ABOUT Marshall Thornton

Marshall Thornton
Marshall Thornton is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and author living in Long Beach, California. He has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA where he won the Carl David Memorial Fellowship for his romantic-comedy, Husband Material, as well as a BA in Creative Writing from Calif More...


Set in the ’90s during the Los Angeles riots, this contemporary noir follows a struggling real estate agent who’s cooked up a plan to make a big pot of money. Hanging around a Narcotics Anonymous meeting she finds a former addict struggling through the last stages of AIDS. Offering him support, she mortgages her home and uses the money to buy property in his name. Property she insures. As she waits for him to die so she can collect her big payday, she begins to suspect he may not be everything she thought.
Marshall Thornton's short story, "The Beneficiary," is a great suspenseful tale that takes place during the time of the 1990s Los Angeles riots, and is the story of a desperate real estate agent who comes up with a plan to commit insurance fraud involving finding, and marrying, a man who is near death's door. Despite the fact that she finds what seems to be the perfect mark for her plan, as the plan progresses, she begins to worry that things may not be quite as simple as she originally thought. 

Thornton's writing is excellent. His characters are well developed and the setting was enough to make one believe they are back in the 90s. The story progresses at a strong pace and keeps you guessing until it reaches an ending that to me has a bit of a Hitchcock-like twist. The story is short, and so it was a bit disappointing to reach the end so soon. But at the same time, in the hectic times we live in today, a good, quick read is also much appreciated sometimes, and this story definitely provides just such an experience. 

This is a story that I believe everyone will enjoy. 

- Gregory Bernard Banks, author & publisher