One look in the mirror confirmed it: yep, you looked as bad as you felt.


Cold, flu, or just some nasty bug? Didn’t matter. You croaked in sick to work, then hunkered down on the sofa beneath a warm blanket, with some daytime TV to sleep by.  Could there possibly be a better place to recuperate?

Did you ever wonder—once you felt better, of course—what goes on behind the scenes of those TV programs? In the new mystery “The Morning Show Murders” by Al Roker and Dick Lochte, Chef Billy Blessing works hard backstage on Wake Up America!  but the chef’s goose is about to be cooked.

Billy Blessing has his plate full. Folks across the country recognize him for his cooking segments on World Broadcasting Company’s Wake Up America!  There’s a reality show in the works, and elite New Yorkers know Chef Billy by the signature dishes he serves in his restaurant.

But Chef Billy hasn’t always been successful. His past is riddled with minor crimes and shady characters; so much so that it’s easy for the cops to make Billy the number one suspect when Rudy Gallagher, the network’s head man and Billy’s nemesis, is found poisoned.

It didn’t help matters that the tainted food came from Billy’s bistro.

But there are plenty of people who have reason to want Rudy dead. Gretchen, Rudy’s supposed-fiancée, doesn’t seem too mournful that her intended was killed. There are a lot of women who have been cozying up to Rudy—a new one every few days—and any one of them could be the murderer. And then there was that time Rudy was in a bar in Kabul, where he narrowly missed being in the middle of a bloodbath…

When it becomes obvious that detectives don’t believe he’s innocent, Chef Billy goes in search of clues but soon wishes he hadn’t stirred the situation. Rudy Gallagher—and the other dead men that follow—was in plenty of hot water, and the evidence points to a mysterious international killer who calls himself “Felix the Cat”.

And Felix is about to pounce on Chef Billy.

Doesn’t it sometimes seem like every TV celebrity fancies him- or herself as an author? Guess what? Al Roker really is.

“The Morning Show Murders” is a pretty decent whodunit with some nice plot twists and a few characters that are so unredeemable that you almost can’t wait to see them dead.

My sole complaint about this book was the ripped-from-the-headlines tiresome Middle Eastern tie.

Still, if you’re hungry for a reason to stay up late, reading on the sofa, this book will do the trick. “The Morning Show Murders” is delicious fun.

(“The Morning Show Murders” by Al Roker and Dick Lochte, 2009, Delacorte Press $26, 312 pages

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