Book Review: THE EMPTY GLASS by J.I. Baker



Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Released: July 19, 2012
Source: Borrowed from the library

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.


THE EMPTY GLASS is an interesting fictitious account of Marilyn Monroe’s final days and death, blending facts with popular (conspiracy) theories.

The protagonist of the story is Ben Fitzgerald, the fictional deputy coroner for Los Angeles County, who is called to Marilyn’s home the morning after she died. His somewhat simple job of notifying next-of-kin becomes very complicated and dangerous when he finds and steals Marilyn’s diary (called The Book of Secrets!!). Some very powerful people find out Ben has the diary, and they’re determined to get it back, whatever the cost. Ben is not certain who is after him, but he knows his life is in danger, just as he’s sure Marilyn’s death was not suicide. He decides to investigate…

One of the big mysteries of the 20th century was what really happened to Marilyn Monroe, so I was curious to read this book. It took me a while to get used to the writing style. Ben is telling his story of the diary fiasco to someone – we don’t know who – then, the story suddenly flips to a past event. I had to really pay attention to keep characters, times and places straight.

Though I had some issues with the book, overall I enjoyed reading THE EMPTY GLASS. The author’s conclusion about how and why Marilyn Monroe died is quite plausible – I think. It does make me question a major part of the investigation. I read through this book pretty quickly because I had to know how it ended (and I’m not a fast reader!). A page turner, for sure. It was a great choice of book to read on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon.

Rating: 3 Stars