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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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