It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah's parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky's suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body.
You will be applauding and shouting "bravo" for Joe Cosentino's fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!
©2016 Joe Cosentino (P)2017 Joe Cosentino
Narration: The narrator for Drama Muscle wasn’t the same one from the first book, and I hadn’t heard anything else from him before. However, I think he did a great job narrating. He really allowed the humor that the author writes with to come through in his narration.
Story: I am a pretty big fan of gay mysteries or mysteries that drive a plot in m/m romance. As far as the mystery writing, I think this author did a great job. Nicky and Noah make up the main couple of the story but there are other pairings among the supporting characters. There is sex but it’s not explicit so I really feel this story lends itself to gay fiction and less romance.
The story is told from Nicky’s viewpoint and the humor is very tongue in cheek. I don’t know if the author writes that way in all his books or if it is a trademark of Nicky’s personality. Sometimes he could come off as obtuse, but other times he was very observant. Noah is a character I really like, but in this book I had some concerns with his commitment to Nicky. There were moments that I was worried about the main characters. I did like some of the comical aspects but for me the author used too many similes, especially ones involving priests and altar boys. On a purely personal level I don’t care for that kind of humor, but others might very well enjoy it.
Even though Nicky and Noah work in the college drama department, they end up helping the athletic department with the annual body building competition to add more flair to the event. When one of the competitors ends up dead, the suspects are numerous. The students and mentors in the program all have quite a few sketchy dealings. Affairs are being had and some are playing favorites. The only way to eliminate some of the suspects is when they are found as dead as the first victim. I had my suspicions and really enjoyed solving the crime alongside Nicky and Noah.
The mystery in this story was the highlight for me. I also liked Nicky and Noah working through problems that arose for them in this book. The humor was hit or miss but overall with the narration, I really enjoyed listening. I would recommend the story especially to others who enjoy sleuthing in their books.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
An audio code was provided in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book when I read it, and loved it even more when listening to it with Chip Hurley's narration.
Joe Cosentino has such a unique and refreshing way of melding interesting characters, hysterical humor, and an intriguing mystery plot. It is over-the-top farce, yet grounded enough to make you care about the people and the situation. Settled in their relationship (or are they?), Nicky and Noah now try to solve the mystery of who is murdering the students and faculty in the PE department. Nicky is directing the body building competition, giving it an air of theatricality, and one by one, the cast keeps shrinking (and so does the faculty). My favorite characters were Noah's parents, who are hysterical. The mystery plot really adds up to a satisfying ending. Though I didn't guess it until very close to the end, the clues were all there -- just cleverly disguised with misdirection.
Chip Hurley does a masterful job at creating the colorful cast of characters, and capturing the humor in the story. It really brings the book to life. I didn't want to put it down!
I read the book and loved it, so I thought it would be like having my own inside man, knowing exactly what to expect with no surprises, right? WRONG. The surprise was Chip Hurley.
He was just so phenomenally good in giving me the ultimate connection that he delivered when following Nicky and Noah in their sleuthing exploits.
So how do you explain the audio version of the marvellous Drama Muscle by Joe Cosentino??? Well. I think saying that it's a clever and very imaginative mystery frolic, with Nicky and Noah being the main "frolicers" (try saying that 3 times fast) is a very good start.
It was a laugh-a-thong from start to finish and as I have already stated, Chip Hurley deserves full credit for making it so. His narration, with the clever use of various vocal pitches was masterful and his comic timing spot-on. He went from a warm to a strident tone with such ease, I was in awe and made it a joy to listen too. You get so lost in the storyline that you forget that it's only one narrator playing all the parts.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way he portrayed Nicky and Noah but for me, his portrayal of the arrogant/vainglorious Van Granite stole the show.
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