The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age
by Andrew Amelinckx
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 21 Feb 2023
Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press, Counterpoint
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.
“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.”
“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
“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
“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 additive 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
“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