I received a review copy of “The Charmer: The True Story of Robert Reldan – Rapist, Murderer and Millionaire — and the Women who Fell Victim to his Allure” by Richard Muti and Charles Buckley. I looked forward to it since I enjoy reading out and researching older crimes. This is one I had vaguely heard of, but had not heard the details. This book provided an in-depth look at Robert Reldan,a sociopath who was clean cut, good-looking, and quite the charmer. In fact, so much the charmer that he was able to get out of actually paying the consequences for many violent crimes before he was even an adult, and then even as adult. That is, until he killed 2 young women.
This book is very well-written and explains the crime justice system, step-by-step, making it easy for anyone not familiar with the criminal justice system to understand. It shows that it does not run perfectly, but in most cases, justice is served, as it is in the end here. It is a compelling story, and done very well in this book. The book was hard to put down, and I carried it around quite a bit until I was done. My emotions ran high, especially seeing this clearly sociopathic man getting away with violence time and time again. It was unbelievable to me that his own parents and family could not see that he was such a danger to society, even to the point of ignoring clear signs. He was a convicted sex offender, yet they believed he would never hurt anyone. In my opinion, they need to shoulder some of the blame for the 2 murders and even some of his violence offenses, including rapes. It is good to know that he is and should be in prison for the rest of is life.
Another interesting aspect of case was that Reldan’s wealthy aunt left him millions in her will, even though he tried to have her murdered and he was in prison for the murders of 2 young women. However, the parents of one of the victims, Susan Reeve, sued him and won $10 million, so that he could not benefit from her will and live a comfortable life inside of the prison. They have set up scholarships with the money so that others could get an education. They also oppose any chance Reldan has of gaining parole, and have even set it up with an attorney to represent them at his next parole if they are not alive. Currently, Reldan is 72 years old. I doubt he will make it to his next parole hearing or be paroled. It is widely known in NJ, especially with the parole board and corrections, that he is a dangerous person and should not ever be paroled.
This was a great book and I highly recommend it. It is a great case study of how charming a sociopath can be and how he fooled so many people, not just his family. He fooled a psychiatrist, a parole board, a prison guard and a parole officer, just to name a few.