LAW & CRIME

Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age

Counterpoint Mar. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781640094802. $27. CRIME
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The title of this book is the name that French-Canadian bank burglar Georges Lemay gave himself after a communications satellite led to his arrest. Amelinckx’s (Exquisite Wickedness) book profiles Lemay and an engineer, Harold Rosen, who helped develop the first commercial communications satellite with a fixed orbit in 1965. Lemay was believed to be the mastermind behind one of the biggest bank robberies in Canadian history. The robbery, with more than $1 million stolen, occurred at a Montreal bank in 1961. Canadian police could not find Lemay until a Fort Lauderdale boat repairman who knew Lemay under an alias called the FBI after seeing a satellite TV broadcast of fugitives. The book’s structure is chronological, starting in 1961 with the Montreal bank robbery, then Lemay’s 1965 arrest, and ending with a recap of what happened to the players. The chapters alternate between Lemay’s reckless antics and Rosen’s drier satellite work. The book is entertaining and colorful; it reads like an expanded magazine article. For readers seeking a description of life on the lam, consider Dick Lehr’s Black Mass, which is about the more careful criminal, Whitey Bulger.
VERDICT Amelinckx’s book is ideal for both true-crime and technology buffs.
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