What Others Are Saying
"The author paints a vivid picture of what life was like in the multi-cultural neighborhoods of Gary, Indiana. I grew up in Gary attending Emerson in the 1940s and this novel brings back many memories of my life there. The characters are relatable; you will witness and feel their anxieties, emotions, and challenges throughout the story. I recommend 'The Great Emerson Art Heist' to those that love adventure and mystery."
- Ken Carpenter, Emerson Class of 1957
Old Schoolhouse magazine Jan., 2017
NWI Times January 2, 2017
Guilford Courier November 10, 2016
Zip06 November 8, 2016
A Connecticut news site
Listen to an interview with
author Kendall Svengalis at:
Casual Fridays with Jerry Davich
Nov. 11, 2016.
Click on "Listen Now."
"If you love history and mystery, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If you knew Gary, Indiana in the 1940s, you will be thrilled being reminded of landmarks, advertisements and life there at that time. I experienced this in Mr. Svengalis' first book, set in Stratford, CT, as I grew up near there. The accuracy of the historical references is amazing.
The Art Heist mystery is set in Gary in August 1942 – eight months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Mr. Svengalis' heroine is a 'beyond her years' high school senior. In investigating the art heist, Ellen and her friends, with the guidance of Ellen's father and the uncle of a friend who escaped from the Soviet Union, suspect a Soviet-directed conspiracy that could impact the war. Their escapades are smart, courageous and thrilling.
Mr. Svengalis is an avid WWII historian and loather of fascism and Marxism. You will learn about the state of the world at that time, as well as comparisons between the United States and the oppressive regimes with which it was in conflict.
Mr. Svengalis' use of descriptive language puts you in the scene at every point in the book. You will be anxious to get into the mystery, but once there, you will be hard pressed to put the book down. The depth of history is so significant that it is hard to tell what is fictional, as it all seems 'possible'. Mr. Svengalis' Swedish and Lithuanian background and love of music also shine through at times.
A goal of the book is to motivate high school students to increase their vocabulary and knowledge of history. Your own vocabulary will improve just by reading the book.
I so enjoy Mr. Svengalis' writing style that I hope he is working on a third book, and look forward to reading it!
- Joanne Baker, Connecticut
"The story is riveting in and of itself, with unusual plot twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat! But it’s an invaluable educational tool as well! The author blends mystery and political intrigue with vocabulary building and graphic imagery like no book I have ever read! Written for both adults and students, from middle grades to high school, it utilizes SAT vocabulary words as a bridge for younger readers who stand to benefit from this novel approach to reading comprehension and cultural literacy. There are references from art, music, history, politics, economics, literature, science, math, religion, geography, sports, and 1940s pop culture. All are defined in a supplementary glossary to enhance the educational experience immeasurably.
The text also contains accurate period images. It's like getting three books in one! This is a nostalgic book, to be treasured and passed down to your children and grandchildren! If you attended Emerson High School, you may be reacquainted with some Emerson student and teacher names, as well as accurate descriptions of interior building and campus! As a senior citizen, I even increased my vocabulary!"
- Raleigh Plesko, Emerson Class of 1966
"A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Reading this book made it feel like going home again to the days of my youth. The heroine’s friends at Emerson were like the friends I had when I was growing up in Gary. It was as though I was living back in the 'good ol' days.' It was so warm and enjoyable."
- Marjorie Davis Woodyard, Emerson Class of 1957
"I just finished reading this book; I couldn't put it down. I appreciated the mix of Russian, World War 2, Emerson School, and Gary history melded within the fictional story. I recognized some actual facts, people, and places mixed into the story, also. It was an interesting mix of mystery, fact and fiction. I have not read a story quite like it. The familiarities kept me so interested. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I now must order the other novel. I already own the book on Gary that you wrote in 2006. Thank you so much for writing it.
I have very fond memories of growing up in Gary. The east side was a great place and Emerson a great school. I remember a lot of the teachers you mentioned in the book. I also remember lots of the art work that hung up and down those hallways. Yes, very fond memories."
- Janet ( Nedberg ) Buzolitz, Emerson Class of 1971