New book explores industrial revolution in Chester County

Gene Pisasale is a man who dots
his i’s and crosses his t’s. He also plays connect the dots. Those dots are
historical facts and the connections are flights of his own imagination.

Pisasale is a local author of
historical fiction taking today’s readers through a treasure hunt of
yesterdays. His latest effort is “Abandoned Address, The Secret of Frick’s
Lock.” His last work was “Lafayette’s Gold-The Lost Brandywine Treasure.”

Both stories are set in the
present, but mysteries send the author’s protagonists digging through history.

“Abandoned Address” deals with
a mystery behind, and the history of, the town of Frick’s Lock, a real
abandoned town in the shadows of the cooling towers of the nuclear plant at

The tale is a travel through
the town and Pennhurst Asylum, linking Chester County with parts of the
industrial revolution and inventors Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and
Henry Ford.

His protagonists, Jim and
Natale, are exploring the off-limits town of Frick’s Lock when Natale makes a

Frick’s Lock was part of the
Schuylkill Canal and an element of the story has an inventor as a resident of
the town.

“He left behind some very
interesting things that were in a box that were found by our protagonist,”
Pisasale said.

The artifacts in the box date
back 100 to 140 years and are related to the development of the country. One of
which, he said, has “enormous significance,” something that was never thought
to exist.

Pisasale said there is a link
between Pennhurst Asylum and what his protagonists find in the box.

“I weave in commentary about
how the Industrial Revolution has actually changed the way we perceive our
world, how we interact with others in our world today. Our world has been
forever changed by the Industrial Revolution and the current Industrial
Revolution — the Internet — is changing us even faster than we know how to deal
with at the moment.”

If the plot seems circuitous,
consider Pisasale’s working life. He has a master’s degree in petroleum geology
and worked as a petroleum geologist going out to find oil and gas. He then went
to work in the investment industry as a portfolio manager and energy analyst
for 20 years before getting into his writing career, fusing his desire to write
with a fascination for history.

He said he knew he had a book
inside of him for many years, but it wasn’t until 2008 when he and his wife
were on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, that the first book began percolating to
the surface.

They were at the Harbor Side
Inn and fog was rolling in when he grabbed a pen and note pad and started

“In September 2008, literally
as the financial markets were collapsing, I started my first book, “Vineyard
Days,” a murder mystery about murder and crime on Martha’s Vineyard,” he said.
“It’s a hybrid murder mystery wrapped around a travelogue of a beautiful site.”

In 2009, he visited Brandywine
Battlefield Park in Chadds Ford and learned about the state’s financial
problems and its need to stop funding the park. That experience led to his
writing “Lafayette’s Gold,” his first historical novel.

“In a way it was a catharsis…in
terms of my love of history,” he said.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

2 Responses to “New book explores industrial revolution in Chester County”

  1. jeanne-marie says:

    Where can these books be purchased?
    They sound wonderful!

  2. Phyllis Recca says:

    You can purchase Gene’s books on or his website at

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.