Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: 'The Midnight Show Murders' by Al Roker

"And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there." -- 2 Kings 7:5 (NKJV)

Chef Billy Blessing is back in a West Coast sequel to The Morning Show Murders. When the network wants to launch a new late-night talk show from Hollywood, the role of guest announcer falls to Billy after no one else is available. Billy has been avoiding the area since a great deal of unpleasantness there more than two decades earlier almost derailed his fledgling career . . . and put his life in danger. He soon falls in with the West Coast craziness while hoping for more, especially from a certain stylish lady.

The story operates at two levels: as a satire of the hype-driven search for an edge in the world of "popular culture" and as a murder mystery. The satire leads the way except on a few pages, but brutal events keep intruding often enough to remind you that there are mysteries to be solved.

My advice is to read the book for the humor, and don't worry too much about solving the mystery. You won't have too much trouble with the latter . . . with all solutions being well telegraphed in advance.

My favorite parts of the book involved the many humorous references to fictional detectives, and the silliest aspects of their characters. Such homage is great fun!

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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