Kidnap On The California Comet by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman
Published By: Macmillan Children’s Books
Released: 3rd September 2020
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Board the California Comet and help Harrison Beck to solve another heart-stopping mystery in the second Adventures on Trains story, Kidnap on the California Comet, from prize-winning M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman.
After the excitement of his adventures aboard the Highland Falcon Thief, Harrison Beck can’t wait for the opportunity to go on another amazing train journey. So when his Uncle Nat invites him aboard the California Comet, the iconic three-day train journey from Chicago to San Francisco, he leaps at the chance to travel. But when the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur August Reza goes missing en route, Hal finds himself with another mystery to solve. Can he uncover the kidnapper before the journey’s end?
An adrenaline-fuelled journey across America from bestselling author M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman in the second mystery adventure in the major Adventures on Trains series.
I read the first book in the Adventures On Trains series, The Highland Falcon Thief earlier this year and loved it. So, it would come as no surprise that I was incredibly excited to read book two – Kidnap On The California Comet. I couldn’t wait to see what adventure and crime Hal would have to solve next.
Kidnap On The California Comet follows Hal and his Uncle Nat as they travel across the pond to board the California Comet, a train which would take them on a three-day journey from Chicago to San Francisco. Hal, who is very excited about taking another train journey with his Uncle, wonders what adventure he will have this time and when the daughter of a billionaire entrepreneur is kidnapped, it’s up to Hal to try and solve the mystery and uncover the kidnapper before their journey is up.
Just like it’s predecessor, Kidnap On The California Comet was such a fun, fast-paced mystery that had you wanting to read on and know more through each page. I found myself utterly captivated by this conundrum and just found myself not wanting to stop reading, so much so that I finished it in one sitting. The writing is so vivid and what I found stood out was the accurate descriptions of the train and it’s journey, including the technical side. I am in awe of Leonard and Sedgman’s knowledge of trains and the research that must have gone into the rail journey on the American coast is admirable. I also feel that many children that read this book may find themselves wanting to know more about trains and the journeys they make.
The mystery in Kidnap On The California Comet was just as intriguing as the mystery in The Highland Falcon Thief but on a whole bigger scale. You get minuscule clues from the very start and it’s like you as the reader need to start trying to solve the crime alongside Hal from the get-go. The fact we get introduced to a bunch of sceptical suspects adds to the riddle and I did find myself thinking that all of them were the kidnapper at one point or another. The kidnapping plot itself was executed extremely well and I will admit that I was shocked when we finally found out who was behind it. Also, once the kidnapper is revealed you start to piece together all the clues that were scattered throughout the book, which is a unique touch.
There were so many unique characters in Kidnap On The California Comet from the magic loving siblings, Mason and Hadley, who befriend Hal to the feisty, mystifying journalist Zola. These characters were, in my opinion, more interesting and distinctive from the characters we met in The Highland Falcon Thief. Despite many of them just being secondary characters, I did feel like I got to know them all on a one to one basis. My favourite character by far in both books has to be Uncle Nat. He’s so supportive of Hal and his eagerness to solve the mystery. They have such a close-knit bond and it’s heartwarming to see in middle grade fiction.
Kidnap On The California Comet, was overall, an incredible sequel to what is becoming one of my favourite middle grade mystery series. I cannot wait for book three to find out what mystery Hal and Uncle Nat will be solving next.