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Who Killed the Fonz?

Narrated by: Michael Crouch
Length: 5 hrs and 11 mins
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The legendary 1950s-era TV show Happy Days gets reinvented as a gritty 1980s noir. 

Late October, 1984. Prince and Bruce are dominating FM radio. Ron and Nancy are headed back to the White House. Crockett and Tubbs are leading men everywhere to embrace pastels. And Richard Cunningham? Well, Richard Cunningham is having a really bad Sunday.

First, there’s the meeting with his agent. A decade ago, the 40-something Cunningham was one of Hollywood’s hottest screenwriters. But Tinseltown is no longer interested in his artsy, introspective scripts. They want Terminator cyborgs and exploding Stay Puft Marshmallow men. If he isn’t interested in that sort of thing, his agent tells him, he’s going to have to find new representation.

Then later that same day, he gets a phone call with even worse news. His best friend from childhood back in Milwaukee, back when everyone called him Richie, is dead. Arthur Fonzarelli. The Fonz. Lost control of his motorcycle while crossing a bridge and plummeted into the water below. Two days of searching and still no body, no trace of his trademark leather jacket.

Richard flies back for the memorial service, only to discover Fonzie’s death was no accident - it was murder. With the help of his old pals Ralph Malph and Potsie Weber, he sets out to catch the killer. Who it turns out to be is shocking. So is the story’s final twist.

Who Killed the Fonz? imagines what happened to the characters of the legendary TV series Happy Days 20 years after the show left off. And while much has changed in the interim - good-bye drive-in movie theaters, hello VCRs - the story centers around the same timeless themes as the show: the meaning of family. The significance of friendship. The importance of community.

Fast-paced and full of nostalgia, Who Killed the Fonz? is an ingenious twist on a beloved classic that proves sometimes you can go home again. 

©2019 James Boice (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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More "Happy Days!"

"Who Killed the Fonz" was a worth sequel to the classic television series "Happy Days." It was fascinating picking up on Richie Cunningham's life two decades after his character left Milwaukee for Hollywood. I loved that Richie was placed into an important place in Hollywood history, the American New Wave and that he was a friend and peer of Spielberg, Lucas and Scorcese. Of course, unlike those filmmakers Richie's career went downhill and he found himself middle aged and on the verge of losing his agent and career.

At this point he gets the news that Fonzie has been killed in an accident and he's off to Milwaukee to reunite with several old friends and uncover the mystery of "Who Killed the Fonz."

Now let it be known that the mystery in this novel is very simple, and you pretty much know who the villain is from the get go because you know it can't possibly be the most likely suspect. But that's okay. The point of this novel isn't the mystery. The point is the nostalgia and fan service. We find out in this novel that you can indeed go home again, as Richie, while mourning for the Fonz, looks back on his life and we get to see many of the events of Happy Days from his perspective and find out what he was thinking and how it affected him and how the Fonz changed his life and he changed the Fonz's.

Frankly I got emotional several times throughout the novel, squirting out more than my fair share of tears. This novel is a true nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up loving "Happy Days" and the Fonz. My only nostalgia gripe is that Joannie & Chachi weren't present throughout the events of this story. They were on a second honeymoon in Tahiti. I was a tad miffed since Chachi was Fonzie's cousin and should have been present at his memorial service. Other than this glaring omission I was more than thrilled with what we got.

As far as the audiobook goes, Michael Crouch is one hell of a performer! He channeled Ron Howard with the power of his voice. I even had to double-check to make sure Howard wasn't involved at all with this book. His Fonzie impression was also spot on. Heck, even Ralph Malph sounded like Donnie Most! The only way they could have gotten a better performance for this book would have been if they had hired Ron Howard to read this thing!

Good book! Great performance! And overall a great piece of entertainment! I encourage all "Happy Days" fans to check out "Who Killed the Fonz." These days truly are yours and my "Happy Days!"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator sells "Happy Days" mash-up!

"Who Killed the Fonz?" is an often clever mash-up of the classic TV show and a noir murder mystery. It's fun to see the show's beloved characters in slightly different incarnations. The mystery takes quite a while to get going and is resolved a little too quickly.

Still, despite its flaws, WKTF? is a lot of fun, and Michael Crouch delivers yet another perfect performance. He's a talented narrator who is sometimes better than his material.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Brion M.
  • Valencia, California
  • 03-30-19

Nothing happy here

Sad. Somber. Wrong. Even at just 5 hours, it was too long. I got it because it because it seemed like such a good idea at first, too.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful