Review by C.J. Bunce

Fitting into the CW television series’ fourth season, the first book in Amulet Books’ series of novels based on the DC Comics famous speedster, The Flash: Hocus Pocus, takes readers through an all-new middle-grade adventure mystery.  Barry Allen works with Team Flash, Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, and H.R. Wells fka Dr. Wells (aka Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, H. Lothario Wells, H. Wells, Harrison H.P. Wells, Harrison Wells, Harrison Wolfgang Wells, etc.), plus Joe, Iris, Wally “Kid Flash” West, and Captain Singh to try to find the cause of a recent series of deaths in Central City.  But while Cisco and Caitlin try to take a break from work at S.T.A.R. Labs at an old amusement park, a new villain rises calling himself Hocus Pocus (Cisco hates it when villains name themselves).

This mad magician takes control of Barry as he tries to save his job, protect Wally, save the city and have more time for he and Iris to move on with their lives together.  But this magician has found a way to control and direct anyone’s movements, and once Hocus Pocus can control Barry he can control anything, even kill a stadium full of innocent baseball fans.  Along the way Barry finds himself in front of the storefront of a psychic reader, the strange Madame Xanadu, who seems to have foreseen cryptic steps ahead in Barry’s future.  But Barry isn’t a believer.  Can he use science to find his answers, or will he need to meld both science and magic to take down this murderous magician?

 

Author Barry Lyga, who also penned the two follow-on books in the series, The Flash: Johnny Quick, and The Flash: The Tornado Twins, knows his characters well, creating a good story full of pop culture references, quips, and science–enough real science to prompt middle-grade readers to investigate some of the concepts used to solve this mystery on their own.  Readers will have no problem seeing the actors who portray the characters on the television show come through in this story.  Lyga writes a smart episode with subplots that will interest any superhero fan, a satisfying ending, plus he ends on a bit of a cliffhanger for one plot thread that will leave readers ready for the next books in the series.

The book, available in a glossy, textured hardcover with cover art by César Moreno, features interior pencil margin art throughout created by Chad W. Beckerman.

A good read for young (and old) superhero readers, The Flash: Hocus Pocus is available here at Amazon.  Book Two in the series, The Flash: Johnny Quick was released in April and is available here, and The Flash: The Tornado Twins is new this month, available here.

The Flash: Hocus Pocus includes a preview of a parallel series also based on a CW series, featuring Supergirl.  Written by Jo Whittemore, Books 1-3 are also available in a similar format to The Flash series, and are now at Amazon: Supergirl: Age of Atlantis, Supergirl: Curse of the Ancients, and Supergirl: Master of Illusion.

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