The Eighteenth Green (Beaufort Books) billed as a Jack Patterson Thriller by Webb Hubbell, is a fast-paced, twisty legal thriller set in Washington. The reader gets that the author really knows Washington, how the U.S. government works, and the lengths the government will go against someone. The government will imprison an innocent person, use the media to have that person convicted in the court of public opinion and, because that person knows too much, stand by as that person is murdered in prison…and label it a suicide.
But this book is as much about the author as it is the plot.
Webster Lee “Webb” Hubbell is a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton from way back in Arkansas, from the 1970s. There, he and Hillary were partners in the Rose Law Firm. As governor, Bill appointed Hubbell Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. As President, he appointed Hubbell associate attorney general, serving as the chief operating officer of 100,000 employees and a $10 billion budget.
Then Hubbell resigned. And in December 1994, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax fraud related to his work at Rose. He served 15 months in prison.
But that wasn’t the end of Hubbell’s troubles. Going after the Clintons, Independent Counsel Ken Starr became convinced that “Hubbell knew all the Clintons’ secrets that were under investigation and that, if pressured enough, Hubbell would tell all.” So, in the late 1990s, Starr indicted Webb Hubbell two more times. One indictment was dismissed. Another was resolved by Hubbell pleading guilty and being sentenced to one-year probation in return for Starr dropping all charges and agreeing never to prosecute Hubbell again.
In a recent interview, Hubbell was asked if Ken Starr’s pursuit of him consciously shaped The Eighteenth Green. For the novel is scathing. Early on, Jack Patterson muses that “With the Feds you have to assume no secrets exist…terms such as ‘national security’ override the attorney-client privilege and even the Bill of Rights.” Hubbell says, “Yes, I have a pretty jaded view of prosecutors but I don’t believe in living in the past. But I do learn from it.”
Hubbell goes on to say he hopes, in his thrillers, that readers will learn something. When Men Betray, an earlier book, shows the real commodity in Washington is information. Ginger Snaps, another by the author, exposes how Big Pharma works to stop the legalization of marijuana. A Game of Inches details how fantasy football is changing real football, changing the NFL. And The Eighteenth Green? Hubbell says, “Among other things, it reveals the power that government contractors have on government.”
The Eighteenth Green treats the reader to an insider’s Washington…from an insider who is now an outsider. Says Hubbell, “As associate attorney general, I was the person whom the White House counsel would ask, ‘Is it okay for the president to be seen with Mr. or Ms. X?’ From there, I became a person with whom the president could not be seen.”
Yet Hubbell says that when he had a liver transplant, Bill Clinton flew down to be with him.
The Eighteenth Green reveals other treats about Webb Hubbell:
From a lavish breakfast at the start of chapter one to “the best crabs on the east coast” on the very last page, Jack Patterson knows and enjoys food. And Jack Patterson knows and enjoys football. The connection to Hubbell? He played offensive tackle for the Arkansas Razorbacks and was drafted by the Chicago Bears. And as a big man and a lover of food, he has fought weight all his adult life. Says Hubbell, “I gain and lose a human being every year.”
And from The Eighteenth Green, the reader will gain a lot.
It starts with a corpse on the eighteenth green of a Chevy Chase, MD, country club. It ends in the Washington D.C. Press Club with Jack Patterson exposing how, breaking the law, the U.S. government and a government contractor sold a weapons system to an ally, which used it to kill an innocent man…and how the U.S. government then framed his widow.
In between, the reader is treated to a very convincing and very satisfying rollercoaster ride. Hubbell spins an intricate web of deceit…and then tears it apart.
The next Jack Patterson thriller will be out in the summer of 2019. The consummate insider, Hubbell has more to reveal.
The Eighteenth Green is now available for purchase.