The Talk Show Murders
From the book
At roughly six--thirty on a Thursday morning that dawned bright and clear, members of the Chicago Police Department's Homicide Division and Forensic Services were lured to the city's Oak Street Beach by a body that had been deposited on the sand by Lake Michigan's ebbing tide. A drowning in the lake, accidental or otherwise, was not exactly remarkable. But this one was clearly unique, though that fact was not presented immediately to the public.
The CPD had dropped a cone of silence over the discovery. Even the hapless early--morning jogger who'd nearly stumbled over the corpse was being forced to pursue his cardio perfection in seclusion somewhere off the grid.
Surprisingly, in this era of instant information, where members of the media are as persistent as they are plentiful, the news blackout lasted for nearly thirty hours. It was broken by a gray--haired, ill--tempered former cop named Edward "Pat" Patton. Since his retirement, Patton had begun a second career with a blog, Windy City Blowdown, devoted primarily to outspoken and often outrageous political critiques, right--wing rants and, adding a much--needed patina of credibility to his efforts, an ex--lawman's insider take on the city's criminal activity.
Blowdown's popularity had led to Patton's frequent appearances on local talk shows and on a few network offerings, such as Midday with Gemma, where the eponymous hostess Gemma Bright had just welcomed him to share a periwinkle--blue couch with her previous guest, Carrie Sands, a young vibrantly blond actress who was starring in a new motion picture filming in the city.
When the applause of the primarily female audience began to subside, Patton plopped down on the couch. He leaned in close to the actress and whispered something in her ear that caused her smile to lose its perk. Then he turned his attention toward the show's hostess, adjusting his face in what he probably believed resembled a Gene Hackman--Popeye Doyle half--grin. "Okay, Gemma, I'm here," he said in his familiar, gruff voice. "So what d'ya wanna talk about today?"
"Oh, I think you know, Pat." Gemma Bright's Australian accent was elaborate, slightly nasal, and made more distinctive by her odd habit of emphasizing words and syllables in a seemingly random fashion. This, combined with her fortysomething zaftig but stylish good looks, an extroverted personality, and an ability to convey what seemed like genuine interest, had positioned her as the second--most--popular television personality in the Second City. "We want some dish on that mysterious body that washed ashore yesterdye."
"Dish, huh? Well, lemme tell ya, babe, it ain't all that appetizing."
"Death rarely is," Gemma said.
"That's probably why all those health--conscious wimps kept jogging past the body without stopping," Patton said. "Or could it be that they were just too caught up in their own petty little lives to wanna get involved?"
"That's not fair," Carrie Sands chirped, evidently feeling he was talking about her people. "When you jog you get in the zone and you block out a lot of what's happening around you."
"That explains why most of you bubbleheads voted for our illus-trious illegal--alien president. You were in the zone." Patton winked at the audience, which, surprisingly, rewarded him with scattered applause and laughter.
"Holy shit, Billy," my assistant, Kiki Owens, said. "Who is this trog?"
"You know as much about him as I do," I said, which was the truth at the time.
"After the president's release of his full, authenticated birth certificate, this guy must be the last idiot spewing the birther crap. On our...
- "Morning Show" celebrity Al Roker has teamed up with mystery writer Dick Lochte to create a series of TV-related mysteries. Billy Blessing is the hero. In this latest, Blessing, a former con man who has reinvented himself as a TV chef, encounters a former cop who is bent on blackmailing him. Soon, the erstwhile blackmailer is found dead--the first in a series of killings. Guess who's a suspect? Ironically, Roker, a TV announcer, should leave the reading of his books to someone else. One gets the impression that he's trying too hard. His accents are peculiar and overemphasized, and ultimately detract from the story. Roker ought to stick to announcing and writing--both of which he's good at--and leave the reading of his books to an audiobook narrator. A.L.H. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine
The Midnight Show Murders
"Great fun, full of nifty twists and turns."
- Kirkus Reviews "Roker and Lochte offer a satisfying entrée to follow the appetizer they provided in The Morning Show Murders."
"This is a funny, funny, very funny mystery that really gallops along and has several cool twists."
- Linda Fairstein "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."
- Chicago Sun-Times "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."
"Action-packed, fast-paced, and fun to read."
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