Friday, February 2, 2024

Today's read... Treasonous Tycoon by M.M. Downing and S.J. Waugh

Today's read is one that I've had in my pile for several months, and I've been excited to finally open it up and take a peek. Since it's coming out early March, I fought myself not to dive in sooner. This one is the second in a series and promises to pack tons of excitement...telling by that cover. It's also historically set in the 1930's, which is another bonus. Plus, it received a rave review from Kirkus. 
So, let's dive in and see what it holds!

The Adventures of the Flash Gang, Episode Two
by M.M. Downing & S.J. Waugh
Fitzroy Books
Middle Grade Historical Adventure
209 pages
ages 9 to 12

MARCH 5th!!!

Where is the Flash Gang? Pittsburgh’ s most notorious thieves haven’ t struck for a year, not since a devastating fire resulted in the supposed death of two streeters. Pearl and Lewis— along with their pals, Duck and Mac— are alive and well, just in hiding. But now, their hideout is crumbling under the relentless rain. It’ s been a winter of bitter winds and slim pickings, and their friendship is starting to fray. To make matters worse, streeters are disappearing. Are they skipping town or is something more nefarious afoot? When one of their own vanishes, the gang goes all out to unravel the mystery, which once again points to enemy #1: the steel tycoon who had Lewis’ s father killed. But Pittsburgh is flooding and the tycoon’ s plans are in motion. If they want to save their friends, they’ re running out of time.



Living on the streets in the late 1930's isn't only hard, it's a non-stop adventure with thieves, missing orphans, and evil intrigue.

Lewis  and his best friend, Pearl, are dead...or so one of the most notorious criminals in Pittsburgh believes. Since the entire Flash Gang survived by the skin of their teeth, they're trying their best not to draw attention...which means no more secret explosions of light. Without the help of the flashes, their ability to nab food and to find information to put the criminal, who killed Lewis' father,. behind bars has suffered. When one their own members disappears, they stumble across what might be another scheme of the criminal organization. And this time, all of their lives are in danger.

I did not read the first book in this series, which proved not to be too much of a problem. While incidents from the first adventure are mentioned and the story builds from one book to the next, the author makes sure to sneak in enough information to give readers a pretty good handle on what's going on. I do, however, recommend reading this as a series, since the adventure is written as such.

The streets of the late 1930's in Pittsburgh set the stage for this fast-paced adventure. The Flash Gang is a small group of streetlers, who pinch (steal) to survive but help others where they can. They're a fun, kind, and lively bunch of friends, and each has their own talents and quirks. The historical setting comes through nicely, and while the problems the kids face in every day life isn't hidden, the tale doesn't concentrate on that aspect. Instead, these issues slide in naturally, giving the world vividness and depth without obvious descriptions.  

It's the mystery and adventure, which drive this read forward. The clues steadily stream in, but these aren't easy to decipher...not that there's much time spent on the contemplation as the dangerous situations keep the heroes on their toes. There's quite a bit of action and tension to make to a fast-paced read the entire way through. Then, there's the characters, who aren't only dealing with the mystery and danger but also deal with issues surrounding trust and loyalty. Add a fitting sprinkle of humor, especially from Pearl's side, and it's a very balanced read with lots to enjoy. 


1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

It's good to know you don't have to read the first book to understand this one. I agree that having the story set in the 1930's is a bonus. And I'm a big fan of mysteries. I'll have to see if my library orders it.