The Price of Experience: Money, Power, Image, and Murder in Los Angeles

Randall Sullivan, Author
Randall Sullivan, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87113-512-4
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As much a cultural history of L.A. in the 1980s as a true-crime account, freelance journalist Sullivan's study of the so-called Billionaire Boys Club and its sociopathic leader, Joe Hunt, offers a remarkable array of elaborate deceptions and double crosses, all bound together in a gripping narrative. Hunt was a magnetic figure whose unruffled assurance and flamboyant techniques as a young commodities trader drew to him a circle of loyal disciples and eager investors. Forming a corporation, the BBC, with a group of extremely well-connected but shiftless men, Hunt gathered millions in investment capital, money that he embezzled and lost in reckless trading while deceiving his investors. As conspicuous consumption and poor business decisions further unraveled the BBC, Hunt resorted to increasingly violent criminal tactics. Eventually, pursued by law enforcement agencies as a suspect in cases ranging from murder to kidnapping to violating SEC codes, Hunt was convicted of murder in 1987. He initiated an appeal process that continues to this day. Sullivan does a superlative job of bringing together an elaborate chain of events, offering considerable insight not just into Hunt but into an entire cast of disturbed and disturbing characters. (Apr.)
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