Readers' Favorite

September 16, 2020

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow ~ a Review

by Alison DeLuca

Lately, I've been absorbed by Catch and Kill. I read this book during a difficult start to a new school year, made all the more delicate with COVID and my daughter's 11th grade challenges during a pandemic. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

Cover of Catch and Kill by Ronan FarrowIn the midst of all that, a friend loaned me Farrow's book with its gorgeous cover and compelling blurb:

"In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family."

This drew me right in, and I didn't put down the book for two weeks. I read it slowly, wanting to absorb every word and understand Farrow's investigation, told as an anecdotal discovery.

The title refers to a process practiced most notably by the National Enquirer. This tabloid newspaper often paid for salacious stories and told the witnesses or victims to sign non-disclosure agreements. Instead of publishing those articles, however, the stories were 'killed' in order to protect sexual predators.

The most famous, of course, was Harvey Weinstein. 

For years Weinstein seemed untouchable. His company, Miramax, produced movies that were original and raked in the Oscars, from Sex, Lies, and Videotape to Pulp Fiction. It was said that Harvey's name was invoked so often at award shows, only God was mentioned more often.

And then Ronan Farrow began to investigate the whispered rumors that Weinstein was a predator. 

Despite threats, sources backing out, and legal complications, Farrow never gave up. Eventually, he and others published this article in The New Yorker, which led to a Pulitzer Prize and, most people agree, the birth of the #MeToo movement.

Catch and Kill is the long history of that article and how it nearly never happened. Weinstein's accusers were originally slated to appear on NBC, but it seems that Oppenheim, the lead at the channel, 'caught and killed' that story. As a result, Farrow had to shop out his research to a print source.

It's a fascinating book filled with horrifying moments as he describes what those actresses and assistants suffered at Miramax. Farrow, who is the son of Mia Farrow, doesn't shy away from his own family history. His sister accused Woody Allen of assaulting her in another story that was eventually caught and killed. 

One of the saddest parts of Catch and Kill was how victims were made out to be villains. Rose McGowan and Asia Argento both garnered bad press as a result of their coming forward. 

The original article presents the facts in Weinstein's case in a deadly quiet tone, letting the facts speak for themselves. When I reread it to write this review, the final line chilled me to the bone. 

Farrow's book describes his point of view as he chased the story, often running into Catch and Kill methods. As well, he began to suspect he was followed. Strange messages popped up on his phone. In New York City, Farrow's doorman told him the same car had been parked outside his apartment building for days with the same men in it. It looked like they were watching Farrow. 

That spy note takes over the final third of the book, showing how rich and influential abusers would go to any lengths to protect their lifestyles. Weinstein seemed to be in denial when he finally realized he could not, in fact, 'catch and kill' the New Yorker story (as well as a milder piece that appeared first in The New York Times.) 

Tell them I'm a work in progress, Weinstein suggested to his minions. Tell them I'll set up a fund to help women, that I'll seek therapy and take classes to manage my little problem. In his mind, there was no such thing as actual responsibility for his actions. 

Once I started reading Farrow's book, it was impossible to put down. As well as a searing expose, Catch and Kill is a spy story that could become a fascinating film.

If you like investigative journalism and want to learn more about the start of the #MeToo movement, I highly recommend Farrow's book. It's one of the best I've read this year. 

(For those who are triggered by abuse, keep in mind that the victims are quoted verbatim. At times those accounts are intense.)

Buy Catch and Kill at Amazon

Start reading:

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Currently, she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. 

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. This sounds a fascinating read, I’ve added it to my list, thanks for sharing!