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

3.6 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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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: 313 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 (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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 "...by 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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Format: Hardcover
Billy Blessing is riding high. He's good-looking, successful and free to play the field. He's also the regular host of a cooking segment, Blessing's in the Kitchen, on the popular morning show "Wake Up, America!" and the owner of a profitable Manhattan bistro. Everything is most definitely going his way. However, there exists a thorn in his side by the name of Rudy Gallagher, his executive producer and general nemesis. Billy has plenty of reasons to dislike Rudy: at the moment, Rudy is dating Billy's ex-girlfriend and forces him to appear on a nonsensical reality show. The man loves to make Billy's life miserable. So it is, when Rudy ends up dead, all signs point to Billy as the culprit.

While Rudy was a general pain, he was certainly not enough of one to inspire murder in Billy. Unfortunately, after a run-in that morning over a new cooking reality show, "Food School 101," Rudy dies from eating poisoned coq au vin from Billy's restaurant. Now, the police are closing down the establishment and rooting through every aspect of Billy's life. Fortunately for Billy, he is not the only one who might have wanted Rudy dead. Such that he was, Rudy made enemies wherever he went, and there were any number of people in the cut-throat world of morning television who might have had enough of his high-handed ways.

However, the people who might have held a grudge against Rudy extend beyond the circle of morning television. Any number of women who are listed in his little black book and rated according to their looks and sexual prowess may have had a problem with Rudy. He has also just come back from an investigative reporting trip to Afghanistan, bringing back much international intrigue with him. How do you begin when there are more people who wanted the victim dead than those who didn't?
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