Title: The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold (Volume 1)
Author: MelindaTaliancich Falgoust
Publication Date: July 5, 2013
Recommended Age: 10+
X marks the spot. At least in fiction. That’s what ten-year old Colin “Smout” McManus always thought, but when a mysterious package arrives at Edinburgh Academy from his archaeologist uncle, Smout finds himself embarking on a dangerous adventure throughout the streets of historical Edinburgh to find a lost pirate treasure. Smout and his ragtag group of friends must solve a series of strange clues and riddles to puzzle out the mysterious trail. But they’re not the only ones in search of the gold. Someone as ruthless as the pirates of old is hot on their heels. Will they find the treasure before he finds them?
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My Thoughts: In The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold, Melinda Taliancich Falgoust has penned a fun-filled middle grade mystery, featuring a plot which deliciously twists and turns and keeping my eyes glued to the pages from the first words to the last. You will fall in love with the young cast of characters who must work together to solve riddles in order to find a centuries-old lost treasure. But they are not the only ones seeking the treasure…
Ten year old Colin “Smout” McManus is the endearing main character, who finds himself serving detention with four other students (Rory, the jock; Emma, the shy bookworm; Mad Dog, the school bully; and Bogey, the compulsive nose-picker) in a scenario reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, just after receiving a strange package from his uncle Bernie, a famous archaeologist who mysteriously disappears. The foursome form an unlikely bond when they are delivered straight into the hands of pirates who are also seeking the same treasure and who may be implicated in uncle Bernie’s kidnapping.
I cannot tell you much more about the book without giving away too much of the story. What I can tell you is that the book includes a series of riddles that the reader can help solve along the way. ll the riddles relate back to the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. So, while I am familiar with some of his works (e.g., Treasure Island, The Lamplighter, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), I learned a bit more about some of his other works (e.g., St. Ives). But what I loved is that anybody could theoretically solve the riddles to reveal the clues which pointed to the specific location of a piece of the larger map. Putting the clue to the actual location was a bit trickier (for me!) I also loved that the riddles were included in the story as illustrations. Great job – LOVED IT!
Falgoust does a fantastic job of building the mystery and intrigue in the story. She uses changes in point of view between the main characters as the plot rolls along. Especially in the later part of the book, she uses this very effectively. That being said, I did feel that because there is such a large cast of characters (i.e., the five children, Jack Bluidy, Gordon Staid (the rector), Dunleavey (the secretary), uncle Bernie, Markham and MacGregor (the police), the mysterious Arturo Sandoval)), I think some of the chapters written from the point of view of more “minor” characters such as Clara Dumbarton (the housekeeper), Finn Fraser (the taxi driver), and Fergus Oxford (the bookstore owner) could have been excluded. Their point of view didn’t really add to the story and only served to cause some confusion in keeping track of who is who.
My Bottom Line: The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold is a fantastic middle grade romp filled with intrigue and adventure, featuring a great collection of characters and an engaging plot that will have you scratching your head as you solve the riddles and will keep you guessing who the good guys are. I thoroughly enjoyed and became fully engaged with this exciting story. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I think anyone who loves a good mystery, loves solving riddles, and loves the concept of a modern-day treasure-hunt will enjoy this wonderful book.
About The Author: MelindaTaliancich Falgoust
With five kids, four jobs, three dogs, a two-car driveway and one VERY patient husband, Melinda Taliancich Falgoust is an author whose works have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Writers’ Journal, in the Harlequin Mini-Round Robin ebooks THE RANCHER AND THE ROSE and THIN ICE. Other works have also won awards in competitions around the world, including the following:
NY Book Festival Annual Competition
The Oshima International Hand-Made Picture Book Competition
Writers Unlimited Annual Literary Competition
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Mysterious Photograph Contest
Doubleday Book Club’s “Quoth the Raven” Contest
Author Website: www.melindatfalgoust.doodlekit.com
Goodreads: Melinda Falgoust
* Giveaway *
Prize: We are giving away a copy of The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold by Melinda Taliancich Falgoust (print for US/CAN & e-copy for INT winners) PLUS a $10 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash, winner’s choice) to one lucky winner.
Contest runs: July 5 to 20, 11:59 pm, 2013
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* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author has also opted to participate in our Book Promotion Program where we will tweet and share information about this book, the author, and the giveaway.*