The Charmer is as frightening a true crime book as I have ever read. In particular, the subject of this book, Robert Reldan, was handsome, extremely dangerous and totally terrifying.
From the start of the book, the scene is set to show how Reldan, despite getting into quite serious legal strife as a teen and in his 20s, was dealt with leniently by the courts and could have been prevented from going on to murder two women in 1975. The other disturbing and baffling aspect to this story is that Reldan’s very, very rich aunt Lillian continued to support him – even testifying for her nephew amid evidence that he planned to have her killed – and she left around $9 million to Reldan in her will. Reldan became known as the “richest prisoner in America”.
In a victory of sorts (though for the families of murder victims is there really any kind of justice?) the family of one of the women Reldan murdered – Susan Reeve – fought for the money Reldan inherited to be given to them in the guise of a wrongful death action on behalf of their daughter. Even more tragic is that Reldan was only just out of prison on parole when he spotted Susan and zeroed in. The Reeves were awarded money – to be distributed annually from income from Reldan’s trust – to the value of $10million or until Reldan died. Reldan is now in his seventies. The money all goes into a scholarship fund set up in Susan’s name at the college she graduated from not long before she was killed.
The Charmer is a recommended read. Very detailed yet easy to follow. The authors are authoritative too – Richard Muti and Charles Buckley are both experienced prosecutors and their backgrounds lend a real “weight” (in a good way) to this book. Their knowledge and experience of criminals and the legal system is obvious in the pages of The Charmer.