Entertainment » Reviews

Drama Luau

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday May 23, 2017
Drama Luau

Newlyweds and amateur sleuths Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver return for another murderous adventure, this time on their honeymoon, in "Drama Luau," the fourth volume in the award-winning Nicky and Noah mystery series from author Joe Cosentino, where romance blooms, scandal erupts, and hula dancers drop like flies.

Treemeadow College theater professors Nicky and Noah are spending their honeymoon at the Maui Mist resort in Hawaii, accompanied by their best friends, fellow professor and department head, Martin Anderson, and his husband, Ruben Markinson. In exchange for the free vacation, the newlyweds agree to direct and choreograph a nightly luau show for the resort guests.

Competition among the show's five male dancers - Ahe, Ak, Kal, Keanu and Kimu - is evidently fierce, so when they start disappearing one by one, Nicky believes there is a murderer on the loose at the resort. With no bodies to be found, detectives John Nohea and Kekeo Kama try to refute his claim and treat each incident as a missing person case, so Nicky takes it upon himself to do his own investigative work.

The ever-growing list of suspects includes Lani Palakiko, the mystical housekeeper who recruited each of the dancers, Mark Iona, a waiter with dancing aspirations who desperately wants to join the show, antigay fundamentalists Mano and Joanna Kapena, the resort's owner and his Senator wife, and Akela Keawe, a waitress studying to be a police officer.

This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm. Essentially everyone, including the missing dancers themselves, has a motive, and the always determined Nicky leaves no stone unturned, even if it means placing his husband and colleagues in garish disguise to help collect clues and evidence.

While Nicky is busy playing Poirot, his beloved becomes acquainted with Taavi, Lani's young nephew, seemingly in need of a father (or any parental) figure, which Noah is more than willing to provide. Although the details of Taavi's background are sobering, his interaction with Nicky and Noah is a tender, welcome respite from the suspicious, criminal activity taking place all around them.

As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end, and some of what he discovers is beyond belief--which makes it all the more fun. The murder mystery makes for a veritable feast of innuendo and intrigue, while the storyline involving Taavi is both endearing and uplifting. Most importantly, we can rest assured this won't be the last we've heard from Nicky and Noah.

"Drama Luau: A Nicky and Noah Mystery"
By Joe Cosentino

A native New Yorker who called New England home for almost three decades, Chris is an aspiring author who now lives in sunny Florida. Email him at cwverleger1971@yahoo.com


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