In the tradition of Carter Beats the Devil and The Alienista historical page-turner and the debut of a spectacular young talent.
It is 1920s Philadelphia, a time when the feverish popular obsession with the paranormal is confronted by the inevitable ascendance of the scientific method. With everyone from Houdini to Arthur Conan Doyle weighing in on the existence of parapsychological phenomena, the media is as fixated on the sensational debate as scientists and would-be psychics. Indeed, in 1922, Scientific American offers five thousand dollars for evidence of "conclusive psychic manifestations."
Inspired by this real-life event, Inamorata follows Martin Finch, a twenty-three-year-old Harvard graduate student and member of Scientific American's investigative committee, on the case of a lifetimean attempt to determine whether Mina Crawley, a beautiful Philadelphia socialite, is able to contact the spirit realm. In the tiny upstairs room of the Crawleys' elegant Rittenhouse Square townhouse, Finch is prepared to debunk a fraud. But instead the man of science breaks the cardinal rule of psychic investigation: Never fall in love with the medium...
Inamorata, Gangemi's first published novel, features a cast of skeptical graduate students, morphine addicts, beguiling spirit-mediums, sadistic gynecologists, peg-legged Filipino butlers, and a talkative ghost. For historical fiction buffs who like their reading matter a little bit thrilling and more than a touch on the strange side. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
A skeptical investigator into paranormal phenomena has much in common with a skeptical book reviewer both of them are ready to disenchant. In the case of Joseph Gangemi's debut novel, both of these skeptics (one inside looking out, the other outside looking in) are delightfully bound to fail. Gangemi takes us into the spiritualist fever of the post-World War I years, vividly recreating an atmosphere in which a scientific journal incites its employees to satisfy the public's hunger for authentic spooks.”
Full of convincing period detail—offers not only a fast-paced thriller but a good love story to boot.
The New York Times Book Review
A great historical story [told with] helpings of mystery and otherworldly strangeness.
Gangemi is an extremely adept writer, though frequent wisecracks and references to popular songs and consumer products of the 1920s wear thin. His plot, too, is a bit weak, but this is an undeniably clever concept and an enjoyable read.
Library Journal - Wendy Bethel
Neither mystery nor romance, this is a suspense novel with both a love story and a puzzle at its center....Replete with images of Old Philadelphia and the Roaring Twenties, this is a thriller you won't put down until the last page. Recommended for all public libraries.
[A] pleasantly nostalgic atmosphere and a personable young narrator are the attractions in screenwriter Gangemi's more-than-competent first novel... Conan Doyle nicely and neatly updated.
Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng
Inamorata affectionately evokes the pop culture and idioms of the Prohibition era...
Ken Kalfus, author of The Commissariat of Enlightenment
A glittering depiction of Jazz Age Philadelphia and a swift entertainment that conjures the forces shaping human destiny science, the supernatural and romantic love.
Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife
I adore séances, skeptical graduate students, peculiar sex scenes, beguiling and contra-dictory psychic mediums, and forgotten history Inamorata has all this and more. Mr. Gangemi has constructed his tale with skill, panache, and dry humor. I stayed up very late reading this, and the characters got into my dreams. It’s a wonderful book.
Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
I like to think I could not be hypnotized by even the most masterful attempt. Yet what else can I call the effect of this novel that had me unable to put it down for days straight? Its story of investigating mesmerism and trances among 1920s Philadelphia socialites is a mesmerizing and entrancing experience… A novel as smart as its protagonist.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...