Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular by Steve Hockensmith and “Science Bob” Pflugfelder

NT 5Nick and Tesla, the science-geek mystery solving twins, are back again, this time getting involved in the sabotage of a superhero film being made in the area. When their friend Silas, a would-be film director, manages to get a back-stage tour of the lot, Tesla drags her brother along to stop him obsessing over the mystery of their missing parents. But it turns out to be more than a simple case of Lights! Camera! Action!

There are protests over the casting of the lead role of Metalman after some leaked footage makes it onto the internet but that’s not all! After Metalman’s costume is filled with itching powder, ruining a critical scene, it seems as if someone is actively sabotaging the film. But why would they want to do that – especially as it seems to be a pretty rubbish film anyway…

Why do I review these books? Well, the nice folks at Quirk Books keep asking me to and I’m rubbish as saying no. And they’re fun, quick reads with some sparkling dialogue. I’m never going to make any of the gadgets – bit too old for that – but Steve Hockensmith is an extremely witty writer who never fails to bring a smile to my face, even with books written for people approximately 30 years younger than me. It’s refreshing to see someone making jokes with the narrative, not in an attempt to go over the young readers’ heads, but because they appreciate that kids, like the leads herein, are smart and will get jokes like that.

Also, I think this is one of the better mysteries of the series. Yes, it was pretty obvious to me, but it’s  clever enough to misdirect a lot of people (for a while at least) who haven’t read  500 mystery novels in the past four years (sorry, I’ll stop showing off one day – honest).

So, something to buy any young mystery readers or scientists in your vicinity – still not quite sure as to the intended age range for these – 9 to 11? And if it’s not your cup of tea, may I direct you to Holmes On The Range by Steve Hockensmith? One for the grown-ups from the same author and guaranteed to make you smile so much that the top of your head falls off.

Previous Nick and Tesla mysteries:


  1. I got the first two for my 10-year-old nieces but the reaction was lukewarm – I blame all the zombie books they’re reading! Still, I shall try again because they love inventions though I think they did have trouble making sense of some of the procurement instructions (being based in Oz).


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