Follow Here To Purchase The Wicked Wives: A novel based on a true story

Author: Gus Pelagatti

Publisher: Mill City Press

ISBN: 9780-1-936780-63-1

It is said, and I do believe, that truth is stranger than fiction.  Sometimes when a novel is particularly original and/or complex I suspect it is based on some newspaper story that caught the imagination of the author. In the case of The Wicked Wives, the author remembered hearing about the scandalous murder conspiracy uncovered not far from his childhood home in Philadelphia in 1938. As an adult and a trial attorney, he spent years researching the cases and interviewing the  judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in this far-flung and widespread conspiracy.  Reading this book is like watching a well written, well acted (and, I should say, probably X rated) film, every bit as good as L.A Confidential or The Usual Suspects (two of my own favorites).  The voices are so authentic, reading the dialogues is equal to hearing them. As a film lover, I started imagining which actors I’d like to see cast as which characters. And as an attorney I very much enjoyed the courtroom cross examinations.

At less than 300 pages, this complex and fascinating mystery story moves along at a fast and furious pace and is really hard to put down. Through most of those pages, the suspense lies in how the good guys will catch the devil they know. But there lurks behind that exciting and often frightening chase another mystery: a shrouded devil they don’t know. When that mystery is finally solved, it will astonish you. Of course when that mystery is finally solved there are several new questions raised, just like in real life, and I don’t mind saying I’d be most eager to read a sequel (or prequel) to this story.

All that being said, there is another aspect to this book that identifies it as reality based, and qualifies it as fine literature that transcends genre,  and that is the fact that the villains herein are not in the least stereotypical bad guys. They have difficult life histories which we get to glimpse and motivations that we can begin to understand. Even the cruelest have their vulnerabilities.

A back cover blurb says:

The Wicked Wives is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia.” 

and that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Highly recommended!


Follow Here To Purchase The Wicked Wives: A novel based on a true story