cover image The Marilyn Tapes

The Marilyn Tapes

Edward Gorman, E. J. Gorman. Forge, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85646-5

In this fast-paced tale of treachery and murder, Gorman cleverly combines the tawdry elements of Marilyn Monroe's drug-befuddled affairs with the Kennedy sons, a struggle between the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover to gain control of the Kennedys and aging gossip columnist Louella Parsons's last-gasp attempt to reestablish her power over the filmmaking industry. In the days immediately following Marilyn's suspicious death, a blackmailer claims to have tapes of her steamy trysts with JFK. In the ruthless struggle over their possession, Sara Drury, an editor of a Hollywood fan magazine, becomes an unwitting pawn. Prominent in the large supporting cast are Sara's ex, a failed actor living off Beverly Hills matrons; Lenihan, JFK'S personal hatchet man; a psychopathic lesbian terrorist working for Hoover; and assorted mobsters and film personalities. Served up machine-gun style in staccato episodes, the story ricochets off sociopathic power games in high places. Literary style is not Gorman's strongest suit, however; also, his narrative is occasionally marred by distracting trivia-including attempts to find dignity in Lenihan's loyalty to JFK and the sappy love-hate relationship between Hoover and longtime companion Clyde Tolson. (Jan.)