I’m always on the lookout for exciting plots and endearing characters in books. It also helps if the setting and time period are captured beautifully without being over 300 pages long. THE ADVENTURES of the FLASH GANG is the winner on all accounts.

11-year-old Lewis Carter lives in 1935 Pittsburgh. He’s known as a streeter, a kid living on his own after his father disappeared. His home is currently an abandoned factory.

Lewis is the leader of the Flash Gang. That is a bit misleading since he is the only member, despite what the police and public believe. The Flash comes from a recipe his professor father created that causes a big distraction in the form of noise and light. He only uses it when in need of food that he steals while the commotion erupts. He is sure to donate some of that food to the local soup kitchen.

Some very shady adults are after Lewis so that they can get the Flash recipe. They intend to use it in a pro-Nazi plot. Enter one of the most unique characters in Pearl Alice Clavell dressed in her pick tutu. Together she and Lewis become an unusual team in an engaging mystery. Why hasn’t Lewis’s Father returned and how is he mixed up in the illegal dealings? Is the recipe even more powerful when in the wrong hands?

The action and danger flows in the third person narration through 26 chapters. You’ll be trying to figure out Pearl’s bizarre personality right alongside Lewis. He at first tries to get away from this girl but slowly they become a team in an entertaining read.

It will leave you wanting more and sure enough the second book in the trilogy (The Treacherous Tycoon) is due out January, 2024. For now enjoy this first book. Highly recommended.

About the Authors:

MM DOWNING & SJ WAUGH really intended to be secret agents disguised as flappers in the Roaring Twenties, if only to don beaded headbands and twirl long strands of pearls while solving delicious crimes involving gangsters. Or Scotland Yard detectives, wearing tailored, double-breasted suits, and sneaking up rickety fire escapes before pursuing criminals across the rooftops of Victorian London. Unfortunately, they were born in neither place, and without access to a time machine. 

So they decided to write books. 

If you too are a bit of a sleuth, you may uncover the other stories they’ve written separately and with (maybe) their full names—but here they are simply known as Downing & Waugh…which does sound just a bit like a detective agency…from another era.

For more sleuthing be sure to visit the authors’ website.


Join us next week for another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com

Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and don’t forget to say what you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

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


  1. This sounds a fun story, which I must add to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This sounds like so much fun. Thanks for the introduction to this book! 🙂

  3. Pingback: MMGM for May 1, 2023 | Always in the Middle…

  4. This sounds like an awesome book. The 1935 Pittsburg setting sounds interesting too.

  5. This sounds super cute. I’m a huge fan of reluctant team/friendships in books. I’ll have to check it out!

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