book reviews


Hollywood’s Evil Secret by Sally Winter

“What if… Marilyn knew up front that she was in danger and that her life was under threat?”

Conspiracy theories – the internet is full of them. But none was quite so intriguing as that which landed on Detective Constable Steve Murray’s desk one chilly morning.

With terrorist threats high on Scotland Yard’s agenda, a report of armed men holding a prisoner in a rural hideaway sparked an urgent investigation.

Tucked away in a rambling old estate in Oxfordshire a reclusive elderly lady sits, caught somewhere between the present and the past, as quietly elegant as the faded grandeur of her surroundings.

Prisoner, refugee or interloper? The identity of the old lady who calls herself Norma Jeanne is a puzzle that inexorably draws DC Murray in. His customary methodical objectivity is gradually eroded by the tantalising possibility that this might be the legendary screen icon who has somehow magically escaped death and sought refuge in sleepy rural England.

Although consistently portrayed as a dumb blonde, what if Marilyn was much more savvy than she was given credit for. What if she recognised her precarious position knowing, as she did, so much about the Kennedys.

Well imagined, this second novel by Sally Winter is testament to her fascination for that charismatic, vulnerable screen goddess. Somewhere between fantasy and crime thriller, ‘Hollywood’s Evil Secret’ postulates an alternative version of events during the last months of Marilyn Monroe’s life, exploring possibilities and repercussions and posing further questions. The ultimate ‘What if…’

Hollywood’s Evil Secret is available on Amazon and currently there are feature length and TV series screenplays being written.

Dhanmondi Road by R H Young

The year is 1973. The Bangladesh war of independence is over but the country remains in chaos. Gareth McKinley, a young Australian, arrives in the country to work on a project set up to care for destitute children. He quickly learns that living and working in a post-war environment can be dangerous.

The story opens at dawn at a dusty camel racetrack south of Dubai City, it is a portent of things to come…

Although he was more experienced than a lot of young men of his age, having travelled around Europe, Gareth was still something of a neophyte in the ways of the wider world. Stepping off the plane at Bangladesh International Airport he found himself catapulted into a culture as far removed from his carefree rural childhood as it was possible to be.

As he finds his feet in this unaccustomed culture he quickly warms to his role, working with local people establishing the ‘boys town’ where orphaned youngsters can learn vital skills in a safe environment. He gains confidence in his abilities, discovers who he can trust and even falls in love.

Then, through a series of apparently unrelated incidents, and prompted by the mysterious disappearance of two of the boys under his care, he uncovers a corruption deep within the system, which leads to child trafficking.

Dhanmondi Road captures the atmosphere of turmoil in this country recovering from war, along with the sense of foreignness experienced by the young Australian. Although Gareth’s assignment was for just one year, in this ‘hothouse environment of foreign aid work’ it seems he gains a decade of experience.

Available through Amazon, Waterstones and all local independent bookshops.

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