Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Celebrity Mysteries


There’s one of those “Little Free Libraries” on my street and this week I picked up a couple books from a sub-sub genre I’m going to call celebrity-mysteries.

Both books are written by someone known for something other than writing and “with” a writer.

The first one is called Toss and it’s by Boomer Esiason and Lowell Caufiel.

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It was published in 1998 and Publisher’s Weekly called it, “passable but undistinguished,” and the Amazon reader reviews range from, “lots better than most people would expect,” to the, “literary equivalent of an interception run back for a touchdown by the other team” (what I believe the kids now call a pick six).


The other book is actually the second in what may be a series by Richard Belzer and Michael Black (actually in this case the credit reads, “with” not “and”).

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The first one in the series is called I am Not a Cop and this one is called I Am Not a Psychic. It was published in 2009. Again the reviews are mixed. Publisher’s Weekly takes the middle ground, saying, “Despite a deus ex machina, snappy dialogue and solid pacing makes this a success on its own terms,” and the reader reviews range from five stars to one star.


Toss is a straight ahead, third person narrative with the main character being a rookie quarterback on the New York Stars. Looks okay.

I Am Not a Psychic’s first person narrator is Richard Belzer, star of a hit TV cop show, stand-up comedian and author of, UFOs, JFK and Elvis; Conspiracies You Don’t Have to be Crazy to Believe, so this kind of mixing of fact and fiction is more interesting to me.

This is a sub-genre I haven’t really been familiar with, the celebrity-mystery, but it seems like there’s a lot of potential.

Have you read anything that would fit in this genre that you would recommend?

Are there some celebrity-mysteries you’d like to see?


Brian Lindenmuth said...

Goofy weatherman extraordinaire and recent Rush Limbauh enemy Al Roker has a couple of mysteries out. We own one of them but I've never read it or any of the others.

Ice-T wrote a novel called Kings of Vice with a cat named Mal Radcliff. Mal Radcliff is the pen name of Gary Phillips whose work I'm a huge fan of. Radcliff has also written for Blood & Tacos. So, because of Phillips I'm a fan of this one.

Ed Koch wrote four mystery novels.

I'm sure there are a ton of others.

Al Tucher said...

It was recently revealed that Donald Bain wrote every word of the Margaret Truman Washington DC mysteries.

Mike Doran said...

In cases of books like this, I always make allowances when the celeb gives cover credit to the pro who wrote it with him.
Al Roker shares cover credit with Dick Lochte, as his predecessor Willard Scott did with Bill Crider.
So also, Ricahrd Belzer shares with Michael Black, and Ed Koch had a couple of co-authors over the years.

On the other hand, there are certain celebs, past and present, who solo on the cover, but give mention in the acknowledgement page to the pro who provided "editorial guidance".
That's Level Two.

Then there are a few celeb "authors" who simply don't mention pro help at all; they want their ghosts to remain ghostly.

So that's my "pecking order" in this sorta-genre, for what it's worth.
Should you accumulate enough volumes, you can work up lists in all three of these categories.
Maybe that can be the subject of another entry sometime soon.
Meanwhile, I gotta get back home and check my own shelves for these ...

... well, what do we call them?