Written by M.G.Leonard and Sam Sedgman, Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, Published by Macmillan
Uncle Nat has taken Hal on the trip of a lifetime, all the way to Chicago where they are hopping on board the California Comet. This exceptional three day journey will take them across Western America, through ever changing landscapes and time zones, finally arriving in Emeryville, California.
Believing that riding the train will be the biggest adventure of this journey, Hal and Nat are in for a surprise. From the beginning of this trip, Hal has an unexpected feeling, as though something is going to happen. He begins to record events in his sketchbook capturing faces, moments and details that will of course be hugely important later in the story. Elisa Paganelli’s illustrations are significant to the reader as we can see what Hal sketches and they are incredible!
Hal, a magnet for friends, meets several interesting characters who, like Lenny in book one, become important as the story develops. August Reza has invited journalists, like Nat, to hear a huge announcement about his future plans. He travels in style on his very own custom designed train carriage, alongside daughter Marianne and her bodyguard.
As you read the story, you meet fascinating characters who add a level of mystery to the journey. A man who never lets his briefcase out of sight, a woman wearing a bearded dragon and a father and son duo who seem on edge. Also on board is a grumpy woman with questions and fellow journalist, Zola. With these characters on board, what could possibly go wrong???
However, the clues aren’t adding up, the police aren’t interested in Hal’s detailed drawings and theories, so Hal needs to find allies who will listen and believe him. With the incredible cast of characters travelling with him, who can he choose and trust? A new nickname is given to Hal on this trip and it is an exceptional fit- Sherlock Da Vinci!
As with all perfect mysteries, the stage is set, the suspects are in front of you and yet there are still twists and turns to contend with. Can Hal solve this kidnapping before they arrive in Emeryville?
All aboard for an adventurous journey on the California Comet! It is one you won’t soon forget.