Bogus Book

Surprise: 'Miami Psychic' A Sham

You might have thought you'd heard the last of "Regina Milbourne" and her "non-fiction" book Miami Psychic. But you just aren't that lucky. I wrote about the book in this earlier post, but to refresh your memory, here's the way HarperCollins is promoting the book and its authors (Miami Psychic's co-writer is Yvonne Carey, a freelance reporter who has done a lot of work for both the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel):

"Regina Milbourne first realized her psychic gift two weeks after almost drowning in an unattended swimming pool when she was twelve. With only a sixth-grade education, and half her life spent as a practicing psychic, she is coming clean to leave her past behind. She lives in Miami, Florida."

Well I dug into the mysterious Milbourne's identity and found out she is really Gina Marie Marks, a member of a notorious Gypsy tribe. She actually lives in Broward County and hasn't left her past behind at all -- Marks is still telling fortunes, despite her promise in the book that she was giving it up. Oh, and she was implicated in a fortune telling scam in California that, needless to say, wasn't mentioned in the book. Marks escaped criminal charges in the scam when her attorney Jim Lewis (best-known for representing Lionel Tate) arranged full restitution for the victims.

HarperCollins, according to a publicist, had no idea that Milbourne wasn't really Milbourne. The book, in short, is fiction -- bad fiction. Here's a link to my article on it. (Carey, who is currently working as a "special correspondent" in Weston for the Sentinel, hasn't responded to interview requests).

This is one of those weird double-edged stories. It's righting a wrong, but don't be surprised to sales shoot up because of it (the story has already been posted on Jossip.com ). And that is clearly a disservice that one can't truly appreciate unless they've had the displeasure of actually reading the book.

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