The Adventures of The Flash Gang. Episode One: Exploding Experiment.

Episode One: Exploding Experiment

That brief, blinding dazzle? The blue smudge and lingering stink? The Flash Gang has struck again! The most notorious thieves in Pittsburgh are food-stealing crooks the police and newspapers say are highly trained and very dangerous.

But eleven-year-old Lewis Carter isn’t a thief, he’s just homeless and hungry, and the Flash is just a recipe invented from bits of his missing father’s scientific research. He uses it to pinch his dinners and it’s been going pretty well, until now…Now his recipe is stolen, and he is in the clutches of some rather nasty people. Enter tutu-wearing, starry-eyed, and all around extraordinary (she will tell you) Pearl Alice Clavell. She’s on a mission to uncover a Nefarious Deed she’s convinced involves the Flash Gang and rescuing Lewis is right up her alley.

Truth is, a Nefarious Deed is afoot, one that threatens the entire country. It will take Lewis and Pearl joining forces to save the recipe and themselves against an enemy who will stop at nothing, including kidnapping, and, very possibly, murder.

“A tale with plenty of humor and suspense, memorable characters, and a plot that’s vividly informed by a challenging time in US history.”


“The underlying themes about community, acceptance, and friendship make this book far more than your average adventure story…The book also excels at balancing thrilling action sequences with humor and deeply felt emotion…Young readers will be swept up in this whirlwind of a story and long to join the Flash Gang too. This is a fun read with an inspiring message about how a community can come together to be courageous and surmount enormous obstacles. The relatable characters, gripping mystery, and rich historical locale make it quite the series debut and an excellent gateway for kids curious to learn about life in depression-era America.”


“Lewis and Pearl form an unlikely pair but their colorful relationship is extremely entertaining. The mystery surrounding the Recipe will intrigue readers and the chases and skirmishes with dangerous criminals add to the excitement. I highly recommend you give this book a shot.”

– Mark Buxton,

“A throwback gangster caper with irresistible kid sleuths and loads of page-turning action.”

Ben Guterson, author of the award-winning Winterhouse series

Mark Buxton, Good Reads Reviewer

The Final Verdict: Lewis and Pearl form an unlikely pair but their colorful relationship is extremely entertaining. The mystery surrounding the Recipe will intrigue readers and the chases and skirmishes with dangerous criminals add to the excitement. I highly recommend you give this book a shot.

Wanda, Good Reads Reviewer

A rollicking tale set in Pittsburg during the Great Depression. Lewis, a starving street boy who has to steal food, and Pearl, a runaway who believes a plot is afoot to destroy America, teams up to catch the bad guys. The plot moves through many narrow escapes toward the showdown. Many funny lines are sprinkled throughout. I enjoyed the book and my 9 year old nephew will also. 

Dale Zweibohmer, Good Reads Reviewer

I received this book from the authors from goodreads. I enjoyed reading this book. It kept moving and was interesting. I will read the next book in this series.

Chazzi, Good Reads Reviewer

The story is full of action and adventure. Kidnapping, espionage, trust, support, independence and more are found woven into the book. There were times that were close calls — but all was good!

Nicole M. Hewitt, Good Reads Reviewer

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump when it comes to anything besides graphic novels and verse novels lately (i.e. quick reads), but I picked this book up and didn’t have any desire to set it back down. In fact, I stayed up late to finish!

Diana Renn, Good Reads Reviewer

Nefarious deeds, notorious thieves, set in 1930s Pittsburgh! The dynamic writing duo of Downing & Waugh (check out their charming and informative website) pulls of a twisty, action-paced, fast-paced mystery in absolutely gorgeous writing. There’s also a serious underlying theme that has an eerie resonance for our current times. I was alternately laughing, frantically turning pages in suspense, and thinking deeply. This is both a wildly fun read and an important book. I can’t wait to follow young Lewis Carter and Pearl Alice Clavell on their next two adventures in the series!

Sandy Grubb, Good Reads Reviewer

This is such a fun read for kids, and really for all ages. It’s Pittsburgh in 1929, and after his father goes missing, Lewis Carter is fending for himself. When he’s captured by one of the “burlies,” all seems lost until Pearl Alice Clavell comes to the rescue wearing her pink tutu. The characters will win your heart and the action will keep you in suspense.

The Adventures of The Flash Gang. Episode Two: Treasonous Tycoon

Episode Two: Treasonous Tycoon

Where is the Flash Gang? Pittsburgh’ s most notorious thieves haven’ t struck for a year, not since a devastating fire resulted in the supposed death of two streeters. Pearl and Lewis— along with their pals, Duck and Mac— are alive and well, just in hiding. But now, their hideout is crumbling under the relentless rain. It’ s been a winter of bitter winds and slim pickings, and their friendship is starting to fray. To make matters worse, streeters are disappearing. Are they skipping town or is something more nefarious afoot? When one of their own vanishes, the gang goes all out to unravel the mystery, which once again points to enemy #1: the steel tycoon who had Lewis’ s father killed. But Pittsburgh is flooding and the tycoon’ s plans are in motion. If they want to save their friends, they’re running out of time.

“This newest entry in a dynamic, character-rich middle-grade fiction series doesn’t disappoint.”
“Kids that choose this story for its adventure will be equally attracted to its ability to inject bigger-picture themes and considerations into the suspense and intrigue, making it a top recommendation for libraries seeking stories that will grab young readers’ attention, but pose deeper insights about friendship, survival, and support systems.”

– Midwest Book Review

“The book continues the wonderful underdog story of the Flash Gang…Overall, young readers will become engrossed with Lewis and his gang and I highly recommend.”

– Mark Buxton,

“There’s quite a bit of action and tension to make a fast-paced read the entire way through. Then, there’s the characters, who aren’t only dealing with the mystery and danger but also deal with issues surrounding trust and loyalty. Add a fitting sprinkle of humor…and it’s a very balanced read with lots to enjoy.”

-Bookworm for Kids

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