The Portsmouth Review

Defying Death in Hagerstown by John Paul Carinci Book Review

Defying Death in Hagerstown was truly surprising.  This book is about a man named Louis Gerhani, a journalist in the throes of heartbreak who was slowly declining in his career and well-being. When threatened with job termination by his unsympathetic boss, his last chance to keep his career was dependent upon writing a story about a 110-year old woman: Lolita, a resident of Hagerstown, Maryland.

Louis made the trip to Hagerstown but was less than enthusiastic.  However, after meeting the elderly Lolita, evading gunfire, and circumventing some lethal poison, Louis got more than just a fluff piece for his newspaper. His once standard mission morphed into an investigation about the murders of three woman in 1923, Hagerstown.  As he became more involved with finding clues to uncover the suspect in the murders, he became the victim of several near-death experiences, bringing about a constant safety net of personal police surveillance.

Defying Death in Hagerstown has inspirational moments that really share life lessons. Author John Paul Carinci nailed the part of a 110-year-old inspirational woman to a tee, offering sage-like lessons you can actually experience and then take away from the book and apply to your own life.  There is also a strong entertainment portion in the story – never a dull moment!  When the protagonist isn’t talking about solving a crime, he’s talking about love and the past.  Carinici also incorporates the ever-salient struggle of overcoming alcoholism.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, mystery, or police procedural – as well as to anyone with a love for great fiction.  The combination of genres makes it a really easy read.  The book comes to a very surprising conclusion that neatly answers all of the questions posed throughout the book.  I truly think I will look into reading more of Carinci’s novels based on Defying Death in Hagerstown.

Very interesting combination of love and death

4 stars!

Has something for everyone!

This book was very surprising as I continued to read the book. When reading the description it appeared that the book was going to be more about crime and solving murder than love and wisdom. However, I was proved wrong!





2 responses to “Defying Death in Hagerstown by John Paul Carinci Book Review”

  1. Rebecca Skane Carter Avatar
    Rebecca Skane Carter

    Grabby hands. That sounds like SUCH a cool book.

  2. John Paul Carinci Avatar
    John Paul Carinci

    A VERY unique story, influenced by an actual 1923 diary, though the book is in fact fiction, the diary plays a big part of solving a mystery in the novel.

    The idea for this fiction book happened by accident, when John won a diary from EBay, which was penned in 1923,
    by a young woman from Hagerstown Md.The 90 year old diary
    of 365 pages, was fully handwritten by a woman known only as Lolita. “I knew
    there was a story there somewhere, but more importantly I was drawn into the
    time, the young woman, the love interest she had throughout the year,” Carinci

    “I was CONSUMED with finding out who
    and whatever happened to this Lolita from Hagerstown Md. It took years to find
    out who she was, that she married the love interest, and when she passed on. SO,
    I wrote a novel, based on a character from Hagerstown, named Lolita,” he

    The story revolves around a young
    newspaper reporter, who is rapidly self- destructing, after a bad breakup with
    his fiancée, and who has a drinking problem, is a real mess at work, and is
    ready to be fired.

    His last chance assignment is to go
    to Hagerstown, Md. and interview a centenarian wonder woman of 110 years old, named
    Lolita, who resides in a nursing home. The reporter later uncovers
    the diary from 1923, and that Lolita, in 1923, lived through a mass murder spree
    of 3 of her young girlfriends in Hagerstown that still was unsolved. The
    reporter sees a real story in the murders, and is consumed with investigating
    and solving this 90 year old mystery. But someone in Hagerstown is rattled by
    his nosing around, and bullets fly, and someone is killed.

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