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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Adventures of Will Irving: Automaton Troubles by Curtis Castro is an alternative history mystery story set in the 1950s. Will’s father, Walter Irving, disappears after his wife’s death, leaving Will to run the family P.I. business and look after his 10-year-old sister, Emily. The family has their own automaton – a very life-like robot called Max. When Will gets caught up in a case involving the dangerous antics of Moe and his gang, he ends up rescuing a missing girl called Claire, and being accused by crooks of kidnapping her father (the eminent inventor of a new improved automaton). It isn’t long before Will and Claire, along with others, uncover a frightening plan that will have dire consequences if it cannot be stopped. Automatons fighting each other, explosions, gun fights, and danger at every turn are just some of the challenges Will faces. But can he prevent the implementation of "component #35" or will his loyalty to those he loves be his Achilles heel?
The Adventures of Will Irving romps along at a good pace from the very start. Curtis Castro’s entertaining and well-crafted story is full of vivid and believable characters whose motivations, personalities, and background stories drive the plot forward. I love the idea of setting a science fiction style tale in the past, giving us an alternative and entertaining story. The reader is kept in suspense as Will and his investigative partners pull out all the stops to solve the case of the missing scientist, and then get caught up in a series of nail-bitingly dangerous and risky situations.
This is a well-written story that combines science fiction with crime and mystery – resulting in an absorbing page-turner. There are plenty of surprises and twists along the way, and some intriguing connections and links between the experiences of different characters. I liked the way the story also explores themes of loyalty and sacrifice, and the consequences of revenge. An easy-to-get-into and entertaining book for fans of stories that combine mystery, private investigators, and robotic inventions that fall into the wrong hands.