggy for me. After a quick elevator ride down, Noah and I sat poolside.
We marveled at the azure sky morphing into the aqua ocean rolling away to the
turquoise pool, all reflected in Noah’s gorgeous eyes.
Noah held my hand. “I feel like I’m in heaven, Nicky.”
“Wherever you are is heaven for me.” I kissed his hand.
“Can we stay here forever?” Noah asked as he settled deeper into his
I sipped my lemonade. “Enjoy it now. Treemeadow College owns us come
“And don’t you forget it.” Martin Anderson served us a late afternoon snack
of triple decker grilled veggie sandwiches with sweet potato fries and spinach
salad from the outdoor buffet. Short, thin, and pushing seventy, my mentor,
department head, and best friend sat on the chaise lounge next to me and
motioned for his husband to join him on the next chaise. Ruben Markinson,
the CEO of a large gay rights organization and Martin’s taller half, followed his
“Don’t you two look spiffy?” I said like a teenage son with his parents on
“What a change to be out in the sun. It’s glorious!” said Martin.
“Amen,” added Ruben.
Martin said, “Though we had to spend a half hour putting on sunscreen.”
Noah and I grinned at Martin and Ruben’s matching attire: enormous
beach hats, floor-length white terry cloth robes, and fluffy slippers.
“Is your cabin all right?” asked Noah, always concerned about others.
“How was lunch in the dining room?” I asked, pulling out Noah’s nuts (the
nuts on his salad—since he’s allergic).
Martin waved our questions away like mosquitoes at a picnic. “Everything
is fine.” His brown eyes doubled in size as he unleashed them behind his giant
sunglasses. “Tell me about the rehearsal.” As producer, Martin was in charge
of approving our contracts with the cruise line and securing our costumes and
props for the dinner theatre production. However, as always, Martin’s main
interest was gossip.
I answered, “Noah is terrific as Cheyenne’s young paramour. Cheyenne is
the perfect temptress of mystery.”
Martin put his small hand over my mouth. “I’m sure everyone is wonderful.”
He slid to the edge of his chaise. “I want the dirt. How are the cast members
getting along…or not getting along?”
When I hesitated, Ruben said, “You’d better tell him, Nicky. If you don’t,
this trip will be hell for me. Besides, you know he’ll get it out of you sooner or
later anyway. So let’s make it sooner and enjoy the beautiful day.” He winked at