Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

download11 year-old twin geniuses and some-time sleuths Nick and Tesla are bored. Their parents have vanished and their eccentric Uncle Newt isn’t the most… focused guardian. So when one of their friends asks for their help in retrieving a priceless comic which has been stolen from their store, it seems a good way to pass the time.

But there seems to be a slew of robberies in Half Moon Bay – more than just the comic – and the only link seems to be an array of robots that seem to be present in each one of the crime scenes… Maybe Nick and Tesla (and the reader) should build their own mechanical creature to fight back!

OK, just to clarify, this is not the usual fare for the blog. I reviewed the first one in the series and rather enjoyed it, so Quirk Books were kind enough to send me the next two in the series – Book Three coming soon. Obviously, this is a book for children, but every fan of detective fiction started somewhere, so is this a good place to start?

It’s another fun read, that’s for sure. Steve Hockensmith, author of the Holmes on the Range series and various Zombie bits and bobs, is always entertaining and, despite this being a children’s book, the wit shines through. Nick, Tesla and their friends are nicely drawn and distinctive and the plot rumbles along nicely. There’s a whodunit element to the plot, but it is, to be fair, a bit of a guessing game. There’s a nice bit of misdirection though. The series plot, concerning the twins’ parents gets a bit of a nudge as well, although that’s left til quite late in the day.

As with the first book, I’m curious as to the age range of the target audience – the designs seemed pretty complex to me, so if you’re a parent, you’re going to have to help your little sleuths with the building. Although the joke was done in the first book as well, I did like the one less-technical blueprint.

So, if you’re a parent or a young reader of the blog, this is well worth a look. If you’re not, go and check out Steve’s other work instead – it’s well worth a look.



  1. Would 11 be the age the books are pitched at do you think? I have two ultra bright twin nieces who are nine and a half – of course they would prefer girl detectives, but …


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