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Almost Paradise: The East Hampton Murder of Ted Ammon Hardcover – February 10, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Crowley, a New York Post reporter and veteran true crime author (The Surgeon's Wife), has written a fast-paced account of the sordid circumstances surrounding the brutal October 2001 bludgeon murder of multimillionaire Ted Ammon. With interweaving narratives, Crowley presents the stories of the three principal players in this drama: Ammon; his estranged wife, Generosa; and her blue-collar lover, Danny Pelosi. None of the three is likely to engage readers' sympathies, although Generosa, whatever her involvement in her husband's death, if any, is clearly the villain of the piece. Possibly scarred by sexual abuse she claimed occurred in her youth, she became a cruel, manipulative and imperious woman who treated others like chattel, and who inflicted horrific emotional damage on the twins she and her husband had adopted. Her rants and threats escalated as she began to suspect that Ammon was cheating on her and looking to end the marriage that had elevated her into high society. She struck back by beginning her affair with Pelosi, who was charged with the murder earlier this year.
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Review

"An in-depth investigation...truly appalling all around: a story seemingly without goodness, except in the telling." --Kirkus Reviews

"A fast-paced account of the sordid circumstances surrounding the brutal October 2001 bludgeon murder of multimillionaire Ted Ammon." --Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312340230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312340230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,782,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book grabs you from the first page and just doesn't let go. In fact, it gets better and better as the story progresses. Even though you have an idea where you're going, there is so much drama that you can never be sure exactly how or when you are going to get there, and you keep on reading because you just have to know. I found myself thinking about the characters, their lifestyles, and their behaviors, even when I was not actually reading the book - it really stays with you. Mr. Crowley is brilliant in his ability to weave thousands of details, culled from hundreds of hours spent interviewing dozens of people, into a story that is not only cohesive and easy to follow, but totally engrossing. As a previous reviewer stated, this book is just about impossible to put down. I think I lost about two hours of sleep every night before I was done reading it. Well worth it though!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book, while an engrossing read that was decently written, ended up being a disappointment.

Crowley tells the story of Ted Ammon, Ted's bitter ex-wife Generosa, and Generosa's new husband, Danny. Set against the backdrop of high society (the Hampton's, Manhattan, the countryside of England), this book propels the reader through a multi-sided tale that resulted in murder. Who did it? I'm not sure if we'll ever really know, but Crowley tells you who went down for it.

While Crowley provides a lot of interesting insight into the lives of the Ammons, my problem with this book is that there seems to be numerous gaps in the research. Much of Crowley's information came from Danny, the self-proclaimed fall guy in the story. Crowley reports details that obviously came from Danny like they are undeniably valid (i.e. Danny's intense regard for Generosa and Ted's children, Danny's vehement insistence that his portion of Generosa's will be limited, his sensitive caregiving of Generosa when she was ill), never offering a contradictory opinion from another player. To me, it was almost like Danny was in the room, sitting behind Crowley and smoking a cigarette, as Crowley wrote this book.

The result? Danny becomes a caricature of a character, the loveable yet murderous thug. The killer with heart of gold.

Then, suddenly, you get to the end of the book, where Danny's own family testifies against him and Danny himself sits on the witness stand admitting that he tasered people for fun and you think: hey, I sort of liked that guy? What am I missing here?

I think that this is an interesting read and that Crowley is a good storyteller. I just think that he had limited sources (which makes sense, since two of the main people are dead).
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Format: Hardcover
Even though I basically knew what would happen in the book, as soon as I started it I couldn't put this book down. The background information on the main characters was so interesting and I really got to "know" them. The author does not influence your opinion, as he writes objectively and obviously based on legitimate sources, not conjecture or opinion--just as a good news reporter should. The court scenes are just as interesting as the rest of the book.

I highly recommend the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I followed Danny's trial in the papers, so I was surprised by how much I didn't know about this case, and that knowing the final outcome didn't hurt the book's readability. Ted is a nice guy, one of life's winners, which makes him an unlikely and compelling victim. Danny ended up more likable than I expected -- I believe he really did love Generosa and was used and used up by her. She gets the most attention but she's the story's weakest link. She's SOOO crazy she's almost impossible to relate to, and while better-than-average looking, she certainly wasn't gorgeous. Nor especially talented. Why were people drawn to her? Why did they put up with her garbage? This bothered me as I read. Also, Ted had a third child -- a baby boy that he apparently acknowledged. I wish Crowley had told us more about all three of Ted Ammon's children after his murder.

So while it's not terrific "true crime," it's still a worthwhile read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fairly nice, ambitious and extremely successful boy meets good-looking girl seeking the good life. They meet, marry, can't have kids, adopt Russian twins while accumulating the best stuff, including homes in NYC, London, the London countryside, and a manse in the better part of East Hampton. A classic go-go 1980s success story.

But it wasn't. The wife, Generosa Ammon, takes perfectionism and snobbery to heights never thought imaginable and has a temper that hits High! at the slightest provocation. Hubby Ted tries to placate her with more and more goodies rather than deal with the situation and eventually finds a mistress. The children may have been rescued from a life of material deprivation only to have been plunged into one of extreme emotional abuse.

Generosa finds out about Ted's mistress and kicks him out, only to find solace in the arms of a classic "Joisey" blue-collar guy named Dan Pelosi.

Divorce proceedings begin that echo the movie "War of the Roses," with mutual destruction the only apparent objective. Then Ted is brutally murdered, just a few days before the divorce would have been settled, and of course the investigation points to Generosa and Dan, although no case is ever proven.

A sad loser to the end, Generosa develops massive cancer, conceals it until any treatment is too late and dies, leaving her children in the midst of a custody battle between the nanny they hated and to whom she has "bequeathed" them and the children's natural aunt and uncle, whom the children love.

This should have been a page-turning pot-boiler, but Kieran Crowley is one of the most plodding and redundant writers I have come across in a long time. It got so boring at times that I couldn't wait for the ending not from eagerness to learn what happened but to just get the damn book over with; I seriously considered quitting simply because the writing was so poor.
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