I have a deep personal interest in this story which I will explain as I review and discuss this fascinating book. I was so taken in by its seedy plot as to stay up all night to finish reading it.
I have always been the type who can get so absorbed in a book that I let everything else around me fade away as I lose myself into the storyline if it captivates me that much.
Inititally, I found the opening chapter boring since Marilyn Monroe has frankly never appealed to me very much. She has too often represented the kind of female whose lifestyle honestly bores me no end. I find nothing appealing about women's tits and ass, so that right away you know that this is a man's book written for men more than for women. All men seem to be gaga over the scintillating tits and ass that Marilyn wore so well on her way to the top.
However, her naked swim scene did end with a line so funny that I laughed out loud and was thereafter taken in to like this book. I found this man's frankness about his love for this sex queen to be very funny and amusing to me.
I grew up on Mickey Spillane books. I loved and adored his detective stories in which men lust after women openly and wantonly. My family was very honest and open about sexuality early in my childhood so I had no inhibitions about reading sex based stories. They did not arouse my libido but they did satisfy my curiosity. I was very virginal in my youth but I loved reading about adult male sexual interests, so I was prepared for this kind of continuation by Max Allan Collins. He corroborated with Mickey Spillane on several of his books so the style is very similar and reminiscent. I liked being taken back to the days of my youth.
Since I was also a big fan of JFK, I found this piece of history regarding his history to be very interesting. Time has revealed that John F. Kennedy has had many enemies who have seen fit to publish every bit of gossip imagined about him, and naturally, one of the most interesting is his ties to Marilyn Monroe. Until I read this book, I had no idea that he had had an early first marriage before that to Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, but it turns out that he had married a woman and had had to have had it annulled. The fictional detective in this story was used to help terminate and annul that first marriage since it was nothing but a brief fling...A story is told about his naval days in which he was quite a hero, and which is the cause for which he is said to have become such a famous womanizer...live every day as though it could be your last...from this we get the idea that women are key to making Jack's final days happy days.
Soon after this birthday celebration, Marilyn's life turns into a nightmare as she struggles to save her fading career with Twentieth Century Fox, as well as the studio's future itself.
The book examines very carefully in a fictional story the last months of Marilyn's life. Collins has created a detective who actually loves Marilyn enough to be her body guard and friend when she calls for him to help her in her distress. Nate Heller, own of A-1 Detective agency, flies from Chicago to help the ailing actress who is trying to salvage her career from the mean, nasty bosses at Twentieth Century Fox Studios.
In the meantime, we meet up with all the underworld gangsters and mobsters who surround Hollywood types, especially Frank Sinatra, and Peter Lawford, all the cops, FBI, and CIA personnel who are likewise involved in not only protecting the President and his brother, the Attorney General, but also the journalists and gossip columnists who are studying the life out of Marilyn. This parade of the high and mighty in Hollywood land reads like a VIP list as the Kennedy family is very big and noisy and highly influential in all its dealings.
The insights into the government, into Hollywood secrets, and the number of people involved in simply one stars life is incredibly fascinating and interesting through this fictionalized tale. He does end up solving the case, identifying a murderer, and justice wins out to some extent, but again this is all a piece of fantasy more than reality so that the real question will always remain...how and why did Marilyn Monroe really die? Is it suicide? Is it murder? Or was it accidental? If, and the author maintains that the story is based upon a lot of fantastic research, all that is reported in this book is true, then it does look like murder she wrote....but because of the ties to the Kennedy family, all this becomes very hush hush and totally dismissed for security's sake.
Marilyn is history now...and she continues to be exploited year after year as if there were no other piece of flesh in town in which to make bread. Norma Jean may rest in peace for she is clearly forgotten, but the icon Marilyn will reign forever as Hollywood's major sex goddess!! A fascinating read...I recommend it to anyone who likes tits and ass. I did see that I said that I have a deep and personal interest in this story...I will explain...
Giancana makes a personal appearance in this novel which is quite surprising and unexpected...It is easy to make mobsters and gangsters the fall guys, but it is always a possibility that he had had some influence...I frankly doubt it...but then who is to know? That is why it is a mystery.
My other interest naturally is that my students at GHS would tell me that I was their MM, the poor man's version of course...So I have always managed to care about her in MY WAY.
Enjoy the book if you decide to read it...It is one of the better reads on the topic! And I know that Max Allen Collins is careful in his research since he lists a bibliography so extensive it would make you choke!