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Spanning the underworld haunts of Montreal to Havana and Miami in the early days of the Cold War, Satellite Boy reveals the unlikely connection between an audacious bank heist and the “other Space Race” that gave birth to the modern communication age
On April 6, 1965, Georges Lemay was relaxing on his yacht in a south Florida marina following one of the largest and most daring bank heists in Canadian history. For four years, the roguishly handsome criminal mastermind hid in plain sight, eluding capture and the combined efforts of the FBI, Interpol, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. His future appeared secure.
What Lemay didn’t know was that less than two hundred miles away at Cape Canaveral, a brilliant engineer named Harold Rosen was about to usher in the age of global live television with the launch of the world’s first twenty-four-hour commercial communications satellite. Rosen’s extraordinary accomplishment would not only derail Lemay’s cushy life but change the world forever.
Brimming with criminal panache and technological intrigue, and set against a turbulent and iconic period that includes the moon landing and the civil rights movement, Satellite Boy tells the largely forgotten, high-stakes story of the two equally driven men who inadvertently launched the modern era.
About the Author
ANDREW AMELINCKX is a freelance journalist who has previously written three historical true crime books. He held down a variety of jobs, from bartending in New Orleans to burlesque dancing in New York City, before spending a decade as an award-winning investigative crime reporter for several news organizations, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Berkshire Eagle. His work has appeared in Business Insider, Smithsonian, Men’s Journal, Modern Farmer, and elsewhere. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.
"Mr. Amelinckx is an adroit storyteller and thorough researcher, and in Satellite Boy he has written a good, engrossing yarn." —Howard Schneider, The Wall Street Journal
"Amelinckx’s storytelling is a compelling way to help us make connections to historical events, allowing the reader into the political and social zeitgeist and to take stock of the possibilities of our species in dark times." —Matt Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press
"Amelinckx crafts a compelling dual narrative . . . Though real, Satellite Boy reads like a classic mid-century Space Race thriller, with clear-cut opposing forces of good versus evil, plus a little bit of added mafia drama appeal." —Stefanie Doucette, Law&Crime
"There are plenty of books on thrilling heists and the lives of skilled thieves out there—but most of them don’t dovetail neatly in with the annals of mass communication. With his book Satellite Boy, Andrew Amelinckx takes the reader back to the 1960s and to a place where two unlikely worlds converged. Think Heat by way of Marshall McLuhan." —Tobias Carroll, InsideHook
"A great story . . . It reads like a set piece from Ocean's Eleven . . . Entertaining." —Betsy Maury, Chronogram
"As with Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, Amelinckx develops his two narratives suspensefully and in excellent historical detail before braiding them together with the skill of a master weaver. No account of the technocratic 1960s is complete without this thrilling tale." —Booklist
"This colorful . . . dual biography mashes together the lives of Canadian bank robber Georges Lemay and American engineer Harold Rosen . . . Amelinckx lucidly explains the technical aspects and spotlights the boon communication satellites provided to law enforcement agencies." —Publishers Weekly
"Entertaining and colorful . . . Amelinckx’s book is ideal for both true-crime and technology buffs." —Library Journal
"Hardened criminal meets the slide rule in a historical true-crime tale . . . There are some nice twists and turns . . . True-crime buffs and historians of technology will find points of interest." —Kirkus Reviews
"An astonishing story from an astonishing era that will leave you wondering, how is it possible I never heard of this before? That’s because it took the brilliant investigative journalism and masterful storytelling of Andrew Amelinckx to finally piece it all together and bring it to life. All I can say is . . . Wow! Ocean’s Eleven meets 007, but it’s all true! An artful masterpiece that will leave you breathless. Good luck putting this one down." —Peter Houlahan, author of Norco '80
"With a master storyteller's gift for character, pacing, suspense, and detail, Amelinckx transports us from Montreal’s underworld to Havana, Miami, Cape Canaveral, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, all the while balancing two extraordinary narratives whose arcs will inevitably intersect. Amelinckx captures the riveting, cat-and-mouse game between Lemay, a dashing and wily arch criminal whose high-stakes exploits mesmerized all of Canada, and frustrated law enforcement officers in both the U.S. and Canada, whom Lemay manages time and again to outfox. While Lemay enjoys life on the lam, Harold Rosen, a visionary engineer, is developing a science fiction fantasy into the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, a technology that will transform communications and put an end to Lemay’s freedom. In Satellite Boy, Amelinckx deftly intertwines the unforgettable tales of these two men, weaving a crisp and vivid, historical page-turner —James Campbell, author of Braving It
"Andrew Amelinckx's Satellite Boy is a remarkable blend of good and evil, weaving together the stories of two masterminds—one a technical genius, one a murderous criminal—and the rise of a communications technology that connects both their lives. It's science, it's mystery, and it's a wholly addictive read." —Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
"Satellite Boy combines a high drama caper tale with a pitch-perfect examination of an era when technology felt breathtakingly new—if not impossible. Amelinckx's characters are vivid and compelling, the period details are lived in and authentic, and the story good and true. You'll rocket right through." —Joe Drape, New York Times bestselling author of Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen
"Satellite Boy by Andrew Amelinckx is one of the most entertaining, original, and informative stories I've read in a long, long time. It vividly brings to life the audacious and high-flying decade of the 1960s and demonstrates how our most important technological innovations sometimes come from the unlikeliest of circumstances. Amelinckx masterfully combines crime, high tech, and history into a crackling page-turner. And, amazingly, every word of it is true. Don't miss it!" —David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of She's Gone and The Finalists