Theatre professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls.
Title: Drama Luau: A Nicky and Noah Mystery
Series: Nicky & Noah Mysteries Book 4
Release Date: May 20, 2017
Categories: M/M Romance, Mystery & Detective, Fiction
Theatre professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts 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 fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XNPRYW/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XNPRYW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B06XNPRYW
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B06XNPRYW
Review by Elaine White
Book – Nicky and Noah Mysteries
Author – Joe Cosentino
Series rating: ★★★★☆
Would I read it again – Yes.
Genre – LGBT, Mystery, Romance, Humour, Rom/Com
Book 4: Drama Luau
Star rating: ★★★★★
POV: 1st person
Strangely enough, this one was my favourite of the series. I didn’t think it would be, as it was number four and I’d literally gone from one to four, one after the other, so I expected to be a little over-mysteried and that I’d need a break from the series before I was halfway through. That didn’t happen.
Yes, there are still the same little niggles that have run throughout the series (see series review) but, they weren’t enough to dim the really sweet story and the absolutely adorable Taavi, who stole the show, for me.
I found the mystery much more entertaining this time around, though with the same balance between the murders and Nicky and Noah’s honeymoon (and their time with Taavi) as the previous book, which was great to see. For some reason, there were just as many possibilities here for who the murderer might be, but I found the cast a little more entertaining and natural than some of the others in the series. I can’t really explain it; it’s just how it felt for me.
Of course, Nicky and Noah shone as usual, with their flair for the dramatic and Nicky basking in the limelight. I really loved Mack and Taavi, though Ahe was also interesting, even if he was a much more minor character. Again, it was great having Martin and Ruben back, adding in their support and playing the supporting cast members of their investigation. I was really emotionally connected to Taavi, but equally understood Nicky’s hesitation and concerns. I nearly cried a few times, when Taavi proved just how little he’d been loved.
By far my favourite of the series.
“I brought Taavi back to his room. At the doorway, he paused and turned to face me. “I know you don’t want to adopt me, Nicky. But listen to Noah. I’ll make a good son for you two. And I won’t get in the way. I’ll keep my room neat. Make my own food. Swim with you whenever you want. And hold your hand if you get scared.”
I said, “Taavi, try to understand. There are a lot of things for us to consider. It’s complicated.”
“Not to me.””
“Is it okay if I tuck you in?”
“Tuck me in? My pad is on the lanai,” Taavi said.
I did a double-take. “Nobody’s ever tucked you in before?”
I rearranged the blanket around his tiny shoulders and kisses his forehead. “Sleep well, Taavi.”
“Did you just tuck me in?”
“I liked it.”
“I liked it too.””
The Nicky and Noah Mysteries are great little comedy who-dun-its reminiscent of the old Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple movies. While not taking themselves too seriously, they don’t venture into the slapstick comedy route, either.
The stories deal with a lot of tough subjects, in a way that is open, honest and real. They cover everything from minor characters cheating, crime, the full LGBT spectrum and a character with bipolar, closeted characters marrying and behaving as straight people for the sake of their families, disabilities, sexual assault, as well as hypochondria and alcoholism. All of the characters are diverse, from their sexuality, nationality, race, religion and mental stability; everyone is represented in some way.
The 1st person POV lets us see everything as Nicky sees it and nothing more, leaving a whole lot to explore through the nearly 200 pages of each book. Nicky himself is a fun, slightly sarcastic at times, often self-depreciating (in a light, fun way) character who guides us into and through the minefield of the lives we encounter. His sidekick, Noah, is more than just eye-candy. He’s the encouragement Nicky sometimes needs to push further and use their theatre credits to solve the crimes.
There were only a few things that re-appeared in all the books that didn’t make help them hit that five star mark for me; there were some bracketed explanations and additions, reminiscent to a 1st person narration; there were also few information dumps about the characters looks that weren’t exactly necessary. The story talks to the reader, breaking the fourth wall in a very blatant way, which isn’t something that I’m normally comfortable with, so it took me a while to get used to the idea.
The problems I had were probably due to reading each book one after the other, with no breaks in between. Namely, that each book followed a pattern that became very obvious by book three, making them all thematically similar. For example, the deaths begin in Chapter 1, while introducing a whole host of interesting potential suspects. Then, it’s a matter of one death for each chapter until Chapter 4 and then it becomes more about the investigation, with a few more deaths to come later in the story. There’s also the matter of the stories beginning with Nicky overseeing some dramatic acting scene, then running down how he and Noah are professors, what they do, what they look like and…ahem…how they measure up. There is also a theme of taking digs at televangelists, priests and alter boys, “try saying that three times fast” and such, which are really noticeable when reading them one after another. There’s also at least one homophobic character in each story, who is usually a closeted gay; not to mention that the first person to accost Nicky after he makes his dramatic and public (never learning!) declaration of knowing who did it is always a bluff.
However, I loved the dramatic start to the first story, when it wasn’t so predictable and the rest of the books contained a consistent level of humour. The books never faffed about, leading us astray; we were always drawn into the story right from the start, while being led through with well planned, balanced trail of clues, events and discoveries. The threatre classes and advice, the use of techniques and training are all authentic and really show off Cosentino’s expertise.
As a huge murder mystery fan, I loved that I didn’t know who the murderer was. I had a million guesses and theories about who did it and why and I ended up being wrong, which is great! The crime aspect of the stories had believable complications, twists and turns, and a whole lot of brilliant suspects that had great motives. There was a lot of drama going on, along with a sweet romance every single time. I’ll be on the lookout for Drama Detective, in the future.
About the Author
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 (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi 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. 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. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com