High-Voltage Danger Lab
A Nick and Tesla Mystery by "Science Bob" Pfulgfelder and Steve Hockensmith
Review: Siblings Nick and Tesla Holt are sent to spend their summer with their uncle in California while their parents study the irrigation of soybeans in Karakalpakstan, only to learn that their time there will not be quite as boring as they expect it to be, in High-Voltage Danger Lab, the first in a new series by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith.
Uncle Newt was known to be an eccentric scientist, but it isn't until Nick and Tesla enter his house that they realize how much of a mad scientist he really is. His home is filled with half-completed (or failed) experiments, with parts and pieces to more being planned. Nick and Tesla are excited by what they see, but also dismayed to learn that there is no food in the house … and they're hungry. Deciding to take a walk around the neighborhood, they come across what appears to be an abandoned, run-down house that is being renovated. But when they enter the property, they see a young girl in a window flashing a sign "Go Away!" They're run off by the contractors before they can investigate further, but something is very strange about the house and they are determined to find out what it is.
There are several mysteries in High-Voltage Danger Lab, not the least of which is, what are Nick and Tesla's parents really doing in Karakalpakstan … if, indeed, that is where they are. What gives the book its unique twist is that it includes plans for several make-at-home inventions, devices that play a role in Nick and Tesla's investigation. While simplistic in concept, these inventions are rather sophisticated in design. A "Danger! Danger!" preface warns that the "how-to projects in this book involve electricity, explosions, toxic substances, sharp tools, contents under pressure, and other potentially dangerous elements. Before you build any of the project, ask an adult to review the instructions." That's very good advice, and should be heeded. It's clearly not necessary to build anything to enjoy this book, but the fact that one can adds to its appeal. The storyline behind the mystery of the house seems a little unfocused, as if written in support of the inventions instead of the other way around, but is adventuresome and exciting nonetheless.
Acknowledgment: Quirk Books provided a copy of High-Voltage Danger Lab for this review.
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Location(s) referenced in High-Voltage Danger Lab: California
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High-Voltage Danger Lab by "Science Bob" Pfulgfelder and Steve Hockensmith — A Nick and Tesla Mystery
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: November 2013
List Price: $12.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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