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Nicky and Noah Mystery (series) by Joe Cosentino

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Joe Cosentino
1 December 2021
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It’s winter break at Treemeadow College, and Theatre professors and spouses Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, their best friends Martin and Ruben, and their sons Taavi and Ty are starring in a television pilot for the Nicky and Noah Mysteries series based on their first caper, Drama Queen. More is shot than footage as cast members drop like giant flat screen TVs mounted by an intoxicated carpenter.

Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get cancelled. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining thirteenth (yikes!) novel in this delightful series.

So relax on the sofa and reach for the remote. The TV screen is exploding with sexy young heartthrobs, egotistical reality TV show contestants, a soap opera diva, a hot rap singer, and murder!

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Guest Post By Joe Cosentino

As Nicky would say, “I’m happier than an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar during a blackout” that readers still love the Nicky and Noah mystery novels. How did it all begin? As a kid I had terrible insomnia. Believe it or not what finally got me calmed down was reading cozy mysteries. I loved the humor, eccentric characters, quaint locations, exciting clues, tricky red herrings, cagey plot twists and turns, and the surprise endings sending me to blissful dreamland.

Later as a professional actor in film, television, and theatre starring opposite stars like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Jason Robards, and Bruce Willis, I learned that life is truly a stage, and we are all merry players.

Moving on to becoming a college theatre professor and ultimately chair, it was clear to me that a college theatre department is full of mystery, humor, and romance. Between students telling me their latest drama (pun intended), I decided to write a cozy murder mystery novel set at a college theatre department. I never imagined that novel, Drama Queen, would be voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine and would be so popular with readers. Even more shocking was that Drama Queen spawned my twelve additional Nicky and Noah mystery novels to date, winning many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

For those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah (and you should!), it’s 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 (as Nicky would say) “faster than a priest at altar boy induction.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as readers fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series, “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

Many of the novels take place at cozy Treemeadow College (built by gay couple Tree and Meadow), an Edwardian style college in picturesque Vermont. By the thirteenth novel, so many students and faculty members have been murdered, the local Detective Manuello said the college should send a cemetery plot certificate along with the acceptance letter. However, it’s Nicky, Noah, their son Taavi, and Nicky and Noah’s best friends and colleagues Martin and Ruben and their son Ty who solve the murder mysteries. How? By using the business of show to dress up as comical characters for hysterically funny investigative role plays with the unknowing suspects.

In Drama Queen Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it 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. 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/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective 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 “(Is Holmes a Homo?) prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy 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 streetlamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Rounding out the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance during rehearsals of The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow, muscular dance students and faculty cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. In Drama Runway Nicky directs a runway show for the Fashion Department. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer. In Drama Christmas Nicky, Noah, and crew don their gay apparel in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol, entitled Call Me Carol! More than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, our favorite thespians use their drama skills to catch the killer and make the yuletide gay before their Christmas balls get cracked. In Drama Pan the merry theatrical crew at Treemeadow College create an original musical version of Peter Pan entitled, Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Enter the belligerent Couture family of avant-garde technical designers as guest artists. In no time the Coutures are hung out to dry by a mass murderer. For the twelfth time the thick as thieves thespians (Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter) use their drama skills, including playing outrageous characters, to catch the killer before they get thrown to the crocodiles.

Now in the thirteenth novel, Drama TV, the troupe shoot (no pun intended) the pilot episode for a television series based on their first caper, Drama Queen. Where else would they do the television show but cozy Treemeadow College during winter break? Beloved old characters are back, and new characters emerge for mystery, romance, humor, and murder! It will come as no surprise to Nicky and Noah fans that cast members drop like television ratings. Once again, our favorite thespians use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get cancelled.

I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns than (as Nicky would say) “a QAnon member hunting for alien babies.”

I’m more excited (as Nicky would say) “than a closet gay evangelical judge taking away LGBT rights” to share this thirteenth novel in the series with you. So relax on the sofa and reach for the remote. The TV screen is exploding with sexy young heartthrobs, egotistical reality TV show contestants, a soap opera diva, a hot rap singer, and murder!

And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line. I’ll share it with Nicky and Noah!


Smoke, streetlamps, beggars, and ladies of the evening permeate the Victorian London street. A dangerously handsome young man in an expensive suit twirls his dark cape around the shoulders of a beautiful young woman. Her hair and gown are blonde and flowing.

The man’s crystal blue eyes sparkle as he kisses her ivory neck. She reaches for his broad back. He grasps the broach fastened at her neck by a thick ribbon, and he squeezes tighter and tighter. The elated expression on her youthful face transforms to one of abject horror. After she gasps her last breath, the woman lay motionless on the gray cement next to another young woman whose blood trickles from her dark skin onto her burgundy gown. The murderous Adonis flicks back his long dark velvety hair.

After admiring his two victims, he spots his next prey. A smaller and darker man removes his jacket and ruffled white shirt exposing a ripe, muscular chest. As if offering himself as a human sacrifice, he reaches out, resting his hands on the other man’s bulging biceps. After they share a passionate kiss, the taller man retrieves the knife hidden inside his high black boot. He holds it erect and then plunges it into the other man’s side. As the murderer stares down at his third victim, he says, “The Lord is vengeful and strong in wrath. And revenge is oh so sweet.”

The deceased blonde woman sits up and says, “Did my hair and makeup look okay?”

Wiping the blood off her arm, the dark woman asks, “Was Caroline in my light?”

The young male victim rambles to his feet. “Can Cam and I try the kiss again?”

“Cut!” Hello, TV land. It’s Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing and director of theatre, bodybuilding competition, cruise dinner theatre, luau show, film, ballet, modeling runway, and now television. What am I doing directing a television pilot during winter break here at Treemeadow College in picturesque Vermont? A television network made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Literally. My credit card payments were due at the same time as a television network executive saw a play I directed at the college. The plan was hatched for me to direct a television pilot chronicling my first mystery case at the college. As they say, the first is always the most special. Just ask my mother about her oldest boy—me! My first case of twelve so far, Drama Queen, was also unique because it brought me together with my husband, Noah Oliver, Associate Professor of Acting. When five of our professor colleagues dropped faster than the curtain on a David Mamet play for an audience full of nuns, Noah was one of my suspects—which he never lets me forget. (He also never lets me forget my age, forty-five, since he’s a youthful thirty-eight.)

After that first case, Noah became the Watson to my Holmes, the love of my life, my spouse for life, and the co-parent to our adopted son, Taavi. Back to the TV pilot. I cast the best actor I know as myself—me. Noah began drafting divorce papers until I cast him in the appropriate role of himself, Noah Oliver. Our son, definitely an Oliver-Abbondanza, craves the theatrical limelight as well as the detective’s flashlight, making us a three armchair detective family. So Taavi, sixteen, threatened to become a Republican terrorist storming the Capitol if I didn’t cast him in the role of suspect Kyle Samson, Treemeadow College film major. My best friend and Theatre Department Chair, Martin Anderson, was happier than a QAnon member spotting a Jewish laser from outer space when I asked him to write the script and play himself in the TV pilot. Martin’s husband Ruben vowed to hide Martin’s diapers and dentures until I cast Ruben as one of the murder victims. Martin and Ruben’s fifteen-year-old adopted son, Ty, began phoning nursing homes for Martin and Ruben until I cast Ty as theatre major and suspect P.J. Myers. Martin’s secretary, adversary, and confidant, Shayla Johnson, hinted at burning our paychecks, so I cast Shayla in the plum role of herself, Shayla Johnson. Finally, my nemesis, Detective Jose Manuello, bitten by the Treemeadow acting bug in my past shows, talked his way into playing himself. Manuello told me he wanted to be close by when shooting (pardon the pun) wraps, and members of the TV cast and crew are murdered. Oh, Manuello, ye of little faith. It’s an Abbondanza production. They’ll be murdered long before that. Speaking of which, the television network cast professional actors from Los Angeles and New York in the remaining roles, and we lodged the actors in the dormitory on campus. So, like a warning before the Great Hurricane of 1780, the slate board was raised, and we shot first exterior and now interior scenes. This current scene in our ruby theatre documents the Jack the Ripper style play I was directing at Treemeadow College a decade ago, “when I was a hunk.”

“You’re still a hunk to me.” Noah sat in the front-row theatre seat next to mine. His strawberry shampoo made me weak in the knees—which were getting weak anyway.

I pointed to the neck brace under my shirt collar. “I don’t feel like a hunk.”

He kissed the cleft in my chin. “You’ll always be my hunk. No matter how old and feeble you become, Nicky.”

“Thanks, Noah.” I think. True, my Italian-American genes had left me with tight olive skin, a Roman nose, and emerald eyes. Yes, the gym at the college had rewarded me with a muscular body. Of course, my wardrobe (copied by Noah, Taavi, and Ty) of a well-appointed dress shirt, dress slacks, and blazer made me look dashing. And then there is that other tidbit. Well, not exactly a tidbit. More like a titan. Why beat around the bush (no pun intended)? Like a new member of AA who is called to speak first, I’ll come right out and say I have a nearly foot-long penis—flaccid—which thanks to Noah isn’t flaccid very much.

Noah’s azure eyes, milk and honey skin, and radiant blond hair made him the picture of youth. Grr. “I’ll always adore you, Nicky.” He giggled. “Even when you’re old—er.”

I kissed his soft, youthful (grr) cheek.

Noah cooed. “Remember when we first met in this theatre, Nicky?”

“Yes, my graduate assistant, Scotty Bruno, was hot for you.”

“But I chose you, the love of my life. Despite you thinking I was a suspect in the Drama Queen murders.”


Noah rested his head on my shoulder.


“Sorry. How’s your neck, Nicky?”

“Ask the compressed nerves.” I sighed. “It’s no fun growing old.”

“Unless you have someone wonderful to grow old with.”

We started to kiss.

“When do we shoot my scene, Pop?” My son took the other seat next to me.

I turned toward him too quickly. “Ow! You can’t always be on camera, Taavi.”

“Then can I be onstage?” Taavi’s dimples resembled the craters of his homeland Hawaii.

Noah leaned toward our son. “My scene comes first.”

“Help, I’m trapped inside an actor sandwich!” I said.

Noah winked. “You can be the meat, Nicky.”

I whispered in his soft ear, “Later my love.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he whispered back. “Literally.”

“I’m counting on it.”

Taavi’s dark eyes raised to his dark hair. “I can hear that.”

Noah did a doubletake. “How can you hear us whispering, but not shouting for you to go to bed at night?”

“Selective listening,” I explained to Noah.

Taavi cocked his head. “Is that an acting technique like sense memory and emotional recall?”

“For you, yes. And speaking of shouting.” After clearing my throat, I shouted to my cast onstage, “Caroline, Madame, and Tadeo, we can edit out your comments, but for future don’t break character until I call, ‘Cut!’”

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JOE COSENTINO was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel.

He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV;

the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll;

the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando.

His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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