Review: Gay Murder Mystery 'Drama Daddy' Keeps the Laughs, and Suspects, Coming

Christopher Verleger READ TIME: 2 MIN.

In "Drama Daddy," the 17th installment of author Joe Cosentino's audacious Nicky and Noah murder mystery series, the animated members of the theater faculty and staff at Vermont's Treemeadow College rewrite history with their musical "I Do Declare," a campy, unconventional retelling of our nation's independence.

Hunky professor Nicky Abbondanza does double duty as director while portraying John Adams, and his handsome younger husband, fellow professor Noah Oliver, has been cast as Thomas Jefferson. The playwright and department chair, Martin Anderson, plays Abigail Adams, and his other half, Ruben Markinson, takes on the role of Benjamin Franklin. With sample song titles like "Give Me Some Sugar, Sugar" and "Let's French Kiss," little (albeit plenty) is left to the imagination in this provocative production.

With the show about to open, a frazzled Nicky is on the brink of insanity as he tries to maintain some semblance of order among the cast and crew. Although expected, it certainly doesn't help when an actor, evangelical music professor, Hank Tobias, is murdered. What comes as a major surprise is Hank being the only victim, since previous theater seasons at Treemeadow College typically result in a higher body count.

While the incompetent Detective Jose Manuello sits idly by, Nicky, Noah, and company enact their customary unorthodox sleuthing methods (eavesdropping, role playing) to gather evidence and identify the killer. The list of dubious suspects in their path includes Adrienne Rambo, a freshman with a violent history; Juniors Hector Alvarez, Philippe Laurent, and graduate assistant Sami Zaman, who Hank either bullied or harassed; and Haku Yamato, an assistant professor whose tenure track was usurped by the deceased.

As usual, it is a veritable race to the finish until the guilty party is revealed, but not without Cosentino's trademark wisecracks, ingenious analogies and romantic affairs. As a proclaimed novelette, "Drama Daddy" is shorter in page length than the other series' entries, but no less clever or enjoyable, and equally satisfying for fans. Readers are strongly advised to revel in Nicky and Noah's latest antics since their next adventure, according to the author, may very well be the last.

"Drama Daddy: A Nicky and Noah Novelette" by Joe Cosentino is available now.

by Christopher Verleger

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.

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