Mary Ronan Drew's Reviews > The Empty Glass

The Empty Glass by J.I. Baker
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Aug 01, 2012

it was amazing

I'm giving this book five stars despite quitting after about 100 pages. The Empty Glass by J I Baker is a "modern noir" about the death of Marilyn Monroe. The narrator is an assistant coroner in LA, a colleague of the later-famous Thomas Naguchi. He is called to the scene at Monroe's modest (by Hollywood standards) hacienda and he immediately notes many discrepancies and questionable practices (like calling the studio immediately and then waiting four hours to call the police.) Most of what we are told is historical but some of it is rumor, such as the involvement of the Kennedys and a diary found at the scene.

So why did I quit reading this wonderful book? It's too good. Too well written. I can't take the darkness of the noir and the nervous feeling with which it is drenched. However, for anyone who likes Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, a little gore, threatening suspense, and an updated sense of the gritty underworld of the 40s, this book would be very rewarding.
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Reading Progress

August 1, 2012 – Started Reading
August 1, 2012 – Shelved
August 1, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Cynthia "I can't take the darkness of the noir and the nervous feeling with which it is drenched."

And that's one of the things I liked best about it.....


Mary Ronan Drew I thought of you, Cynthia, every moment I was reading this book. You could have /written/ it!


Cynthia Ut oh! I hope I'm only that transparent to you. lol


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol Oh my, that's the first time I know of someone putting down a book because "It's too good".

Very interesting review.


message 5: by Joni (new)

Joni Robbins Sounds great but I think it was in the 50's...


Mary Ronan Drew Was it the 50's, Jonie, when all those black and white movies had the shadows of venetian blinds in them? I should have been able to date them from the clothes.

Chelsea, the author is so good at creating that retro atmosphere that I read this book in black and white, if you know what I mean, even though we were into the 1960s when the events happened.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Baker Hi, Mary--I've gotten some really good reviews for this book, but I have to say I probably like yours best of all, because you loved the book but HAD to put it down because it made you nervous. To that, I would say....hey, try living MY (nervous) life. But thanks a lot, and thanks for reading it! (And you, too, Cynthia!)

BTW yes I understand EXACTLY what you mean by the black venetian blinds thing--that was in my head the whole time I was writing, as was the movie DOUBLE INDEMNITY, which mostly pioneered that whole noir look and feel. If you want more of that essence, or more info on the MM case, check out emptyglassnovel.com. (Lots of stuff there that isn't in the book—and I also wrote the PEOPLE magazine article on MM in this week's issue!) Thanks again! Jim Baker


message 8: by Joni (new)

Joni Robbins Mary Ronan wrote: "Was it the 50's, Jonie, when all those black and white movies had the shadows of venetian blinds in them? I should have been able to date them from the clothes.

Chelsea, the author is so good at c..."


Mary Ronan wrote: "Was it the 50's, Jonie, when all those black and white movies had the shadows of venetian blinds in them? I should have been able to date them from the clothes.

Chelsea, the author is so good at c..."

I think so....but I could be wrong. I can't wait to read the book!!


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