Long and Short Reviews is excited to welcome back Joe Cosentino who is visiting with us to celebrate the release of the fifth book in the Jana Lane mystery series, Rag Doll published by The Wild Rose Press. Enjoy reading this interview with Jana.
Joe: Welcome Jana Lane Otley from RAG DOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery.
Jana: Thank you. Five, wow, I must be getting older.
Joe: You’re still in your prime, Jana Lane. Gorgeous, petite, with long blonde hair, blue eyes, a button nose, and a loving heart for everyone.
Jana: I’m blushing. My life is an open book.
Joe: Speaking of that, tell us about RAG DOLL, your latest mystery.
Jana: With the success of Miami Vice and Murder She Wrote, I was excited when my agent, Simon, told me I would be starring in a new television murder mystery series, The Detective’s Wife. It was quite a surprise when I found out hunky Detective Bove who I met in Washington, DC in SATIN DOLL had become an actor and was playing my husband on the series.
Joe: And rags to riches ingénue Christa Bianca is the guest star for the pilot episode. Jana, you and Christa become fast friends, and wouldn’t you know, there is an attempt on Christa’s life. Before we knew it, murder ensues.
Jana: Christa’s past as a poor, small town girl who the other kids called, Ragdoll, touched my heart. I was incredibly concerned about Christa and those dear to her when it became clear there was a murderer on our set.
Joe: I can’t believe anyone works with you, since you attract murder like cookies to kids.
Jana. Don’t blame me. I’m just a little voice in your head.
Joe: Speaking of voices, who are the suspects besides Bove’s ex, dominatrix Karen, who covets Christa’s role, and Herm the director who is infatuated with Karen?
Jana: Christa’s agent, and her uncle, a put out to pasture character actor, who is also guest-starring on the episode.
Joe: And trying to hold on to Christa’s coattails. Who else is suspect?
Jana: Andrew, Christa’s controlling manager/husband. And two couples playing bit roles who have a personal conflict with Christa and Andrew.
Joe: Don’t forget your son’s nanny and her boyfriend, the mysterious prop master with a secret.
Jana: As in all the Jana Lane mysteries, everyone has a secret in RAG DOLL.
Joe: But Jana Lane exposes them all. Once again The Littlest Detective and School Spy uses her knowledge from her movie roles as America’s biggest ex-child star and figures it all out in a nail-biting climax.
Jana: This one was a bit difficult. The clues didn’t add up, until the final reel.
Joe: For anyone not fortunate enough to read the other Jana Lane mysteries, tell us about America’s most famous ex-child star.
Jana: In PAPER DOLL at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embark on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer. In PORCELAIN DOLL I make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why. My heart is set aflutter by my gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob. In SATIN DOLL my family and I head to Washington, DC, where I play a US senator in a new film, and become embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. I also embark on a flirtation with ex-football player, Detective Bove. And I rub elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. In CHINA DOLL I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by my gorgeous co-star, and faced with murder on stage and off.
Joe: Well done. In addition to making a terrific comeback and solving numerous murder mysteries, you seem to have a lot of flirtations with men, Jana.
Jana: My husband Brian is the only man for me, but you can’t blame a girl for looking.
Joe: In addition to your loyal husband, Brian, your agent Simon has been by your side in each book.
Jana: Simon is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and totally loyal.
Joe: Now Simon is Bove’s agent too. How old is Simon Huckby?
Jana: Simon says he is somewhere between senior citizen and rigor mortis.
Joe: How have the reviews been for the series so far?
Jana: Amazing. I’m so flattered. They like me! They really like me!
Joe: In RAG DOLL do you think Christa Bianca, the ingénue, is based on any young successful actress past or present? How about Christa’s Uncle Nick, the aging character actor?
Jana: Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escapes her impoverished small town life and embarks on a successful film and television career. I’m sure there are many young actresses like her, past and present. In our youth-oriented society, there are also many aging character actors put out to pasture before their time. The interesting thing about Nicholas Hartford is how his niece looked up to him when she was a child, and now he looks up to her—hoping to ride on her coattails back to the top. I think we’ve seen that happen in a number of show business families.
Joe: You are interviewed by a very funny, aging, gossipy female television interviewer in RAG DOLL. Is Harriet Hologram representative of Barbara Walters, do you think?
Jana: I believe there are many television reporters and interviewers who wield their power over celebrities. I see it as a love/hate relationship, where both interviewer and star need each other to promote their work and their careers. It’s a shame the process needs to be so hurtful. I believe that is stoked by many viewers’ interest in celebrities’ health crises, divorces, bad reviews, and other misfortunes. I have a question for you now. I open the Jana Lane AIDS Foundation in this novel. Was that patterned after Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation?
Joe: Though Jana Lane is quite different from Elizabeth Taylor, like the great actress and humanitarian of yore, Jana, you are one of the very few celebrities to pick up the banner and raise money for treatment and a cure while our government representatives ignore the crisis that affected millions of Americans. And in this novel you are again confronted by a character who uses his religious beliefs to attack the rights of others. Do you think Christians will be offended by your reaction to Andrew Bianca’s verbal attacks on your gay co-stars, Jana?
Jana: I sure hope not. I’m a Christian who tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and I try to help the downtrodden and outcasts. Freedom of religion means the freedom to worship as you choose, not try to take away the civil rights or self-worth of others.
Joe: I find it fascinating how you use the skills you learned as a child star to solve the crimes. How do you remember all of your old movies, Jana?
Jana: Simon never lets me forget. Besides, you keep a notebook full of notes, Joe.
Joe: Is it fun living in 1985 in RAG DOLL?
Jana: I love the hairstyles, clothing, makeup, music, movies, television shows, and dances. You should see Bove in his parachute pants, colored T-shirt, and white jacket.
Joe: I like how you play fair in your mysteries, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.
Jana: I agree! You are definitely the man behind the woman. Why not tell them about your other mystery series too?
Joe: You twisted my arm. In the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press, each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.
Jana: He also has his MM romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. Finally, there is the MM beach series: COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.
Joe: Who is the ideal reader of the Jana Lane mysteries?
Jana: A lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.
Joe: How can your readers contact you?
Jana: Through you of course. You tell me everything.
Murder, romance, and scandal on and off the set of Jana Lane’s new murder mystery television show. America’s most famous ex-child star Jana Lane is starring in The Detective’s Wife, a murder mystery television show in 1985. Guest starring on the show is Christa Bianca, a rags-to-riches ingénue who has flooded the entertainment press. Life imitates television as cast members are murdered, and once again it’s up to Jana, along with sexy ex-detective Chris Bove, to save the day before the lights fade to black.
Praise for CHINA DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:
“Set on Broadway in 1984, “China Doll”…combines plenty of drama with a mystery complex enough to keep the reader guessing. Every member of the cast has not only some depth but intertwining romance and quirk to spare. The romance surrounding Jana as she struggles between remaining faithful to her husband and the feelings that stir around Peter will leave the reader torn until the end. With a smooth pace, intriguing mystery, and plenty of danger…An excellent read for lovers of mystery and drama!” Ind’Tale Magazine
“Joe Cosentino never disappoints…his novels are superb. I find myself addicted to each story that he writes, and once he writes a new book the characters end up being added to my all-time favorite lists. There’s plenty of action, intrigue, and murder to go around. A talented writer whose words constantly draw me in every time. I look forward to the next masterfully woven story in this series. Jana Lane is definitely a new female sleuth that should be on everyone’s reading list. I highly recommend China Doll to readers worldwide.” Urban Book Reviews
Praise for SATIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:
“A book that will captivate any reader! A page turner that won’t let you go! This is one author you can always depend on to publish a good read!!” Stormy Nights Reviewing
“Joe Cosentino is a brilliant mastermind when creating the perfect mystery series. In each novel in this intriguing series of his, Jana Lane Mysteries, readers are blown away by his writing. The instant readers jump into Joe Cosentino’s fictional world, the danger feels real, the suspense is killing, and the plot moves so fast. Action, lights, camera!” “A fast-paced murder mystery that readers will easily fall in love with…and one they can’t live without. Overall, I highly recommend this new title in the Jana Lane Mysteries and look forward to the next best adventure from Joe Cosentino.” Urban Book Reviews
Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:
“Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine
“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews
“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can’t put it down.” Urban Book Reviews
“Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets.” “The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine
Praises for PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery:
“Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction
“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews
“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews
“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Urban Book Reviews
“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Jana and Bove did the scene again with a thin piece of gauze over the camera lens aimed at Jana.
Ah, the plight of a middle-aged actress.
Jana felt even better about that take. Their relationship worked, and the energy bounced back and forth between them almost effortlessly. Again Jana wondered what it would be like sharing her days with Bove and kissing Bove in bed before sleep each night.
Herm’s call for action brought Jana back to the scene. Bove’s close-up was even better than the first two takes. It was as if they had been married for years with an easygoing yet emotional rapport.
“Good job, partner.”
Bove smiled at Jana. “Right back at you.”
As she started to rise from the bed, Jana spotted Christa in the distance with a look of horror on her face.
The young woman screamed as a lighting screen headed straight for her. Stu Silverman, standing next to Christa, noticed and pushed Christa out of the way in the nick of time. The screen crashed to the floor inches away from Christa’s feet. Standing on the other side of her, Andrew Bianca took his wife in his arms, and she wept on his shoulder.
Bove whispered to Jana, “Here we go again.”
About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise and Drama Luau (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and the upcoming Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). As an actor, he has appeared in principal 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 head of the department/professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com