Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular by Bob Pfluegfelder Book Review

Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself (Nick and Tesla #5) by Bob Pfluegfelder
Illustrations by Steve Hockensmith
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: May 5, 2015

Nick and Tesla are a brother sister duo who have a knack for science, electronics, and solving mysteries. When a Hollywood production rolls into town helmed by their friend DeMarco's aunt, the kids are giving a behind-the-stage pass to visit. However, someone appears to be sabotaging the film and it is up to Nick, Tesla, DeMarco, and movie-obsessed Silas to find out who.

Starting a series on book five has some serious pitfalls. For example, by this point in the story the characters have been established, which means that although there was a tad bit of backstory, there were times when I was confused as to who was who. Add to that some references to previous books, missing parents, and an absentee Uncle, and I felt like I was definitely starting at a deficit. Seriously, what is going on with the parents? And side note, I absolutely hate these kid's names. It's like naming your twins Marco and Polo or Edgar and Allen. ugh.

This story had a lot of great examples of how movies are actually made. There is a ton of lingo, information about special effects, steadicams, makeup, and even how movie contracts work. Within the book are five different projects that readers can work on that are directly correlated to the stories plot. There is also a lot of emphasis tied to science and technology and a great deal of care in making this book relateable to both girls and boys.

I did think the mystery was a bit weak, but it was a fun adventure so there was that. As a geek, I was a bit annoyed with the portrayal of the comic book store geeks who were protesting the movie shoot as they were the usual cast of stereotypes. Of course, our plucky heroes weren't like those geeks at all, even though they have their own obsessions going on. Like Silas, their filmmaking obsessed friend who seems to know everything about special effects and B-grade movies.

All in all, a fun little adventure for those who love filmmaking or project building, or both.