The Player by Joe Cosentino

Dreamspinner Press readers know me for my quirky sense of humor, unconventional romance stories, and lovable contemporary characters that come from the heart. Though I have my popular Nicky and Noah mystery series and Jana Lane mystery series, The Player enters new territory for me with my first mystery for Dreamspinner Press, and my first ghost character ever! And what a mystery and character! The story has all the elements of an Agatha Christie novel: cozy setting, quaint characters, clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and a surprise but satisfying HEA ending. It also has my offbeat sense of humor, lots of MM romance, dreamy characters, and the sexiest ghost in print.

The idea came to me when I visited a little antique stop upstate New York, where I found an old player piano. I couldn’t resist sitting down on the bench and pedaling George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” from 1926. As I heard the famous song, I imagined who might have been the original owner of the Pianola. Since player pianos were popular with the wealthy jetsetters in the Roaring Twenties, I decided the owner was a dapper player (in more ways than one) and socialite from a family who made their fortune in the railroads. I named my character Freddy Birtwistle and envisioned him as tall and lean with slicked-back jet-black hair, violet eyes, high cheekbones, a thin nose, and rosy cheeks. True to the period, he was meticulously dressed in a pinstriped black suit and vest, white silk shirt, and gray suspenders with matching bowtie and silk pocket handkerchief. His shoes were shiny black patent leather with white spats. Freddy had a joyous bon vivant personality. I decided that Freddy was shot at thirty by a misinformed, incredibly wealthy, jealous husband of a socialite. Sadly, Freddy had died having never found true love. I had to rectify that!

Next, I decided a young, gay, mixed race, grade school music teacher named Andre Beaufort would find the player piano in his basement. By playing it, Andre would bring back the ghost of Freddy Birtwistle, the original owner of the house. The two men would get off to a rocky start, but eventually they would become lovers, a la a ghostly Holmes and earthbound Watson, solving murder mysteries. As Freddy would say, “That’s the bee’s knees!”

Since the Dreamspinner Press readers are so loyal and wonderful, I decided to offer them a special gift with The Player: two books for the price of one! In Part I: The City House, Andre and Freddy meet in Andre’s Hoboken, New Jersey Art Deco apartment building that was previously Freddy’s family home. There they fall in love and solve the mystery of who killed Andre’s neighbor. In Part II: The Country House, Andre and Freddy fall deeper in love as they travel to Freddy’s old country home in Cold Spring, New York, now an inn, and solve the mystery of who killed the inn’s owner. 

I hope everyone will give The Player a play. I’m sure, like Andre and like me, you will fall in love with Freddy and have a great deal of fun trying to solve these two enticingly cozy mysteries. And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line at

a paranormal romantic mystery novel by JOE COSENTINO

Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble

When young music teacher Andre Beaufort discovers an antique player piano in the basement of his apartment building, he is visited by the ghost of the original owner: a dapper and charismatic playboy from the Roaring Twenties, Freddy Birtwistle. 

Andre has never seen a ghost and Freddy has never been one, so they get off to a rocky start. But when Andre finds his neighbor murdered on his doorstep, he and Freddy join forces to narrow the pool of suspects.

Soon Andre and Freddy discover that opposites attract, even if one’s alive and the other dead. Together these amateur detectives make an enticing team, and it’s a good thing too, because the first murder they solve together won’t be their last. But the real mystery isn’t just whodunit—it’s how a romance between a man and a ghost can have a happily ever after ending.

The Player contains two stand-alone cozy murder mysteries, The City House and The Country House

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

Author Bio:

Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Dreamspinner Press stories: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando, The Player Piano Mysteries: The Player/The Player’s Encore; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. 

Web site: 

Excerpt of The Player, Player Piano Mysteries Book 1, by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press:

After they were gone, I cleared the table, did the dishes, and made my way through the living room to the balcony door. Once outside, I enjoyed my favorite time of day—sunset. The sky swirled bursts of scarlet and amethyst, as if the sky gods were modern artists. I glanced over at the balcony of 3B next door and couldn’t help noticing Leander Bryce inside conducting his usual nightly routine. He was quite muscular, with auburn hair and beard and a prominent nose. Wearing only boxers and a white T-shirt, the thirty-three-year-old college film professor cleaned the lenses of his cameras. Then I enjoyed watching him complete a series of exercises with hand weights: squats, curls, reverse curls, bent-over row, flies, and dead lift. As usual, he smiled and waved, and I happily returned both. Though we weren’t friends, Leander was a pleasant, quiet neighbor. Not to mention, he was incredibly hot. I enjoyed watching him, and he seemed to enjoy watching me enjoying him.

Since the sky had turned cobalt, I stepped back inside my apartment and finally had the opportunity to play my pianola. Sitting on the bench, I placed my feet on the pedals and pushed down. The 1924 Gershwin song, “Someone to Watch Over Me,” filled the room. At the last verse, the room suddenly became ice-cold. The lights flickered, and the smell of champagne permeated the air around me. I shot up from my seat in fear. As I raced toward the front door, I heard a silky masculine voice behind me. “What are you doing in my house?”

The room spun around me as tiny silver stars in my eyes turned to blackness.

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