The Morning Show Murders (Billy Blessing Series #1)

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"Network TV can be murder. Just ask Billy Blessing, famous for his smile, charm, and ability to survive the shark tank that is high-stakes morning TV. But though Billy has outlived his fair share of prima-donnas, his cooking segment on Wake Up America! is a staple of the American diet, and his Manhattan bistro is a mega-success, his career has just taken a very dangerous turn: His show's perky cohost, Gin McCauley, has launched into some brass-knuckles contract negotiations. A visiting Mossad agent is about to tell all on the air. And then the

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The Morning Show Murders (Billy Blessing Series #1)

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"Network TV can be murder. Just ask Billy Blessing, famous for his smile, charm, and ability to survive the shark tank that is high-stakes morning TV. But though Billy has outlived his fair share of prima-donnas, his cooking segment on Wake Up America! is a staple of the American diet, and his Manhattan bistro is a mega-success, his career has just taken a very dangerous turn: His show's perky cohost, Gin McCauley, has launched into some brass-knuckles contract negotiations. A visiting Mossad agent is about to tell all on the air. And then the network's head honcho is murdered in his luxury apartment, and an ambitious D.A. decides that Billy is to blame." Forensics show that Gerry Gallagher was poisoned and that the fatal coq au vin came from Billy's restaurant. Gerry had an impressive list of women in his black book - and a news assignment in Afghanistan had plunged the TV exec into the heart of a violent international secret. Now unsavory characters are coming out of the woodwork, and another murder strikes the show's inner circle. Billy knows that someone's trying to frame him. He also knows that a ruthless international assassin has just arrived in New York City. And suddenly, for the most trusted guy on TV the ultimate career move is not about ratings. It's about staying alive - and stopping the next murder from becoming tomorrow's breaking news.

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Kirkus Reviews
NBC's Today Show weather anchor debuts with a crisp puzzler played out on and off the set of an early-morning news show. Chef Billy Blessing is well-named. His upscale New York eatery is booked solid, and he has his own show, Blessing's in the Kitchen, on the Wine and Dine Cable Network, plus a regular spot on Wake Up! America. But his charmed life screeches to a halt when his producer dies after eating a poisoned dinner from Blessing's Bistro. NYPD's Detective Solomon, who thinks of coq au vin as chicken with gravy, shuts down Blessing's joint, letting him know that even though Billy quarreled with Rudy shortly before his demise, and even though Rudy was canoodling with Billy's old squeeze, TV exec Gretchen Di Voss, Billy isn't his only suspect-just his main suspect. But Chef Billy isn't addled by too much sauce bearnaise; he knows that Rudy was in Iraq when a mercenary from Touchstone Security was killed in a Baghdad bar. Cameraman Phil Bruno has some tape of the fight, but before he can pass it to Billy and his Wake Up! costar Gin McCauley, Phil's Meatpacking District loft goes up in flames. Crude drawings left at the scene point to the work of Felix the Cat, a shadowy assassin who hits targets worldwide. What brings Felix to New York is a secret only Billy's Sabatier-sharp mind can penetrate. Crackling dialogue and well-crafted settings lift Roker's initial collaboration with veteran Lochte (Croaked!, 2007, etc.) above the typical celeb roman-a-clef.
From the Publisher
“This is a funny, funny, very funny mystery that really gallops along and has several cool twists. Maybe Al Roker should quit his day job.”
—James Patterson

“Dazzling . . . If you like your crime with a brilliant plot, crackling dialogue, a dash of celebrity and plenty of suspense, then The Morning Show Murders is an absolute must-read.”
—Linda Fairstein

“Terrific plot, fast, funny, and full of action and adventure with even a touch of steamy romance.”—Janet Evanovich
“Required reading.”—New York Post
“Great fun! Al pulls back the curtain to reveal what really goes on when the cameras go off.” —Harlan Coben

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410423887
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 3/3/2010
  • Series: Billy Blessing Series, #1
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 529
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Al Roker
Al Roker is known to over thirty million viewers for his work on NBC’s Today show, a role that has earned him ten Emmy awards. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood. An accomplished cook, Roker also has two bestselling cookbooks to his credit. Al Roker lives in Manhattan with his wife, ABC News and 20/20 correspondent Deborah Roberts, and has two daughters and a son.

Dick Lochte is the author of many popular crime novels including the award-winning Sleeping Dog, named one of “the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century” by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. His crime fiction column ran for nearly a decade in the Los Angeles Times and earned him the 2003 Ellen Nehr Award for Excellence in Mystery Reviewing. He lives in Southern California.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The big guy lumbered toward me, waving the cleaver. Weeping like a baby.

 “Take it easy, buddy,” I said. “No harm done.” 

“I d-d-didn’t mean to do it. I swear to God I didn’t.” 

“I hope not,” I said, looking at the mangled, bloody mess he’d caused. “Why don’t you give me that cleaver before you make this any worse?” 

“I’m a screwup,” the big guy said. He was close enough for me to read the little name tag on his white coat. Eldon Something with Too Many Consonants. 

“We all have bad days, Eldon,” I told him. “Just hand me the cleaver.” 

He hesitated, then handed over the knife. He made a loud sniff to clear his sinuses, then used the sleeve of his white jacket to wipe the moisture from his eyes and the sweat from the rest of his face. 

I was sweating, too. It could have been the heat from the television lights. Or the steamers. Or Eldon’s incompetence with the cleaver. Probably all three. 

“I’m sorry, chief,” Eldon mumbled. 

“Chef,” I corrected him. 

“Oh, right. Chef.” 

Actually, it’s Chef Billy Blessing. If you recognize the name, and I sincerely hope you do, you’ll understand that I don’t engage in a whole lot of on-the-job chef-ing these days, though I do run a popular restaurant on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Blessing’s Bistro. (A New York magazine pick. Tops in food and service per Zagat, thank you very much.) I have a line of savory prepared meals (which you can find in the frozen-food sections of the better supermarkets). And there’s a series of cookbooks (the latest of which, Blessing’s Best: Brunches, just went into a second printing, a New York Times Bestseller). But people usually know me because I’m on TV. My own show, Blessing’s in the Kitchen, appears on the Wine & Dine Cable Network, Thursdays at four p.m. EST, and, for reasons I’ve never understood, repeated at two a.m. on Saturdays. I guess if you come home drunk, the first thing you want to do is turn on the forty-two-inch LCD and watch me cook. And, crucial to the whole Blessing mini-empire, I’m a regular on Wake Up, America!, the morning news show airing weekdays on the Worldwide Broadcasting Company. I’m the guy with the food features, interviews, and the joke of the day. Viewers tell me I remind them of a stocky Eddie Murphy, minus the mustache, the honking laugh, and the leather pants. I prefer to think of myself as a more accessible, less intense version of Denzel Washington. They also assume, because our producer, Arnie Epps, has instructed me to keep a smile on my face whenever I’m on camera, that I’m always cheery. I’m not. At the particular moment I am describing, in the midst of a disastrous trial run for a new Wine & Dine series, I was one hundred and eighty degrees from cheery. 

I turned to survey the other nine inhabitants of the soundstage kitchen. They, like Eldon, were dressed in chef coats, with most of their hair tucked under white caps. Also like Eldon, they were all very young, the exception being a beady-eyed fortysomething gent who had the appearance and the odor of a greasy-spoon fry cook. 

They’d separated themselves by gender. A male with acne was staring at me with the goofy adoration of a dependent dog. Another was nervously rubbing a mustache that looked like anchovies attacking his upper lip. I spied a brown Mohawk partially tucked under a cap, the oily bottom spikes sticking out over the collar of his coat like the tail of a dirty bird. Yuchhh! 

One of the very young women—girls, actually—chomped on gum. A pretty brown-skinned sister who might qualify as a supermodel trainee seemed more interested in protecting her long fingernails than in food preparation. A girl with a sallow complexion had little pieces of metal piercing her brows and ears, and every time she nodded her head, which was often, they caught the light and reflected it into the camera, causing a flare. God help her if she was ever trapped outdoors in a lightning storm. 

Breakfast was obviously the most important meal of the day for a fourth girl, judging by the tattoo of a fried egg on her neck. A fifth, another black woman, was showing more attitude than Wanda Sykes but none of her humor. 

All were supposed to have had at least an introduction to the preparation of food, but my guess was that they wouldn’t have known how to toast up a Pop-Tart. 

“Is there anybody here who can split a duck?” I asked. 

The fry cook stepped forward. “No problema, boss,” he said, taking the cleaver from my fingers. 

He approached the countertop chopping block, where three medium-size ducks rested. Two of them were picture-perfect. The third had an ugly gouged and mangled breast, thanks to Eldon’s halfhearted use of the cleaver. The ducks had been cleaned and were ready to be seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed with olive oil, and then placed in a steamer with chopped scallions, shredded ginger, six tablespoons of dry sherry, and oil. 

But first they had to be split. 

“Make it a good, clean whack,” I told him. 

“Easy as spankin’ the baby,” the man said. He drew back the cleaver and brought it down on one of the perfect birds. A clean severing. 

“Excellent,” I said. “Continue.” 

The man shrugged and raised the cleaver again. He removed the neck and wings. 

“Fine,” I said. 

But instead of stepping away, he raised the cleaver again and cut off a leg. He’d lopped off the other leg before I could shout “Stop!” 

His brow furrowed in confusion. 

“The legs are supposed to stay on,” I said. 

“Sorry there, boss,” the man said. “Guess I’m kinda used to how we cut ’em at work.” 

“Where would that be?” 

“KFC on Forty-second.” 

“Of course,” I said. I turned to squint into the darkness beyond the lighted soundstage and called out, “Lily, if you’re out there hiding, may we speak?” 

The show’s director and my coproducer, Lily Conover, moved past the camera crew and emerged into the light. Lily was a small, wiry woman in her forties, with highlighted blonde hair cut in a short fluff. She wore cat’s-eye glasses, a plaid shirt, tight black jeans, and cowboy-style boots made from the hide of some no doubt nearly extinct reptile. 

“Pretty ugly, huh?” she said as I rested my arm over her shoulders and led her to the rear of the studio. 

“You think? Food School 101. A concept right up there with a singing cop show, Who’s Your Daddy?, and Britney and Kevin: Chaotic.” 

“The idea isn’t totally awful,” Lily said. “But we needed more time. This bunch is the best we could find on such short notice.” 

“These kids would have trouble microwaving soup,” I said. 

“They’d probably leave it in the can,” Lily said. 

“And the so-called celebrity judges?” 

We turned to the table where the three judges sat, looking hot and restless. The most famous, an aging former sex kitten whose only lingering fame was due to her vociferous disbelief in global warming, was trying unsuccessfully to keep the unpopular, and some might say repulsive, insult comedian from invading her personal space. The final judge, a three-hundred-plus-pound food writer, was staring wistfully at the raw ducks. 

“Let’s dump the concept and send this crew back to KFC and points south.” 

“Rudy won’t like that.” 

“Rudy,” I said, sighing. “Why did we even consider his lame idea?” 

“Why? Let me count the ways,” Lily said. “One, Rudy Gallagher is a Di Voss Industries vice president, and executive producer of a morning news show we all know and love, Wake Up, America! You may remember the name from your W-2 forms. 

“Two, while Rudy isn’t directly in charge of our little cable network, his fiancée, Gretchen Di Voss, is. That would be the same Gretchen Di Voss who is the daughter of the owner of Di Voss Industries. I know you’ve heard of her, because you and she used to . . . How do the kids put it? . . . Knock boots.” 

“Okay,” I said. 

“And three,” Lily said, not to be denied, “your old flame has given the lovable Rudy’s independent production company the green light on this pilot. So . . .” 

“Okay, okay,” I said. “Points made. Rudy is to be obeyed.” 

“We can sort of work around him, I think,” she said. 

“Let’s try. And could we possibly set our celebrity standards a little higher than the D-list?” 

“Sure,” she said. “Of course, that would mean paying them a little more. And the money would have to come from our end. . . .” 

“That’s one of the things I love about you, Lily. The subtlebut- powerful quality of your arguments. So we stick with these turkeys. But can’t we at least find apprentices who don’t look like fugitives from the Syfy Network?” 

“Rudy wants the show to skew young,” Lily said. “And he wants eccentric.” 

I rarely get headaches but felt one coming on. “These kids can’t even turn on a stovetop. How can we expect them to cook a meal? And the bozo with the Mohawk, what’s that all about?” 

“I repeat, Rudy wants eccentric,” Lily said. 

“Which explains the gal with the egg tattoo on her neck.” 

“As I understand it, that’s just the start of her body menu.” 

Having no interest in the special of the day, I smiled but only fleetingly. “How serious is this youth-demographic thing? Are they gonna ask for changes on Blessing’s in the Kitchen?” 

“You know the game, Billy. But for now at least they’re focusing on Food School 101. Yet another reason not to just blow it off.” 

“You’re right,” I agreed, glancing at my watch. Nearly six-thirty. “Let’s call this a wrap and head back to the old drawing board. Priority one: better students.” 

“I’ll put somebody on canvassing real cooking schools and colleges,” Lily promised. 

“And forget the eccentric stuff. I can be eccentric enough for all of us.” 

“Your call. But Rudy won’t like it.” 

“Let me worry about Rudy.” 

“Well, now’s your chance,” Lily said, using her chin to point across the soundstage. “But you may have to wait in line.” 

Rudy Gallagher, tall, trim, immaculately dressed, was deep in conversation with the black pre-supermodel, his TV camera–handsome face registering concern at whatever she was telling him. 

“What’s her name again?” I asked Lily. 

“Melody Moon.” 

“Of course it is. Another of Rudy’s protégés?” 

“I don’t think so, though it looks like it might turn out that way.” Rudy had the girl’s right hand sandwiched between both of his and was saying something that brought a stunningly bright smile to her face. 

“Do you remember Ms. Moon’s age, by any chance?” I asked. 

“Eighteen,” Lily said. 

“Think I should go break it up?” 

“She’s past the age of consent.” 

“Barely,” I said. 

“You should meet my gramps, Billy. You two think alike. Today’s eighteen-year-old girl is the equivalent of a debauched forty-year-old when you were a kid.” 

“I thought forty was supposed to be the new thirty,” I said. 

“That’s the deal. Teens are older and fortysomethings are younger. Now we all meet in the middle. Like Ms. Moon and Rudy.” 

Melody Moon was handing Rudy Gallagher a tiny white card. He slipped it into his coat pocket and watched her walk away, a wolfish grin on his face. As soon as she joined the other contestants, he dropped the grin, turned, and stormed toward us. 

“Why the hell is everybody just standing around, Blessing? Time is money.” 

“Yeah, and a penny saved is a penny earned. We can throw clichés back and forth all evening, Rudy, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not working.” 

“What’s not working, besides you?” 

“These would-be apprentices. They’re doofuses.” 

“That’s exactly what we need,” Rudy insisted. “For Christ’s sweet sake, don’t you get it? I want American Idol in the kitchen. I want the contestants to look like idiots during the tryouts. The dumber and more inexperienced they are, the better. If there’s one thing viewers love to watch, it’s extroverted idiots who don’t care if they look like assholes.” 

I was too surprised to reply. I’d been imagining a sort of game show where people might actually learn something about preparing food—and Rudy’s so-called mind was on American Idol

Lily jumped into the void. “The problem, Rudy, is that these contestants are just boring fence post dumb, not funny dumb or charming dumb. We didn’t have enough time to round up the right kind of extroverted idiot.” 

Rudy stared at her, thinking about it. “That could be,” he mused. “I didn’t hear any thick foreign accents. Accents kill. That goofy kid on Idol you could barely understand, the viewers loved him.” 

“Accents,” Lily said, getting out a pen and jotting down the word in her notebook. Not for the first time, I marveled at her ability to involve herself in such nonsense without breaking. 

“So what you people are telling me is that the concept is solid,” Rudy said. “You just screwed the pooch by rushing it.” 

“You wanted us to get a pilot going by the time you were back from Afghanistan,” Lily said. “But you came home early.” Rudy had traveled to Kabul to oversee a week of live evening news broadcasts on the WBC network, bigfooting the evening news producer to accompany the show’s square-jawed voice-in-the-well evening news anchor, Jim Bridewell, and a bare-bones production team. The others were still there, but for some reason Rudy had returned after just a few days. 

“How was it over there, anyway?” Lily asked. 

Rudy straightened. His handsome mug tightened into a parody of seriousness. “It was ghastly, Lily. Real, gut-level suffering and pain everywhere you looked. And bloodshed. A fellow at our dinner table had his throat cut by terrorists.” 

“My God, that’s horrible,” Lily said. 

“Not one of our staff?” I asked. 

Rudy waved a hand airily. “Oh, no. He was . . . just somebody we met over there.” 

“And he was murdered right in front of you?” I couldn’t believe he was being so blasé about it. 

“As close to me as you are now. My God, it was horrible.” 

“What was the deal?” Lily asked. “Why’d they kill him?” 

He shrugged, opened his mouth as if to say something, then fell silent. 

We waited, expecting him to tell us more, but, being Rudy, his thoughts had turned inward. “You know, back when I was a fledgling, in the eighties, I cut my production eyeteeth gofering Cease Fire. Don’t know if you remember it, but it was the only series about ’Nam that went into a second season. That was gritty stuff. But the real thing makes Cease Fire look like Hogan’s Heroes.” 

He punctuated the statement with a deep breath and, with a shake of his head, seemed to call a mental “Cut!” to his war-torn memories. Then it was on to the business at hand. “Okay, suppose we hold a couple of citywide auditions. How much time do you need?” Without batting an eye, Lily answered, “A month for the auditions, maybe three weeks to edit the footage into two or three halfhours. Then another couple of weeks to shoot the first show.” 

Rudy turned to me. “No way to speed it up a little?” 

“Lily’s the boss when it comes to scheduling,” I said. 

“Okay,” Rudy said. “But don’t let me down again.” 

He turned, started to go, then said over his shoulder, “Billy, walk with me.” 

I looked at Lily, rolled my eyes, then followed him on his way out of the studio. 

“I’m an old hand at what works on the box, Billy,” he told me. 

“They call it reality TV, but that’s just another name for game show. And I know how the game show is played, from the days of Let’s Make a Deal to The Biggest Loser. Viewers love to watch the crazies, but they also want a display of skill. We’ll need a couple of kids good enough in the kitchen to make a contest of it.” 

“Uh-huh,” I said, sensing where this was going. 

“I was just talking with this gal, Melody, I think she said her name was. One of your people.” 

My people. Ignoring the racist remark, I said, “Melody, the pretty eighteen-year-old.” 

“Eighteen? Really. I’d have thought nineteen at least. Anyway, she’s exactly the kind of final contestant we need. Beautiful. Poised. Ethnic. I’d go so far as to suggest she should be a finalist. One of the serious contenders for the grand prize.” 

“She didn’t seem to be serious about anything but her fingernails,” I pointed out. 

“Maybe. But if she were to get some practical experience . . . at a restaurant, say . . . for the next month . . . ?” 

“You asking me to put this kid in my kitchen?” 

“Just a thought. Like an apprentice’s apprentice. Work it out so she can do some simple stuff. Broil a steak. Scramble eggs.” 

“Gee, Rudy. Putting aside the obvious fact that I’m running a four-star restaurant and can’t afford to serve burnt steaks or insult my professional kitchen staff, there’s also the legal and ethical problems of training somebody for a cash-prize TV show that I’m coproducing and hosting.” 

“Damn if you’re not right, Billy. Now that I think about it, it would be a lousy idea.” A frown barely disturbed his almost ridiculously handsome face. “God, what was I thinking? Putting them together . . . No. No. Definitely forget the restaurant. But keep her in mind as a contestant.” 

I found Lily in the cafeteria, playing with her laptop. She looked up as I approached the table, a diet soda in hand. “What’d the great idea man have to say?” she asked. 

“Not much. What a jerk.” 

“Either that or he’s a genius,” she said. “American Idol in the kitchen.” 

“Our own Simon Cowell,” I said. 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 57 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Al Roker makes fun of himself. Can you find the line?

    I looked forward to reading this book because I "know" the author. The story keeps you wondering not only who the murderer is but is it a male or female? I enjoyed the read and would buy another book if there is one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fans will enjoy the collaboration of Al Roker & Dick Lochte as they serve to fans a gourmet murder mystery

    Celebrity Chef Billy Blessing runs the popular Manhattan Lower East Side Blessings Bistro although he would be the first to admit he does not cook that often anymore. He also performs cooking segments with the joke of the day on the TV show Wake Up, America!

    Chef Blessing has just begun torturous filming of Blessing's in the Kitchen with Food School 101 starring apprentices who look more like exiles from a Sci fi fast food show than cooks. Although he would like to quit, his producer Lily Conover counts the ways he cannot as Di Voss Industries is sponsoring him. His former "Knock Boots" partner Gretchen Di Voss and her fiancé Rudy Gallagher watch his every move. His nodding "advice" to morning show co-anchor Gin McCauley leads to fifteen million reasons why Billy should lose his cooking shows. Soon after a public argument with Rudy, NYPD Detectives Solomon and Butker inform Billy he is the prime suspect in the murder of Gallagher who died eating poisoned coq au vin at Blessing's Bistro which is closed as a crime scene. Realizing he is being set up like a cooked goose for the holidays, Billy investigates.

    THE MORNING SHOW MURDERS is a delightful amateur sleuth mystery that works due to the strong cast who bring New York City alive with their crisp sassy discourses especially the tale's lead chef. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Billy realizes he is host of a show that will give him plenty of heartburn and that is before he is the prime stuffed turkey of NYPD. Fans will enjoy the collaboration of Al Roker & Dick Lochte as they serve to fans a gourmet murder mystery.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    Easy reading

    Good easy read. Will read the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010


    I could not get into this book. Very dull. I would not recommend to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It's Not Rocket Science, It's A Murder Mystery!!!!!!!

    Al Roker is a funny man. I think everyone will agree on that. He has created a work of fiction inside an environment that he is intimately familiar. It works!!! It's funny, it's easy to read, it's well written. Is it Rocket Science, no; but then it wasn't meant to be. I enjoyed reading the book for what it was, a murder mystery. It had twists and turns. It had some romantic liasons. It had some areas of over detailing. Oddly, I kept imagining Danny Devito in the title role as Chef Blessing--don't know why, that's just the way it read to me.

    I look forward to the next Chef Blessing Mystery and hope that Al Roker continues to give us many more Chef Blessing novels.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

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    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2009

    Great mystery/humor mix

    The teaming of loveable TV weatherman Al Roker and veteran crime novelist
    Dick Lochte (author of the award-winning "Sleeping Dog") has resulted in an
    irresistible mystery novel about Billy Blessing, a famous chef and
    restaurateur who also is one of the co-hosts on a morning news show, sort of
    a combination of Emeril or Wolfgang Puck and Roker himself. When his show's
    producer is murdered just days after they've had a verbal blowup - by
    takeout from his restaurant - Billy becomes the NYPD's only viable suspect.
    Since the police are spending all their efforts looking for evidence that
    will sink him, Billy realizes it's up to him to find a better suspect before
    he's put under arrest. The result is a suspenseful, at times hilarious
    comedy thriller that I hope marks the beginning of a series featuring the
    charming Billy.

    Five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012


    This book never got to the point...I hope his last two in the series,got better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    A fun read

    Yea for Al Roker. I like him alot on the Today Show and he proves that not only can he write a good mystery, but run a restaurant, too. I will defintely read his second book.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011


    Never realized Al had it in him to write such an enjoyable book! Not Agatha, but keeps you interested and his humor is great. Getting his Midnight Murder after finishing book I'm reading now.

    Hope he writes more of these.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    Good book for travel.

    Enjoyed the read, light and funny. Will try next book

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Morning Show Murders

    I picked this book up because I love Al Roker, and find him hysterical on Today, so I was interested to see how his humor would show itself in fiction. Full of pop culture references, including a few self-deprecating references to Roker himself, there was a lot of unexpected humor for a murder mystery. The characters were very eclectic in personalities and backstories, which gave the story a lot of texture, depth, and interest. It was a fun mystery that brought you in and kept you there. The twists and turns kept me guessing and, until the end, I was completely wrong on the "whodunit" aspect. My only real negative was the main character, Billy Blessing. I sometimes felt that he was almost a bystander in is own life and story, rather than really being an active participant. I would definately recommend this read!

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely LOVED it!

    I read a lot of the "fun" murder mysteries, and absolutely loved this one! It kept me in suspense until the very end. For once, I didn't even know for sure who the murderer was! Definitely read this one if you like ones that are just a fun read and not deep. I loved it!

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    A fun read

    Admittedly, I purchased this book because I found the title ironic coming from Al Roker. But the characters are interesting and I enjoyed reading the book. I didn't find the book predictable at all and enjoyed following the main character through the story. My usual favorites are John Sanford, James Patterson and Vince Flynn. I wouldn't compare this Roker/Lochte collaboration to any of them in style, except to say I found it equally as enjoyable overall.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Easy Reading

    Good quick-reading story that is less than complex but still challenges the imagination.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    A fun read

    For the most part, I enjoyed the book. My biggest complaint was that I had trouble remembering who some of the characters were from one reading session to the next. And the ending was definitely a surprise.

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  • Posted December 25, 2009

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    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?

    Whatever the case, it's not long before some very unfriendly fellows are circling and it seems another death is in the offing. In order to clear himself Billy must not only find the killer but stay alive while doing it.

    Roker has created a likable hero, spiced his story with insider quips, and woven an entertaining mystery - enjoy!

    - Gail Cooke

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sleep In

    Billy Blessing, the celebrated, restaurant owning, chef on the Morning Show, finds himself in trouble. One of his coworkers from the show has been murdered. Chef Blessing is immediately tagged for suspicion by the police. Thus we have the beginnings of an all too familiar plot set in the environs of a television Morning Show. Writers are often advised to write what they know about, but Al Roker's story, with the help of mystery author, Dick Lochte, has stayed to close to home. There are even cute references to that weather guy from the Today Show. Most of the story is average detective, mystery book fare. The action is rather slow paced until the last third of the book, when the search for the unknown killer, starts to get interesting. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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