Pittsburgh is the city of bridges and young Carl likes to count the ones he can see from his bedroom window—33 to be exact. His family has generations of bridge builders but now his father only repairs them. Lately that has been way too many.

Mom and Dad argue a lot and Carl can never speak up and be honest how he feels, especially about his father’s new failing food truck business. His silence extends to talking with a possible friend. But now Carl believes there are monsters on the loose in Pittsburgh and they’re possibly destroying bridges.

He spots a flyer about a mysterious monster-seeking group known as The Midnight Brigade. Turns out it’s the principal’s son and a girl named Bee whose mother is a well known restaurant critic. Carl is the first to sneak out and find something incredible under a nearby bridge and soon his two ‘sort of’ friends join him searching for answers.

The third person narrations zips along staying with Carl most of the time. The economic struggles of his family are portrayed in honest fashion. Having a city like Pittsburgh be the setting was enjoyable whether you have visited or not. With doses of humor, it’s a unique story about three regular kids who hope to save the city. They all change in a positive way and it was nice to see Carl finally find his voice.

An easy read sure to please many new readers and a few of us old ones, too.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: Sept. 7, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 240


  1. The character under the bridge is named Frank and he provides quite a few memorable and amusing scenes with Carl and the Midnight Brigade.
  2. Very unpredictable—my favorite kind of plot.
  3. The relationship between Carl and Bee was a big plus. Realistic middle grade thoughts about what should or shouldn’t have been said that eventually lead to understanding.
  4. Black and white drawings are interspersed throughout and help enhance the emotions of the text.
  5. Made me want to visit Pittsburgh (beyond just connecting at the airport). In the mean time I’ll certainly remember Frank when I venture under one of our local bridges.


ADAM BORBA lives in California with his family. When he’s not writing, he helps develop and produce movies for Walt Disney Studios. The Midnight Brigade is his first novel.


I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comments are always welcome below. Be sure to visit the other MMGM posts.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I like unpredictable plots too. This sounds like such an interesting read. I hadn’t heard of it before and really appreciate you reviewing it this week.

  2. I love it when cities are almost characters in the book. If you visit Pittsburgh, make sure that you come through Columbus!

  3. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I also enjoy when a plot twists and completely surprises me. This book will be fun to read.

  4. The story of three kids trying to save the city sounds compelling. I love unexpected plot twists. Sounds like a great read.
    And if you come through Columbus, you’ll drive through Dayton. Pittsburgh does have a lot of character, so I can see how front and center it is in the story.

  5. Yes, Pittsburgh is known for their bridges, isn’t it! I have family that came from there, once upon a time and I remember visiting as a child. Thanks for sharing this title!

  6. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like such an intriguing story! I had no idea that Pittsburgh has so many bridges, and it sounds like they get pulled into quite the exciting and compelling plot. Thanks so much for the great review!

  7. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh. This sounds like an exciting story and a fun cast of characters. Thanks for telling me about it.

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