Entertainment » Books

Drama Dance

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Aug 8, 2019
Drama Dance

Not since Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn sold their souls for eternal youth has death been so becoming, and Nicky and Noah wouldn't have in any other way.

In "Drama Dance," Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, the married drama professors from Treemeadow College in Vermont, are back for their eighth sleuthing adventure, and author Joe Cosentino has crafted yet another cast of colorful, quixotic and deliciously catty characters, each of whom desperately tries to take center stage - and, in some cases, dies trying.

The usual players are present, including theater department head and master of disguises, Martin Anderson; his husband, Ruben Markinson; and Taavi Kapule, Nicky and Noah's stagestruck son.

After having conquered the Broadway stage and silver screen, Nicky and Noah are back at their old stomping ground, gearing up for a holiday production of "The Nutcracker," where the dance steps pale in comparison to the ensuing drama among the company.

The list of actual suspects and potential victims begins with the right-wing leaning Professor of Ballet, Anya Nikolaev Dietrich, and her philandering husband, Otto Dietrich, the show's choreographer. Additional faculty members with suspicious or complicated pasts include jazz dancer Naabih Bahri and professor of tap, Duffy O'Donnell.

Of course, there are the anxious, overzealous students determined to make names for themselves, no matter what the cost. Thomas Bighorn, playing the Nutcracker, locks horns with his understudy, the closeted Piero Lamas. Piero's sister, Caterina, is preparing for the lead female role of Clara when she isn't tucking away tips as an exotic dancer. Liz Canton, Clara's understudy, has taken a vow of chastity, while chatty stage manager, Nate Owen, has developed a soft spot (ahem) for Piero.

As the body count rises, the inimitable Detective Jose Manuello tries in vain to make sense of it all, meanwhile, investigative reporter, Rose Carlyle, is always ready with her camera rolling and microphone in hand.

Unless you're new to the Nicky and Noah murder mystery series, the reader knows what to expect, like Cosentino's delightfully and dutifully detailed, trademark descriptions of food, fashion, and sex, as well as his spot-on similes (as rampant as a certain someone's racist tweets) and unrelenting alliterations (perfectly pointed and placed).

Considering "The Nutcracker" is a holiday show, Cosentino offers a refreshing break from the summer heat and invites you to cool off in Vermont with the welcoming company of Nicky, Noah, and Taavi.

"Drama Dance"
By Joe Cosentino

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

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