Once Wicked Always Dead

Once Wicked Always Dead

By: T. Marie Benchley
Publisher: MMWE. Publishing House
Publication Date: September 2010
ISBN: 978-0984478705
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 17, 2010

Forty-five-year-old Molly Madison was sitting at the Palma Cia Country Club having a gab fest with her best friend, Leeza. They were taking a couple of cheap shots at “repulsive Amberly Dent,” first class gold digger, who was, unfortunately for her, stuck with her fourth husband who was between eighty and death and insisted on sidestepping that banana peel. Misery loves company and Molly, who was a Big Sky country girl appeared to have it all, but “on the inside she felt substandard and lost.” (pg. 7) Appearances were deceiving because she was beautiful, her husband was an ambitious lawyer (Harvard Law no less), and she had a wonderful daughter. If the little old Montana gal turned rich city slicker felt her world was boring, she’d soon be in for a few surprises, surprises she could live without.

Phillip Madison was a ‘keeping up appearances’ man with big ambitions, but somehow thought no one would ever notice the double life he led. Molly was always hob nobbing it up at the Palma or doing her thing, but things were getting a bit touchy when someone started yapping about being the other woman. Secrets and lies, secrets and lies . . . “On the outside Phillip looked like he had it all, but on the inside he had dark, ugly secrets.” (pg.14) Sloan was getting darn sick of having to play second fiddle to Molly and he was going to break the news to her. Of course when Gavin and Addie O’Malley, Molly’s parents talked, Gavin made no bones about the fact that he disliked his “pansy---- son-in-law.” It irked him to think that one day that man would inherit the Ghost Bear Ranch in Bozeman, Montana.

Sloan was watching, but someone else even more evil than himself was lurking in the background. Phillip’s secret little life would soon come to an end, but he didn’t raise an eyebrow when his lover angrily lashed out at him saying, “You’ll be back, Phillip, and the next time you’ll stay.” (pg. 54) An evil psychopath was watching them, but she was busy trying to rid the world of the “perverts, the evil men who preyed upon the good and innocence of others . . . ” (pg. 75). She would be back when the time was right. A little surprise awaited the redheaded maggot in the form of a syringe loaded with “A shot of Hep B, a shot of Hep C and a chaser of AIDS.” (pg. 128) The roller coaster ride had begun.

An accident made Molly into an heiress of epic proportions. She quickly discarded her disgusting husband for a life on her 45,000 acre deeded ranch as she waited for her divorce to go through. A real man, Clayton Leatherbe would be there to take care of her. Sloan began to grow weaker as the days went by and Phillip had been grasped by the long fingers of his own karma. From Tampa to the Big Sky things began to churn. An old woman sat in a bar not far from the Ghost Bear Ranch and began to talk. “She’s not the only seed of Gavin O’Malley. I know secrets . . . lots of secrets.” (pg. 166) She had to be stopped. The airlines were busy making reservations to a little hole in the wall. Bozeman, Montana, please. Bozeman, Montana ... two seats. Can you get me a seat on the next plane to Bozeman? Why was everyone suddenly interested in Molly’s place in paradise? What evil could possibly befall an innocent woman? Ah, but there were secrets. Evil ones, very evil.

This amazing psychological thriller, with its incredible mix of romance, deep dark secrets, and sheer evil will blow your mind. I was simply amazed at how well crafted this book was. There were numerous little subplots that were very interesting, but when they all came together at the end, their combined impact was explosive. When I think “Benchley” I can almost hear those two little cello chords announcing the arrival of an evil denizen of the ocean. In this novel I heard those chords more than once. My eyes widened when the e-v-i-l psychopath lurked behind her cloak of anonymity and suddenly jumped into the plot, but then again my heart quickened when there was a romantic scene between Molly and Clayton, the big tough cowboy. No spoilers here, but this was simply a stunning debut novel you might just want to consider reading!

Quill says: Get ready for a few surprises ... you're never going to know who's going to be lurking around the corner in this book!

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