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The Midnight Show Murders

Cover of The Midnight Show Murders

The Midnight Show Murders

A Billy Blessing Novel
by Al Roker
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Al Roker and Dick Lochte's The Talk Show Murders.

Professional chef turned amateur sleuth Billy Blessing finds himself in hot water when a brutal killing cancels a TV show--and its host--during its debut.


Billy has reluctantly agreed to fly westward and play second banana on a new late-night talk show hosted by comic Desmond O'Day in Los Angeles, a city that brings up bad memories. Twenty years ago, Billy had accused obnoxious chef Roger Charbonnet of murder there. A tricked-up alibi freed Roger, who vowed vengeance--and Billy's arrival in the City of Angels just may give Roger his chance. When a deadly explosion during a TV taping kills more than Desmond's chance at high ratings, Billy is convinced that he was the intended target. With politics, infidelity, and high finance sprinkled in, the case turns out to have more ingredients than Billy could ever have imagined. And when a beautiful female TV producer convinces Billy to find the culprit himself--on camera--the table's set for a conspiracy with too many cooks and far too many killers.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Al Roker and Dick Lochte's The Talk Show Murders.

Professional chef turned amateur sleuth Billy Blessing finds himself in hot water when a brutal killing cancels a TV show--and its host--during its debut.


Billy has reluctantly agreed to fly westward and play second banana on a new late-night talk show hosted by comic Desmond O'Day in Los Angeles, a city that brings up bad memories. Twenty years ago, Billy had accused obnoxious chef Roger Charbonnet of murder there. A tricked-up alibi freed Roger, who vowed vengeance--and Billy's arrival in the City of Angels just may give Roger his chance. When a deadly explosion during a TV taping kills more than Desmond's chance at high ratings, Billy is convinced that he was the intended target. With politics, infidelity, and high finance sprinkled in, the case turns out to have more ingredients than Billy could ever have imagined. And when a beautiful female TV producer convinces Billy to find the culprit himself--on camera--the table's set for a conspiracy with too many cooks and far too many killers.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    My love affair with Los Angeles began to wane twenty-three years ago, the morning a cleaning crew found Tiffany Arden's body in a dumpster behind Chez Anisette, a very popular restaurant of the day. Her head had been pulverized. If you're ghoulish enough to want a more detailed description than that, then go ahead and Google the media coverage of the murder.

    There was a lot of it.

    Much of it was accurate. Some was not. For example, it was widely reported that her murderer was unknown. Not true. I was pretty sure I knew who he was. And I knew that he was still at large, enjoying a rich, full life in the City of Angels.

    "Just listen ta this, Billy." The gruff but lilting voice of Irish pop singer-guitarist Jimmy Fitzpatrick interrupted my morose thoughts with a statistic almost as disturbing. "There are two thousand, nine hundred an' forty-three things that can cock-up the average airplane, any one of 'em capable of plummetin' us to earth an' certain death. Would ya believe it?"

    Fitz, my seatmate aboard American Airlines flight 349 to Los Angeles, was reading a cheery little nonbook he'd picked up at JFK, What Could Go Wrong?

    "Thanks for sharing," I said, and picked up my airport purchase, a Walter Mosley paperback, from my lap, where I'd rested it while musing about poor Tiffany.

    "O' course, this is not the average airplane, since we're travelin' in the comp'ny of the future king o' late-night tele," Fitz added, making sure he was heard by the king, who was sitting across the aisle.

    Off camera and semi-relaxed, the comedian Desmond O'Day was a wiry bantamweight in his forties with a V-shaped face and short, neatly coifed hair so blond it was almost silver. He had a penchant for tight, black apparel, which presently included linen trousers and a T-shirt designed to display his workout arm muscles and mini-six-pack. He paused in his perusal of a script to glare over his rimless half-glasses at his shaggy-haired, bearded music director.

    "Stop botherin' Billy, ya sod," he said. "The man's doin' us a big favor, travelin' all across the country to help us kick off the show."

    Fitz, wincing from having incurred the displeasure of his old pal and new boss, said, "Sorry, Billy."

    He gave me an apologetic smile and leaned back in his seat, silent as the late King Tut.

    "A little conversation would be fine, Fitz," I said, "as long as it's about something other than us plummeting to the ground in a screaming death plunge, then being vaporized in a fireball of death."

    He kept his lips zipped, evidently convinced that a command from Des O'Day was not to be taken lightly. He was a better judge of that than I. He'd known Des since they were boys together on the Emerald Isle, while I'd just met the man.

    Oh, I'm Billy Blessing, by the way. Chef Billy Blessing, to be formal about it.

    For a decade and a half, I served in other chefs' kitchens before opening my own place, Blessing's Bistro, in Manhattan. It's famous for its steaks and chops, and the food we prepare and serve has earned a top rating in Gault Milleau, of which I am quite proud.

    My fame, such as it is, comes only indirectly from my culinary skills. I'm a cohost on the Worldwide Broadcasting Company's morning news and entertainment show Wake Up, America! weekdays seven to nine a.m. If you're one of the show's four million viewers, you've probably seen me, the guy who, I've been told, looks a little like a slightly stockier, clean-shaven (head as well as face) version of Eddie Murphy.

    I provide a daily WUA! segment on food preparation, but I have other chores, too. I do remotes, interview visitors to NYC who line up on the...

About the Author-
  • Al Roker is known to more than 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 and The Morning Show Murders, the first novel in the Billy Blessing mystery series. An accomplished cook, Roker also has two 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.

Reviews-
  • Redbook

    Praise for Al Roker's and Dick Lochte's The Morning Show Murders "This is a funny, funny, very funny mystery that really gallops along and has several cool twists." --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 "Who needs Perez Hilton when you've got the beloved morning-show host dishing out his own gossipy novel about the world of news, glamour, and ratings? This novel follows Billy Blessing, a celebrity chef who suddenly finds himself the prime suspect in a murder."

  • New York Post "Roker brings his A-game to the table when it comes to giving readers a birds-eye view into the behind-the-scenes action on a television show."--Chicago Sun-Times "Great fun! Al pulls back the curtain to reveal what really goes on when the cameras go off." --Harlan Coben "Terrific plot, fast, funny, and full of action and adventure with even a touch of steamy romance."--Janet Evanovich "Action-packed, fast-paced, and fun to read."--The Oklahoman "Required reading."
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