This is a book that might be considered “historical fiction”, but, not in the way you might expect. The famous characters that you recognize are who you think they are, but, what they say and do is not something you would find in an actual biography of the famous characters, or anything you would be taught in a history class. Consider this book to be a work of historical fiction in a parallel universe that is strikingly similar to ours, yet, with it’s own subtle differences.
It’s 1962 at the start of this book, and David Dengler appears to be stalking the beautiful and famous Marilyn Monroe. Dengler is no ordinary stalker, however, because following around Marilyn Monroe is his assignment. He is gathering intelligence for the U.S. Army.
I became instantly curious about Dengler, and his mysterious assignment. Was he going to kill Marilyn Monroe, or seduce her, or both? Is Dengler the hero, or the villain? Why, exactly, does the U.S. Army want to know what time Marilyn Monroe wakes up in the morning, and how often she waters her lawn? There has to be something more than meets the eye, I thought. And oh, was there! More than I ever expected when I first picked up this book.
Taylor is a master at blindsiding his readers with pivotal information that changes the entire story. You don’t see it coming. After it hits you it becomes very apparent just where that came from, and how it fits into the puzzle.
The twists of plot in this book are extreme, and perfect, and intense. I literally spent two days doing not much more than reading Red Mist, dying to know what happens next and how it all turns out!
Most readers are going to come into this book with an expectation that Marilyn Monroe dies, somehow, and that JFK and/or RFK have something to do with it, and then the story ends. Don’t be fooled by this belief! This is a parallel universe, remember? Things happen in this story that are realistic and unexpected at the same time.
Red Mist is a book with a whole lot to offer. Readers who enjoy intense thrillers that include political intrigue, governmental secrets, and double agents will be excited by this book. There are several mysteries to solve within these pages, but the clues will keep you guessing right up until the very end.
Taylor has created a vivid world to visit. I could hear the accents in the characters voices, see the scenes through their eyes, feel their adrenaline. Readers are given intimate details about what each character experienced before these events took place, which makes for some of the most detailed and realistic characters I’ve encountered.
Put this all together, and you have more than a great story, you have a journey for reader to travel. This makes the love scenes more emotional, the sex scenes even spicier, and the sad parts more tear-jerking. Few books make me want to cry, but this one very nearly achieved it in parts.
The realistic qualities of Taylor’s writing also made the violent parts (and there are plenty) so disturbing that there were times I felt nauseous. If you are a reader who has difficulty reading scenes that include torture, tread carefully here.
Personally, my favorite genre is horror, and I tend to enjoy a certain amount of violence in a book. One great thing about reading is that, for most books, you can select just how graphic a picture you want in your head as you read. Red Mist however, makes that impossible. You are not just watching a movie of these scenes, you are standing in the room as it takes place, you are the character it is happening to.