by Joe Cosentino
“You gotta work it!” Don’t you just love a fashion show? The anticipation in the air, flashing lights, pounding music, enticing runway, gorgeous models, captivating clothes, and revealing costume malfunctions. I find runway shows mesmerizing. So I couldn’t resist setting the tenth novel in my popular Nicky and Noah mystery series during a fashion show.
Witty and wonderful armchair sleuth, Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza, is directing a fashion show for the Fashion Department at Treemeadow College—founded by gay lovers Tree and Meadow. The plan is to showcase the new black leather line by famous fashion designer Ulla Ultimate of Ultimate Fashion (FU for short). The visiting professor’s rebellious son, Treemeadow fashion student Cory Ultimate, is featured as one of the models. The other hot and hunky male student models are feuding exes Shane Buff and Julio Bonero, and picked upon plus-size (Try saying that three times fast at a microphone) model Cosmo Capra. To keep peace in the family (and arsenic out of his oatmeal), Nicky has also cast his handsome husband, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, and their adopted son, Taavi, as models in the show. Of course Nicky’s best friends, Theatre Department Head Martin Anderson and his long suffering spouse Ruben, are producers, with office assistant Shayla Johnson on hand to supply sassy remarks. Nicky’s droll nemesis, Detective Manuello, and Nicky and Noah’s both sets of riotous parents are also along for the rocky ride.
As rehearsals for the show begin, Nicky is “happier than a televangelist buying a mansion and new wig after pledge week.” However, Nicky finds out quickly the runway is a dangerous place as sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps. Nicky and Noah need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before the couple end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer.
Added to the colorful cast of characters are Lila Hekekia, a fashion design student screaming for “religious freedom” as she eyes Ulla’s show for herself. Lila’s pursuit takes a spin when she finds out her current squeeze, Associate Professor of Fashion Design Tyler Greenway, had a questionable past with Ulla. Accident-prone fashion student, Johnny Riley, has a secret known only to muscular stage managing student, Hoss Packer. Businessman Miles Jeffrey has been hired by Ulla to find a husband for Cory, in hopes that her son will finally settle down. Miles finds it to be a difficult task given Cory’s penchant for throwing himself at the other male models. As passions and tempers explode, once again Nicky, Noah, and friends use their theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.
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 facing an altar boy with a robe malfunction.” 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 we 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?
In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year), Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drop like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit.
In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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 (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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 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 street lamps 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 need to 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 (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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 (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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 need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest.
As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. My books are full of them!
It is my joy and pleasure to share this tenth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The runway lights are flashing, the music is pulsating, and the models are ready to enter. Curtain up on the ultimate in fashion, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder!
Drama Runway, the tenth Nicky and Noah mystery, is a comedy/mystery/romance novel by Joe Consentino. The discount pre-order sale is now until August 1…Release day!
It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a runway show for the Fashion Department. Joining him are his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. The show, designed by visiting professor Ulla Ultimate, is bound to be the ultimate event of the season. And bound it is with designs featuring black leather and chains. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah will need to 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. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining tenth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The runway is lighting up with hunky models, volatile designers, bitter exes, newfound lovers, and murder!
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