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The Morning Show Murders: A Novel Hardcover – November 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roker (Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue) teams with Lochte (Sleeping Dog) on a solid, exciting crime novel that revolves around a fictional TV program much like NBC's The Today Show. Billy Blessing, a New York City celebrity chef who owns a restaurant and does a variety of segments on Wake Up, America!, has just begun filming a reality food show when he becomes a suspect in a murder case after Rudy Gallagher, Blessing's executive producer on the show with whom he has clashed, dies after eating some poisoned coq au vin from Blessing's restaurant. When the Manhattan DA shut downs the restaurant and Gallagher's replacement suspends him from his main television gig, Blessing turns sleuth. The gold standard for investigating network TV skullduggery is still the late William DeAndrea's Matt Cobb series (Killed in the Ratings, etc.), but snappy prose and well-developed characters will leave readers wanting to see more of Blessing. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Weatherman Roker is the latest celebrity to pen a mystery thriller, and it is a surprisingly engaging one (thanks, in part, to the work of coauthor and genre veteran Lochte). The hero is Chef Billy Blessing, food anchor for the fictional morning show Wake Up America! and owner of a very successful Manhattan bistro. After the mysterious death of one of the network’s executives, Billy’s life takes a dangerous turn. Not only is he suspected of murdering the exec with a poisoned coq au vin but it quickly becomes clear that an international assassin has his sights set on Billy, prompting the chef to do his own investigating. Roker, with the help of Lochte, writes engagingly and, of course, knowledgeably about network television. But his other interests (in food and cartooning, for example) are also seamlessly integrated into the plot. Roker’s trademark humor is in ample evidence, but there is plenty of action, too: a car-chase scene through the Lincoln Tunnel is remarkably vivid and true to life. Good fun for Roker’s followers and cozy fans. --Judy Coon

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038534368X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385343688
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By a VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reading this book felt, for me, like reading a novelization of a made-for-TV murder mystery circa 1986. In style, tone, and characterization--really everything except the rather persistent pop culture references--Al Roker's "The Morning Show Murders" harkens back to Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Father Dowling, and other classic TV fare: a bit of murder and intrigue, all handled fairly comically, with a large cast of unique personalities in a pretty unrealistic situation.

Who can protest a cast of major and minor characters which includes a celebrity chef, an all-business TV executive, a security guard named after Andy Warhol, a mysterious all-knowing Yoda-like figure in a track suit, an obnoxious restaurant hostess, a lesbian comic book artist, a couple gruff and clueless cops, an ex-terrorist-turned-bestselling-author, and, of course, a faceless and legendary international assassin who leaves drawings behind at murder scenes? Yes, they're all packed in here pretty tightly, and I give this novel four big stars for sheer zany fun, even though, in the end, it's a bit like a cross-country road trip: plenty to see along the way, but nothing really matters much till you reach your destination. Clues, and characters, are introduced and come and go, and in the end, as usual, an amateurish detective finds a single, subtle clue that wraps everything up with a neat little bow. But, you know, I expected nothing less. This would be a great read on the beach or on an airplane. Just don't expect to remember any of it once you close the book.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read dozens, maybe hundreds of mystery novels. I've certainly reviewed my fair share of cookbooks, too. So how could I _not_ be interested in a mystery novel featuring a celebrity chef who finds himself the chief suspect when his TV producer is killed? When I saw the book among my Amazon Vine options, I grabbed it.

It's easy to write a review for a 5-star book; there's plenty to gush about. It's also easy to write a 1-star review because the faults are so many. But the 3-star reviews are painful. This isn't a bad book. Not at all. If you read it, I expect that you will finish it, and the story will keep your attention all the way through. You might even chuckle a few times. But Al Roker's foray into fiction isn't at all wonderful, not in any way. It's just... okay. The mystery is a bit contrived, but I can forgive that. This is meant to be a fun mystery, not deep literature. (Though I sure laughed more at Marshall Karp's Flipping Out.)

Foodies be warned: this isn't a mystery novel where food or even eating is a major part of the story. For the most part, the chef-ingredients are just set dressing. Chef Billy Blessing (our hero) does cook a few meals here and there, but they are no more detailed than you'd find on a restaurant menu. Such as, the music had finished " the time I laid out the lamb en croute on the dinner table along with potato-leek soup, hot dinner rolls, and to slosh it all down, a tasty, Bordeaux-styled Corbieres." If you're looking for cooking techniques or recipes befitting a celebrity chef, you're out of luck. That's a minor disappointment -- but not a big problem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Very few are as familiar with the ins, outs, and roundabouts of morning TV as is popular weatherman Al Roker. What few knew until recently was that he's not only engaging on camera but also an accomplished author ( Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures In Fatherhood, and several cookbooks.) Add to that description a smart fellow because when he decided to turn his pen to a mystery he wrote about what he knew - choosing as his protagonist Chef Billy Blessing who tantalizes viewers tastebuds each morning on Wake Up America!

It's a delicious treat to read Roker's book because of his ingenious use of and references to real people, places and programs. This gambit leaves readers wondering what is fact and what is fiction while enjoying every page. Don't know whether or not American Idol, Charles Gibson, Clint Eastwood, etc. enjoy their mentions, but readers surely will.

How's this for an opening line, "The big guy lumbered toward me, waving the cleaver. Weeping like a baby."? Roker pulls us in on page 1 and keeps us guessing until page 312.

Between his gigs on Wake Up America and running a vaunted NYC restaurant Chef Billy Blessing has been in tall cotton. Ooops, when the show's producer is murdered and his untimely departure is found to have been caused by coq au vin from Billy's restaurant, who is the prime suspect? None other than charming Billy. Producer Gallagher left behind a little black book filled with names and had recently been to Afghanistan, Kabul "to oversee a week of live evening news broadcasts." While there a man sharing a dinner table was murdered, his throat cut. Unwittingly Gallagher had become privy to dangerous, tightly guarded information. Worth murdering to keep secret?
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