Bye Bye, Baby
Max Allan Collins
Forge, Aug 16 2011, $24.99
In the summer of 1962, private eye Nathan Heller is in Hollywood enjoying his time with the famous and infamous. He meets Marilyn Monroe, who hires the Chicago sleuth to wire tap her phone. Her studio blames her erratic behavior for the shutting down of a film in production. She believes the tapes will prove otherwise.
Heller figures this is an easy assignment with fringe benefits. However, he finds a horde of celebrities interested in Miss Monroe; enough to fill the Hollywood Bowl. Beside the president and his brother, her former husband the retired ballplayer, Frank, the CIA, the Russians and Hoover; there are also mobsters. They all fear what she might do next. When she dies from a reported overdose, Heller believes his occasional lover-client was assassinated.
The first Heller hard boiled noir in years (see Chicago Confidential) is an exciting look at the demise of Marilyn Monroe. Although nothing new is added to the conspiracy theory behind the legend’s death, the story line is fast-paced even with a real persona cast seemingly out of a Cecil B. DeMille movie as Heller works a case he personalizes.