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This book is a comic romp that simultaneously celebrates and lampoons a mash-up of genres: the bloodless murders (in this case six) of Agatha Christie and her ilk, the screwball movie mysteries of Nick and Norah Charles (it's Nick and Noah here), and the simile-rich voice-overs of film noir-- all updated for a gay context. Everything is drawn in broad strokes and exaggerated. With such an extensive dramatis personae, the author gives each bodybuilder character hilarious traits that helps the reader sort out who's who (and who's being killed next). It's certainly not subtle, but it's effective. I was especially taken by the twins who could read each other's thoughts, resulting in some hilarious one-sided dialogue.The setting (the New England college of Treemeadow, named after its spindly gay founders, Tree and Meadow) is a hilarious one-note of constantly shifting autumn colors. Repetition is effectively comic, as in the tongue-twisters ("Try saying that three times fast."). As for the writing, it, too, is over the top. Sam Spade-like similes abound: "[He] jumped up like a malaria victim's temperature"; "slower than a priest in altar boys' dressing room"; and so on. The character's name are similarly de trop: to name only two, Nicky Abbondanza (the narrator who boasts of an improbably-sized appendage) and Mickey Minor (the diminutive bodybuilder). Comic writing is difficult, and this author has succeeded on his own terms.

Drama Muscle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #2) by Joe Cosentino
Gay Humor
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (January 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590215664
ISBN-13: 978-1590215661
Amazon: Drama Muscle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #2)
Amazon Kindle: Drama Muscle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #2)

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!

Rainbow Awards Guidelines: http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2016.html

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