A big welcome to Joe Cosentino as part of his release of The Player’s Encore.
Interview with Freddy Birtwistle, the leading character in The Player’s Encore, Player Piano Mysteries Book 2, a mystery/romance/fantasy novel by Joe Cosentino.
Freddy, congratulations on the release of your second novel, The Player’s Encore, a new MM mystery/romance/fantasy novel.
Thank you. It’s great to be out of the player piano and back to being a player. And you’re a lalapazaza for asking me to interview.
Since the readers can’t see you, tell them about yourself.
I’m thirty, tall (but somehow I fit inside the Pianola) and lean with slicked-back jet-black hair, violet eyes, high cheekbones, a thin nose, and rosy cheeks. As every man of wealth in the Roaring Twenties, I wear a pinstriped black suit and vest, white silk shirt, and gray suspenders with matching bowtie and silk pocket handkerchief. My shoes are shiny black patent leather with white spats. Andre says I have an alluring and joyous bon vivant personality, and Andre is my blue Serge!
Who were some of your friends when you were alive?
Cole Porter (who wrote “You’re the Top” about me), Irving Berlin (who wrote “Cheek to Cheek” about me) George Gershwin (who wrote “I Got Rhythm” about me), Henry Ford gifted me with cars, and Thomas Edison phoned me for dates constantly. Flo Ziegfeld offered me a theatre. Louie B. Mayer tried to get me to sign a contract with MGM. J. Edgar Hoover, though a drag, followed me. Joan Crawford wanted to bare my children. Tallulah Bankhead nicknamed me “Darling,” and Mae West said of me, “Never mind about the six feet. Let’s talk about the seven inches.” However, I didn’t find true love until I met Andre.
What did you do for a living (no pun intended)?
Anything but work! I was a dewdropper, meaning I accepted the kindness of my wealthy family members and friends. My family had made their fortune in the railroad business, which was dreadfully boring to me. After my wonderful parents and dear younger sister died from the influenza, I inherited the city mansion, country estate, beach house, and Italian villa.
How and when did you die?
I was shot at thirty years old by a misinformed jealous husband—not mine!
How does it feel to be a ghost?
I am definitely light in the loafers.
Tell us about Andre Beaufort.
Andre is twenty-seven years old, tall and thin with amber eyes, dark hair, milk chocolate complexion, and what you would call a cut body and bubble butt. I would call him the bee’s knees! Andre is a grade school music teacher. He found the player piano in the basement of his apartment building—my family’s city mansion. By pedaling the Pianola and playing famous songs of the Roaring Twenties, Andre can summon me. However, only Andre can see me and talk to me. Actually, we do a lot more than talk.
Did you and Andre fall instantly in love?
Not exactly. We got off to a rocky start, but after sharing stories about our lives and cuddling on the chaise, we found our way into each other’s hearts.
How did you two become a ghostly Holmes and earthbound Watson?
Andre and I solved two murder mysteries together—one in my family’s city home and another at my family’s country estate. With each mystery, we fell deeper in love.
What’s special about this book?
Andre and me of course! Also, the two stories include sexy characters, cozy settings in a beach house and Tuscan villa, my unique sense of humor, surprising plot twists and turns, fun red herrings, a touch of drama, a shocking yet justifiable ending, and of course a great deal of sweet romance. And as in The Player book 1, the reader gets two books for the price of one!
This isn’t Joe Cosentino’s first mystery series.
Joe wrote the Nicky and Noah Mysteries series and the Jana Lane Mysteries series, both to great acclaim and popularity. When I whispered my story in Joe’s ear, The Player and now The Player’s Encore were born!
What can we expect in The Player’s Encore?
In part I of The Player’s Encore: The Beach House, I yearn to visit my family’s beach house in Florida. So, Andre and I embark on a vacation to my stunning home which has become a bed and breakfast. Before I can say “zotched,” a young, mysterious houseboy is murdered, the second hunky houseboy to meet the same fate. As it turns out, the suspects are all related to the latest victim: his desk clerk boyfriend, his incredibly handsome cousin who happens to be a doctor, and his feuding parents. Also in the mix are the accountant with slippery books, a studly new houseboy who can’t keep his feather duster in his pants, and a little girl with a secret that changes Andre’s and my lives. Since the detective obsessed with the case has come up with an empty seashell, it’s once again up to lovers Andre and me to find the murderer and save the inn—and ourselves!
In part II: The Villa, Andre and I venture off on a vacation with Andre’s uncle, an ex-priest, to Tuscany, where we stay at an inn that was once my old family villa. Before the sun sets golden on the hills, a young, handsome, wealthy guest is murdered. The suspects are the victim’s distant father who is his competitor in business, a sexy Italian guide with a secret, two hunky gay travelers connected via a travel app, and a straight married couple who appear ready to embark on new sexual conquests. At the same time, I find my deceased sister’s diary and make a surprising discovery that changes my life. When the muscular Italian detective investigating the murder seems lost in his spaghetti, it’s yet again up to Andre and me to solve the mystery and save the day!
Who are the supporting characters in The Player’s Encore?
In Part I at the Key West beach bed and breakfast, we meet hunky houseboys Christian Hart and Nico DeFina, Christian’s parents and his gorgeous cousin Dr. Spencer Hart, Christian’s boyfriend beefy desk clerk Yusef Raji, oily inn manager Troy Grey, and his young daughter Ana Grey. When Christian is murdered, Butch Detective Ken Evans solicits Andre’s help who of course asks for my assistance in catching the murderer.
And in the second story?
In part II in the Tuscan Villa, we meet Andre’s hunky Uncle Darryl right out of the priesthood, the inn’s beefy owner Bartolo Lotto, cute travelling roommates Rai Ming and Felix Gutierrez, young A-lister Colin Maverick and his gray fox father CEO of Maverick Enterprises Julian Maverick, and a straight married couple ready to expand their horizons. Sexy Detective Francesco Ferrari seems more interested in Uncle Darryl and Bartolo Lotto than solving the murder mystery. So, it’s Andre and me to the rescue.
Who is your favorite new character in book 2?
I love them all, but in the first part Yusef Raji is the man everyone would like to marry. In part II, Detective Francesco Ferrari is typically Italian in that he insists upon finishing his lunch before questioning the suspects. Andre’s Uncle Darryl is also a laugh riot in his newly out persona.
Which character do you like the least?
Troy Grey in part I has a lot of secrets up his sleeve. In part II, Julian Maverick is the epitome of the arrogant, privileged elite.
How are the stories cozy?
They take place in a quaint bed and breakfast on the beach and in a gorgeous Tuscan villa overlooking olive orchards, vineyards, lemon trees, and rolling hills kissed by the sun.
Will there be more Player novels?
If the spirit (pun intended) moves me.
How can readers get their hands on The Player’s Encore?
The purchase links are below.
Thank you, Freddy, for interviewing today.
It has been my ghostly pleasure.
I hope everyone will give The Player’s Encore a play. I’m sure, like me, you will fall in love with Andre and have a great deal of fun trying to solve our mysteries. And I love to hear from readers. So go to your magic box and contact Joe. He tells me everything!
THE PLAYER’S ENCORE
Player Piano Mysteries Book 2
a mystery/romance/paranormal novel by JOE COSENTINO
Can a man and a ghost be soulmates? When young music teacher Andre Beaufort unleashed the ghost of dapper Roaring Twenties playboy Freddy Birtwistle from his antique player piano, he never imagined they would fall in love and solve two murder mysteries. Now Freddy yearns to visit his family’s beach house in Florida. So, Andre and Freddy embark on a vacation to the stunning home which has become a bed and breakfast. Before Freddy can say “zotched,” a young, mysterious houseboy is murdered, the second hunky houseboy to meet the same fate. Will Andre and Freddy find the murderer to save the inn—and themselves?
A year later, Andre and Freddy venture off on a vacation with Andre’s uncle, an ex-priest, to Tuscany, staying at an inn which happens to have once been Freddy’s old family villa. Before the sun sets golden on the hills, a handsome young guest is murdered. Will Andre and Freddy uncover the secrets of Freddy’s ancestral home, solve the mystery, and find eternal love?
The Player’s Encore, the second installment in the popular Player Piano Mysteries series by Joe Cosentino, includes two cozy mysteries: The Beach House and The Villa.
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s Books:
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless…will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet.” Urban Book Reviews
“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours….If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys
“In true Joe Cosentino style…this cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay Reviews
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.
E-book and Paperback: 216 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, paranormal, Key West, Tuscany
Cover Art: Fred Wolinsky
Release date: March 15, 2021
Excerpt of The Player’s Encore, Player Piano Mysteries Book 2, by Joe Cosentino:
Bag in hand, I made my way inside the house and down a long white marble hallway. A muscular, young man with olive skin and jet-black hair and eyes stood behind the counter. Offering me a white smile, he said, “Welcome to Apollo Branchus.”
I stood opposite the counter, dropping my bag at my side. “Thank you. I’m Andre Beaufort.”
“I’m Yusef Raji. We spoke on the phone.”
He glanced at his computer screen. “You are registered for room five.”
“The player piano room.”
“You saw our photos online?”
I nodded. “And Ava confirmed it for me on the front porch.”
He rubbed his wide nose. “Ava is a bit precocious. She’s our manager’s daughter.”
“She told me.” I explained, “I’m a grade school teacher. I like talking to kids.”
“What do you teach?”
“Music.” I grinned. “Not math, which was good news for Ava.”
A tall man who appeared to be in his thirties with receding mousy brown hair entered the counter area from a closed door marked “Manager.” “I’m Troy Grey, the manager. I apologize if my daughter bothered you.”
I replied, “It was no bother at all. I enjoyed speaking with Ava. She welcomed me to the inn. Ava seems like a bright little girl.”
Troy offered me a wan smile. “Yes.”
“Mr. Beaufort is registered in room five,” Yusef said.
Troy’s small brown eyes focused on me. “Welcome. I hope you enjoy your stay.” As he exited through the same door, I wondered why Ava’s father wore a violet silk shirt and designer black slacks and she dressed like an urchin.
“Yusef, aren’t you going to introduce me to the new guest?”
I spun around to face a short, very muscular young man with smooth olive skin, curly chestnut hair, and a Roman nose.
Yusef waved toward him. “Andre Beaufort, this is Nico DeFina, our houseboy.”
“Every house needs a boy.” Clad in a skintight cranberry T-shirt and white shorts, Nico aimed his wide pecs and massive bulge in my direction. “Welcome to the bed and breakfast, Andre.”
He licked his full lips like a blood hound spotting a rib roast. “I’ll do my best to make you…comfortable.”
Yusef cleared his throat. “I need to check him in.”
Nico’s sapphire eyes focused back on Yusef. “All right. I’ll check in with you later.” Nico winked at me. “Let me know if you need any checking out after checking in.” He disappeared.
I asked Yusef, “Is he always that friendly?”
“You got away easy. He asked the last guest checking in if he wanted a slab of beef between his buns.”
We shared a laugh.
Yusef glanced back at his computer. “Now, I have your deposit to reserve the room. May I scan your credit card to cover additional expenses?”
I handed him my card. As he scanned it, I asked, “Does the owner live on the premises?”
Yusef shook his head. “But Troy is in regular contact with him.”
“How long have you worked here?”
“How about Troy?”
“Did Ava’s mother work here too…before she passed away?”
“Arabella was the cook.” He grinned. “She was full of life and laughter…until she became ill three years ago. Troy was understandably devastated.”
I nodded. “Life is so fleeting.”
“One of the reasons to take vacations.”
I agreed. “Especially in places as beautiful as this one.”
“Then let’s get you started.” He handed me a key. “This will unlock your room and the front door, which we lock at midnight. The beach outside is private for our guests only. There are beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and bottled water on the front porch.” Yusef’s eyes rested on my biceps and pecs. “You’ll need to bring your own bathing suit.”
I held up my bag. “Not a problem.”
“After travelling, you must be ready for a rest before dinner. The two parlors on this floor are open to guests as is the front porch. Refreshments are served in the back parlor each day at four. Breakfast is served seven-thirty to ten am in the garden room, toward the back of this floor. Through the front sitting room are the stairs to the bedrooms. Your room is the last one on the left.” He glanced at my small bag. “Obviously, you won’t be needing help with your luggage.”
“Do you have any recommendations for dinner?”
He scratched at his thin beard. “There’s a great restaurant just three blocks north of us. They serve local-caught fish and key lime pie made from local limes. The food is amazing.”
“Sounds great.” I grinned. “Thank you for being so helpful.”
He returned the smile. “My pleasure. Enjoy your stay. And please let me know if you need anything.”