Who Killed the Fonz?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Who doesn’t remember the dulcet teenage years of Richie Cunningham and Arthur Fonzarelli? Watching Happy Days is as much a right of passage in an American childhood as learning to ride a bike or teaching parents how to use their phones. So when I saw a mystery novel that brings them back, I knew I had to read it.

Years have gone by since we knew these men. Richie Cunningham is now a screenwriter in Hollywood. His mother moved out to L.A. to be near him (and his wife Lori Beth and their kids) after his father died. His sister Joanie stayed in Milwaukee, though, in the house they grew up in, with her husband Chachi (because as we all remember, Joanie loves Chachi). And the Fonz? He’s not doing so well. In fact, he’s been in a bad motorcycle accident, and he didn’t make it. 

The phone call about Fonzie’s death brings Richie back home, and just in time. Struggling with what his next project should be—the one he loves or the one that will pay his bills—Richie needs a chance to clear his head and make a career decision that could make or break him. But what he finds back home isn’t as simple as it was when he was a teenager, and he finds himself facing  a darkness that could swallow him up if he’s not careful. 

I was so excited to read this book! I grew up on television shows, and getting to revisit the Happy Days universe was so much fun. Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice may not be perfect (I did find the middle-age angst a little heavy at times), but the ending made up for it all. And getting to check back in with Richie and Marion, Potsie and Ralph and even Al, made this trip through nostalgia a fantastic vacation to my younger, more idealistic self and the friends I knew back then. I highly recommend this one to all fans of Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and all those great ‘70s shows 

And if you don’t like it? (You know I have to say this!) Sit on it! 

Galleys for Who Killed the Fonz? were provided by Simon & Schuster through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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Having watched “Happy Days” when I was growing up when this book came across Netgalley the title intrigued me. Now Richie who wants to be called Richard is living L.A. with Lori Beth but his career is not going as planned. He wants to write something of substance but his agent is still pushing the same old movies at him. Frustrated he arrives home to find out that Arthur Fonzarelli, “Fonzi” is dead. Going out to Milwaukee he is back with Ralph and Postie. At first, they are not happy to see him, but later they warm up. Al, though is happy, and he is glad to hear that Al’s is still open even with a competitor across the street. It is after the funeral that Richie begins to wonder what really happened to Fonzi crashing on a bridge that he has driven over forever. It is then that he begins his own investigation running into the same cop from the past who is now a Lieutenant. He also shots a commercial spot for a man running for governor all the while working at finding the truth. Are there some inconsistencies yes. I for one did not think this as a Noir, and some of the references did not match up with all of the shows, but it is a story and I was entertained while reading it and it kept me going as to who did it. It would have been nice though to have Pinky Tuscardaro either show up or even have been the governor’s wife, just saying. But overall a good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com
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Having watched “Happy Days” when I was growing up when this book came across Netgalley the title intrigued me. Now Richie who wants to be called Richard is living L.A. with Lori Beth but his career is not going as planned. He wants to write something of substance but his agent is still pushing the same old movies at him. Frustrated he arrives home to find out that Arthur Fonzarelli, “Fonzi” is dead. Going out to Milwaukee he is back with Ralph and Postie. At first, they are not happy to see him, but later they warm up. Al, though is happy, and he is glad to hear that Al’s is still open even with a competitor across the street. It is after the funeral that Richie begins to wonder what really happened to Fonzi crashing on a bridge that he has driven over forever. It is then that he begins his own investigation running into the same cop from the past who is now a Lieutenant. He also shots a commercial spot for a man running for governor all the while working at finding the truth. Are there some inconsistencies yes. I for one did not think this as a Noir, and some of the references did not match up with all of the shows, but it is a story and I was entertained while reading it and it kept me going as to who did it. It would have been nice though to have Pinky Tuscardaro either show up or even have been the governor’s wife, just saying. But overall a good book.
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Aaaaay!

	This book has no pretensions to great literature or art but is a paean and tribute to the kinder, gentler world of Happy Days and a fun little murder mystery.  Nostalgia for those who caught the original TV show; a return to childhood for those who watched on cable reruns; a pleasing romp!
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A disappointing read.  The premise of bring the characters from Happy Days into recent times is what made me want to read the book.  However, it was difficult to enjoy the story because of the Richie Cunningham - Ron Howard connection.  In this book's version, Richie becomes a struggling director, which is obviously the opposite of Ron.  The overall story would have been interesting if not for that tie-in.  And the ending was kind of predictable.
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I was invited to read and review this strange little book by Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, and I thank them. It’s for sale now. 

Fonzie is the eternally cool lone-wolf character in the television sitcom “Happy Days,” which was aired during the 1970s and early 1980s, back before the internet and the digital era gave us choices. The show is set in the 1950s, with malt shops, sock hops, and so forth. Richie Cunningham was the main character, an ordinary small town teen who was befriended by the Fonz.  This book morphs forward to the 1980s, which places Richie—er, Richard—in middle age. He’s a Hollywood producer but is called back home by the death of Fonzie. 

When I saw this book in my email, I wasn’t sure what to think. How does anyone write this book? Neither Richie nor the Fonz was anything more than a stock character during the series itself. Every problem encountered by any character had to be resolved with humor and warmth within thirty minutes—more like twenty once advertising is figured in. So my first assumption was that this must be some sort of dark satire. But that would be very edgy and risky, and I wasn’t sure Simon would touch something like that. But, it’s an invitation and a quick read, so let’s have a look. 

Satire it isn’t. It’s promoted as noir, and it isn’t that either.  I can go sit in the garage. I can say I am a car. I can get my children to all say I am a car. I still won’t be a car, or for that matter a motorcycle. And so I’m telling you right now that this is, in spite of its quirky title and book cover, a cozy mystery, period. It is what it is.

Now, that’s not a bad thing. There are a lot of readers that enjoy a good cozy, and it seems likely that a lot of those readers will fall into the demographic to which this story appeals, namely the Boomer generation, the readers that watched Happy Days when they were young and (hopefully) happy. 

So here we are, back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Potsie and Ralph Malph distrust Richard because he has become some sort of Hollywood big shot. His career is on the rocks, but they don’t know that; all they know is that he’s come back to the Midwest wearing designer clothes, and when he calls himself “Richard,” they snicker. But ultimately they all work together to unsnarl issues of local corruption as well as the mystery about Fonzie, and Richard realizes he is really still Richie.

So we have corn; we have cheese; and we have cheese corn. But it’s an accessible story that will provide a pleasant level of distraction that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of concentration or analysis. If your gram is undergoing chemo, she can take this into treatment and it will help keep her warm. 

I recommend this book to those that primarily read cozy mysteries and are familiar with the series.
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This story was filled with a lot of nostalgia for me.  The characters are from Happy Days, a show that I grew up watching in the 70’s.  Throughout the book there was references to different episodes.  It took me completely back to my 8 year old self, hoping for a later bedtime on Tuesday night to watch. The book was set in the 80’s so there were those references as well.  Thanks to #netgalley for the ARC. I recommend this book to all lovers of Happy Days. It will bring you back to that time!
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Published by Simon & Schuster on February 19, 2019

Who Killed the Fonz? is simple, amusing, a little schmaltzy, and somewhat predictable. In other words, it’s like a typical episode of Happy Days.

Richard (no longer Richie) Cunningham has grown up. He has a wife and children. Joanie and Chachi are still in Milwaukee. His father has died but his mother moved to the LA area and lives with him. He is a screenwriter who, despite an Oscar nomination, is widely seen as washed up. Nobody wants to make the movie he’s been working on for three years. His agent is giving him a chance to write a movie called Space Battles (a Star Wars knockoff with blood and boobs), calling it Richard’s last chance.

On the day he gets that news, he learns that Fonzie crashed his motorcycle into a guardrail and plummeted into a river. His body was not recovered but his funeral has been scheduled. And so Richard goes back to Milwaukee, attends the funeral with Potsie and Ralph, and pokes his nose into Fonzie’s mysterious death. He also meets a friendly fellow who is running for governor and gets (he hopes) a career jumpstart by writing and directing the guy’s campaign commercial. The candidate and his wife, of course, were great fans of Fonzie, who had a lot of admirers despite being a loner who refused to abandon his greaser image.

Fonzie, the story tells us, was always true to himself, in many ways helping Richie find the courage to be who he wanted and needed to be. To thine own self be true is the novel’s theme, although spoken in Fonzie’s voice. So this simple story teaches a simple lesson just like a Happy Days episode. That’s not all bad.

I won’t say anything about the mystery surrounding Fonzie’s death or the other plot elements. I could complain that the ending is predictable, but this is the kind of book that, like a Happy Days episode, demands a predictable ending. I will say that an appreciation of the story demands a familiarity with the television series. It wouldn’t be meaningful for a reader to think about Richie’s adult life or his relationship with Fonzie without having seen some episodes, a few of which the novel describes.

I don’t remember when I stopped watching the show (it was before the 10-year run ended), and I have to admit that the only described episode I remember involved Fonzie locking a burglar in a closet. Fonzie was more memorable than the plots, at least to me. That might be true of this book, as well. The plot is amusing but it primarily serves as a vehicle for bringing Fonzie back into the lives of readers who watched Happy Days 40 years ago (or younger readers who watched it in reruns).

Fonzie is a television icon and the characters in the novel remember him in an idealized way — “the tough guy with impeccable virtue, the philosopher with grease-covered hands, the lone wolf whose loyalty to those he considered a friend was unbreakable” — the way in which icons deserve to be remembered. Like most Happy Days episodes, Who Killed the Fonz is pleasant but forgettable, while reminding us that Fonzie was one of the most entertaining television characters to emerge from the 1970s.

RECOMMENDED
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I grew up watching happy days and couldn't wait to read what had happened to my favorite characters, The book starts around 20 years after the series (1984) with Richie Cunningham returning home to the funeral of his friend the fonz. that he finds out was murdered.  the mystery was ok, kinda predictable  but the book was a really enjoyable read
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The year is 1984, and Richard "Richie" Cunningham gets bad news from his hometown in Milwaukee. Arthur Fonzarelli, his best friend when he was growing up, the Fonz is dead. Fonzie was driving his motorcycle when he crossed a bridge and lost control and into the guardrail. He went over the handlebar into the water, but no body has been found. Crushed Richard gets back home to the memorial service for Fonzie. In Milwaukee, the memories of his youth come back, but he also realizes the death of the Fonz may be something other than accidental. It may have been murder.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION: http://freshfiction.com/review.php?id=67878
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The story was very interesting, the characters were as I remembered in the television series '"Happy Days" and it certainly brought back very happy memories.  I found it to be a entertaining read.
I would like to thank  Net Galley for the Advance Readers Copy in exchange for my honest review.


.To be published in the blog on Saturday 22nd, 2019. in the blog below
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I had such high hopes for this read and while it didn't really disappoint me, it wasn't exactly everything I wanted either.  Richard (don't call me Richie) Cunningham is living in California with his family and is trying once again to write and direct a critically acclaimed film.  Despite having previous success, he is currently struggling when he returns home one day to discover his childhood best friend, the Fonz, has died.  Richard returns to Milwaukee for the funeral and once he arrives, he starts questioning if Fonz's death was actually an accident.  So he, Ralph Malph and Potsie team up to find out what really happened.  

Let's get the main issue out of the way so I can gush about the rest.   Overall, I felt "Who Killed the Fonz" had a pretty weak mystery.  In fact, it was almost downright predictable.  And while there were a couple of twists thrown in for good measure, one I guessed before I even cracked the spine (or in my case, turned on the Kindle).  That being said, this books was crammed full of nostalgia and 80's references.  There were numerous pop culture references and considering I grew up watching Happy Days (and may have even had a crush on Fonzie for awhile) there were some aspects I had a blast reading.   I was sorry that Pinky Tuscadero was never mentioned those because I ALWAYS wanted to be Pinky.

So if you are looking for a wonderful mystery, then you're expectations may be a tad high.  However, if you are looking for nostalgia and pop culture references, then you can't go wrong with "Who Killed the Fonz."
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Richard "Ritchie" Cunningham is a struggling screenwriter living in LA in the 1980's when he gets a call the Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli is dead in WHO KILLED THE FONZ?, by James Boice.  Ritchie returns home and reminiscences about growing up in Milwaukee and all of the adventures and mishaps he had with his family and with Fonzie.  The more Ritchie is in Milwaukee, the more the truth comes out about Fonzie's accident and Ritchie's slowly discovers that maybe the accident wasn't an accident at all.
   Clearly a nostalgic piece about Happy days and the 1980's,  WHO KILLED THE FONZ? feels like a really fun TV movie.  Even the book cover looks like it could be a marketing graphic for a TV event.  There are no real surprises in the death investigation, but loads and load of smile inducing Happy Days and 1980's references that keep the reader floating along happily throughout the book.  The plot ties up nicely, like a good TV story and leaves all of the characters and the reader with a happy ending.
   A fun, bordering on a little campy (in a good way) story that reminds the reader how lovable the world of Happy days really was.
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20 years after the Happy Days, Richie Cunningham is a screenwriter. He heads back to Milwaukee after hearing that The Fonz has died.

This is a fun book that takes the element of a TV show - and expands it past it's end. It's like if Saved by the Bell continued past The College Years (no, I don't count "The New Class".  All our favorite characters appear - Ralph, Potsie, Arnold...

Fun read for fans of the show. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for this review.
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Review featured at www.books-n-kisses.com

When I saw this book I requested it figuring as a fan of the show I would find this book really cheesy… And I was not disappointed. But as a fan of the show (it was my favorite in the heyday of the show) I knew I wanted to read it. I gave it a shot figuring the author was just as much of a fan as I since he dreamt up this story.

But the story drug on way too long. There was so many mentions of episodes that I am pretty sure he didn’t miss one. All of the characters were there making cameo’s. But it was so slow I had to drag my way through the muck to get to the heart of the story.

Really what it comes down to is if you want a cheesy look back at old friends then this story is for you. But don’t expect a masterpiece. You won’t get it. 

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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I can’t say that this one was completely successful, but the concept was so clever and it was a quick read, so I don’t regret taking the time. Fans of Happy Days will catch all the inside jokes about episodes from the series – and there are many – so this is clearly meant for those familiar with the show. The idea of skewing the tone towards noir in the idyllic setting of the Cunningham’s community reminded me a bit of Riverdale, but I just wish the mystery elements had been stronger. Still, if you are a fan of the series, it’s enjoyably forgettable.
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Thanks to NetGalley, Simon Schuster, and James Boice for the opportunity to read and review this book.  4 stars for a fun, nostalgic read!

I grew up watching Happy Days - this is a book that examines the lives of the characters 20 years after the show ended - which puts the setting squarely in the 1980s.  So double nostalgia!  

Richard Cunningham is now a writer in Hollywood but it's the days of Terminator, Ghostbusters - not the story he envisions writing and directing.  His agent wants him to do a low budget Star Wars take off and if he doesn't, the agent will no longer represent him.  Money is tight and Richard is torn.  Then  a phone call comes telling him that Arthur Fonzarelli (The Fonz) has died in a motorcycle accident.  He goes back to his home town where he discovers he no longer fits in, until he decides to look into the Fonz's death.

Just a fun read that will leave you feeling the way the show did - It's Happy Days when you put family and friends first!
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This book is quirky and a bit strange when you begin reading it because it seems really strange to be reading about the characters from "Happy Days" twenty years later. The characters have grown up and gone their separate ways. They are drawn back to their home town for Fonzi's funeral. It seems that Fonzi had an accident on a rain-slick bridge and plunged to his death. No one can believe that the Fonz is really gone, least of all Richard ( as Richie is called now). Richard's reunion with his friends is uncomfortable but as they reminisce, Richard begins to see some subtle clues that something is just not right about Fonzi's accident. This gets the whole gang in lots of adventurous trouble.
This is a brilliant re-imagining of these characters lives and a really entertaining mystery.
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Who Killed the Fonz by James Boice is an entertaining mystery  novel about the TV show "Happy Days" which brings back lots of memories. The story was interesting. The characters were as I remember them in their original roles. This was an OK read. Thank you NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I live the memories that this book brought out. The story was entertaining. The characters were true to their original roles. This was a fun read.
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