Filthy Rich, by James Patterson, John Connelly, and Tim Malloy

Eight stars

Needing a book to help fill a small gap before the end of the year, I turned to this James Patterson piece that has been collecting dust on my TBR shelf for a while. Patterson does not usually delve into non-fiction, but when he does, the reader can expect something of high quality (which surely begs the question, why does he torture his fiction fans with tepid writing at times?). He has teamed up here with two other authors, John Connelly and Tim Malloy, to add further depth and impact to the already troubling narrative. The brief dust cover commentary left me with some idea of what to expect as I looked into the life of Jeffrey Epstein, particularly his criminal behaviour, though nothing could have prepared me for the salacious nature of Epstein’s crimes or how money seems to have paved the way to his receiving a light slap on the wrist. Patterson et al. present the Epstein situation as one where a billionaire is able to use his financial holdings and penchant for young girls to fuel his own sexual gratification. Epstein employed an assistant and a few ‘scouts’ to bring other teenage girls (14-17) to his home in Florida, where they were told to offer him massages, clad sometimes in a pair of panties and, at other times, nothing at all. Epstein knew the girls’ ages, though he made it perfectly clear that he did not care. Sometimes a massage turned into sexual gratification for Epstein, as detailed on numerous occasions, with an outlandish recounting of events. While the police built a case and used some early girls to report on his actions, the lewd behaviour seemed to continue, where the girls were paid from $100-300, depending on what they were asked to do. Epstein seemed to be aware of the mounting case, but did not stop or seek to alter his approach. When the police acted and the Federal Government pressed charges, Epstein was able to call in favours and use his clout to defy all legal precedent, entering a plea and receiving minimal jail time (and the time he did spend was a joke). From there, the book explores the man, his far-reaching connections, and how being associated with him ruined some people. It is baffling to see this book progress, as the reader’s stomach will likely turn with each passing chapter. Wonderfully presented for such a horrid situation, it allows the reader to see that money can buy freedom and how the rich can be completely clueless about the laws the commoner must follow. I cannot think of a group of people who would ‘like’ this book, but it is a well-crafted piece that will surely blow the mind of many, without taking too long to devour its contents.

My interest in James Patterson is tepid at best, but this book has surely shown why I can sometimes applaud this author. Patterson use of Connelly and Malloy to craft this book, helping it flow and deliver a razor-sharp punch, complete with short chapters and a ‘to the point’ narrative for which Patterson is so famous. Patterson et al. push the reader into the middle of his horrific mess of sexual assault, child prostitution, and lewd pleasure-seeking, through a series of recreated interviews and conversations with victims of Epstein’s behaviour. What might be most stunning about the presentation of the book is that the victims tried to distance themselves from the acts, or even downplayed them. This emerges throughout the early part of the book, which pulls the reader in and forces them to want to know more, as if there is an addiction of sorts at play. The reader must know what happened (even if they remember the tabloid reporting) and how it all came crashing down. Interestingly enough, Patterson et al. make a point of showing that the normal course of justice seems to have been bastardised and Jeffrey Epstein was handled with kid gloves throughout. Even the required jail time left much to be desired. The evidence was there, the victims seemingly had lots to say about what happened to them, but high-priced lawyers and some glaring gaps in the legal system seem to have permitted Epstein to waltz through unscathed. This story is not one that even Patterson could dream up as he churns out pieces faster than most readers can type a review. Perfectly titled for its hideous abuse of the legal system, this book shows how money does talk and the laws are only for those who cannot circumvent them, even when children are being abused and the perpetrator does not deny it. Pardon me, as I need to vomit now that I have done my reviewing duty.

Kudos Messrs. Patterson, Connelly and Malloy. You’ve shed light on this horrendous collection of events and shown that even the likes of Donald Trump had enough sense to steer away from this man. If that doesn’t prove how awful Epstein is, nothing will!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: