Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a historical film at a castle in Scotland, co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, and their son Taavi. When historical accuracy disappears along with hunky men in kilts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is pitching residents of Conall Castle off the drawbridge and into the moat, before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining seventh novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on steep cliffs, ancient turrets, stormy seas, misty moors, manly men, malfunctioning kilts, and murder!
Drama Castle is the seventh Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino and I have to admit, probably my least favorite. By traveling to Scotland and entering a castle/hotel situated over the cliffs and misty moors this jaunty crew lost its dramatic over the top edge that makes it so much fun! It got bogged down by too many unpleasant characters, who admittedly ended up dead, but they still spent a lot of time on the page.
We got a lot of who married who, who was have affairs with who, who had kids with who but none of it carried the usual spark and sparkle. Where oh where was the pizazz? The dancing numbers? Oh wait this was an historical film so that was out. Nicky felt out of his element for most of the story, even calling his brother, a choreographer on Broadway to complain, who said they should beat it home. And we got it.
This group needs to be home or one a cruise line, or NYC, or somewhere that can launch a drag queen murder or four, a gun that might shoot glitter or a speargun. Something way over the top. Nary a ghost appeared here. What happened was sort of, well, conventional. That’s not a word I normally use in a Nicky and Noah novel.
Thank goodness for Martin and Ruben, the delightfully snarky older married couple that accompanied Nicky and Noah from the college almost every mystery. They are truly the highlight here for me.
“Come on, Martin” Ruben grabbed his arm. “I want to be first on line at the buffet, so I can eat and go to bed at a decent hour.”
Martin followed his husband. “I miss the old days when I danced until dawn and then wrote of my suitors in my diary.”
“Nostalgic for the hieroglyphics, Martin?” said Ruben.
Their affectionate grumbling, and snarking at each other were the gems that continued to pull me through the story when it threatened to bog down yet again. That along with Noah’s parents.
A couple more things. Taavi has been their son for a while now, so I wish the “adopted” would get dropped except as part of the beginning exposition. Using another adopted child name as a continued “laugh/jib element” by calling them Dung? Didn’t strike me as funny so much as borderline racist which I’m sure was not Cosentino’s intent. And finally for someone who has traveled as widely as this author has, I was taken aback to see in one of the opening the sentences the comparison of a character’s golden hair to heather. Heather is many colors, from purple to a whitish pink. But not yellow or gold. The author might have been thinking of gorse, a common golden flower found in the highlands. Definitely not heather.
That’s just the way the entire book went, just off enough in places that you were left wondering why you didn’t enjoy it more.
For a true pizazzy, high kick, go all out mystery, pick up any of the previous stories in this series. I would leave this one to Scotland.
Cover art is in the style of the series.
Sales Link: Amazon preorder
Expected publication: February 1st 2019 by Joe Cosentino
Series Nicky and Noah Mystery #7