Dead Secret by Richard Milton

Hard-nosed reporter Tony Gabriel thinks he's seen everything and knows it all.  Until he meets the woman who turns his life upside down.

"It was obvious from the day he was born that the Gabriel boy took after his mother in every way.  He would be a marked man from birth to death . . ."

Investigative journalist Tony Gabriel inherits a bizarre bequest - the research papers and books of a long-dead Cambridge historian - and a human skull.  With no clue to the meaning of this mysterious legacy, Tony puts his years as a reporter to use to begin an investigation who he really is - and is stunned by what he uncovers.

"Suddenly, all the rules of his life seemed to have been broken at once."

Tony's invesigations lead him to The Chadwick Foundation - a wealthy and secretive institution whose bizarre beliefs in the paranormal both repel and attract him.  Are they just rich, powerful people playing an elaborate game, or have they truly gained paranormal powers to see into the future?

Eve Canning is the keeper of The Foundation's secrets, a powerful and enigmatic woman whose regal beauty turns Tony’s search for the truth into a very personal quest - and his life and beliefs upside down. Tony is a scientific rationalist - a myth-buster who exposes quacks and charlatans in his magazine, Insight. He can take women or leave them - or used to be able to. Now Eve seems to prove that everything he believes is wrong.

And she seems to know more about Tony than he knows about himself.  Is he from an ordinary suburban background as he believes? Or is he descended from the Bourbon Kings and Queens of France - possessing royal blood in his veins and inherited psychic gifts?

"You see more than ordinary people.  It's in your blood."

Tony is bewildered by the horrifying conspiracy he begins to unravel.  Can human heads really be used to predict the future of entire nations?  Why would the immensely wealthy Chadwick Foundation pay $7 million for the skull of Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev? Is the British government and its intelligence services involved?   When Tony witnesses the Home Secretary die in an elaborate sex ritual at a Belgravia dinner party he knows he has gone too far to back away.

He also realises that backing out is no longer an option, and Eve's addictive form of love making has a price.  She is a sadist who specialises in erotic asphyxiation. And she has revived a ritual form of sex from French revolutionary times that literally makes death an aphrodisiac.

"Are you afraid of me? she asked.  Yes, he said. . “.

Tony has more to fear than just the Chadwick Foundation. Sinister French scientist C├ęsar Casimir -- expelled from the Pasteur Institute under a cloud -- wants to make Tony the subject of an experiment to prove the existence of precognitive powers -- but it is an experiment conceived in hell, where success means death.

“I am the keeper of a great secret.  I have been looking for someone worth sharing it with.”

When Tony is initiated by Eve and her cult into the ultimate terrifying secret, he has a decision to make that can cost him his life: he can achieve a form of immortality but only by risking everything.

What Reviewers Say

"This is a fascinating, and spine-chilling tale told by a Master of the craft of writing and is one of the few genuinely 'unputdownable' books I have read."

"Dead Secret is a story that has it all: a terrific plot that interweaves eternal youth with alchemy and conspiracy theories; money like you've never dreamed of, sex exactly as you've dreamed of, and death as it's never quite been portrayed before, and that portrayal is a nightmare."

"Dead Secret" contains several scenes of highly unusual and graphically-depicted sex. Don't try this at home - unless you're sure what you're doing.”

This novel is a delight from start to finish - covering everything from mediums, through telepathy, clairvoyance, apparitions, Jung and synchronicity, the I-Ching, numerology, physiognomy, out of body experiences - not forgetting a secret, dangerous sexual rite which leads to such intense pleasure that it can trip the mind into a higher state of consciousness - and even kill.”