Synopses & Reviews
In the early-morning hours of August 5, 1962, Los Angeles County deputy coroner Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world's most famous movie star, now lying dead in her bedroom, naked and still clutching a telephone. There he discovers The Book of Secrets - Marilyn Monroe's diary - revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as "The General." In the following days, Ben unravels a wide-ranging cover-up and some heartbreaking truths about the fragile, luminous woman behind the celebrity. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts in The Book of Secrets bleed into Ben's own life, and he finds himself, like Monroe, trapped in a deepening paranoid conspiracy. The Empty Glass is an unforgettable combination of the riveting facts and legendary theories that have dogged Monroe, the Kennedy's, the Mafia, and even the CIA for decades. It is an exciting debut from a remarkable new thriller writer.
"James Ellroy fans will relish Baker's impressive first novel, a dark paranoid thriller. On August 5, 1962, Ben Fitzgerald, an L.A. deputy coroner specializing in suicides, answers a summons to go to the modest Brentwood home of Marilyn Monroe. His colleagues and her friends are keen to classify the movie star's death as a suicide, but Fitzgerald has his doubts, which only intensify after he stumbles across Monroe's diary, loaded with cryptic references to 'the General' and Cuba. The possible suspects in a potential murder case won't surprise those versed in the rampant speculation surrounding Monroe's death, but barbed prose makes a familiar story fresh, as does the effective use of flashbacks and flash-forwards, starting with Fitzgerald's account of his shooting of a police captain who tried to get him to swallow a fatal dose of pills. Fluent in the noir idiom, Baker, CondÃ© Nast Traveler's executive editor, maintains the depressing atmospherics throughout. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Weaving together true historical events with infamous conspiracy theories, The Empty Glass is a riveting, paranoiac thriller narrated by the young coroner who is among the first on scene at Marilyn Monroe's bungalow when the actress is reported dead.
“J. I. Baker takes a bold run into Cain and DeLillo territory and scores.” —Barry Gifford, author of Wild at Heart
In the early-morning hours of August 5, 1962, Los Angeles County deputy coroner Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world’s most famous movie star, now lying dead in her bedroom. There he discovers The Book of Secrets—Marilyn Monroe’s diary—revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as “The General.” In the following days, Ben unravels a cover-up that implicates the Kennedys, the Mafia, and the CIA. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts recorded in The Book bleed into Ben’s own life, and he finds himself trapped—like Monroe—in a deepening paranoid conspiracy. A knockout combination of fact and legend, The Empty Glass is a riveting debut thriller.
About the Author
J. I. Baker is the executive editor of Conde Nast Traveler, and a former development editor at Time Inc. He has also worked at Real Simple, Glamour,
and US Weekly
and is a founding editor of Time Out New York.
This is his first novel.