I saw a post on my local city’s Facebook page a few months ago about an author and fellow resident who was having a book signing at our local Half-Price Books. I was really excited to meet her because supporting local authors is a great way to expand my reading horizons and also to give them support and help get the word out about their writing. When I met Danielle A Vann, I was immediately taken with how friendly she was. She was dressed professionally, had her family with her, and chatted with me for a bit. After purchasing two of her books, I wanted to read them, but I decided to get other copies, since she had signed mine. I wanted to leave them up on the shelf in perfect condition. Thankfully, her first book in the series, The Whizbang Machine, was available on the Kindle for a pretty reasonable price, so I bought that one. For the 2018 book challenge, I have to read a book by a local author, so, of course, I chose The Whizbang Machine.
When we first enter teenage Elizabeth’s world, her grandfather, Jack, is returning to NYC after being on an eight year world hopping adventure. He returns with hugs and packages and surprises. He gives Elizabeth a typewriter, but it isn’t just any typewriter. It doesn’t make the usual clicks and whirs, but rather bangs and whizzes, hence the name. It also sparks and electrocutes people, so there’s that. Needless to say, the mystery behind this machine is one Jack and Elizabeth vow to uncover.
Their search for answers takes them locally to the NY Public Library, then across the ocean to The Netherlands. I don’t want to say much about the plot because it unravels with one mystery answered, yet another one springs up just as quickly behind it. Jack and Elizabeth have to do some breaking and entering, plenty of lying, and more research and critical thinking than you can imagine. This book was just layer upon layer of mystery and intrigue. And just go ahead and get the second book, because you won’t want to be left hanging at the end of the first one 😉
I’m so glad I stumbled upon that Facebook post months ago, because it brought me to this ridiculously fun read. Sure it’s a young adult book, but Elizabeth isn’t an annoying whiny teenager (okay, she has her moments, as do all teens, but overall she is a great character) and Jack is just as mischievous as a good grandfather with a twinkle in his eye should be. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, well-written mystery.