Goldie Vance Volume 4
Goldie Vance volume 4 marks a few turning points in the retro-flavored series about a teen detective. This is the first volume to not be previously serialized, and it’s the first not written by series co-creator Hope Larson (although she gets a story credit). It’s also not drawn by original artist and co-creator Brittney Williams (who does provide the cover), but volume 3 was drawn by someone else as well. Volume 4 is written by Jackie Ball (who co-wrote volume 3) and illustrated by Elle Power.
This installment is also my favorite of the series, just because I love the subject matter of the premise more. The first story (preview here) was about jewel thieves and spies; the second, astronauts and space travel; and the third, auto racing. These were all in keeping with the 60s time period setting and demonstrate girl detective Goldie’s many active interests, but I didn’t like them as much as the subject of this story: rock’n’roll!
Goldie’s father manages the Crossed Palms Resort hotel, and they’re the site of a rockin’ music festival on the beach. Goldie’s girlfriend, who also works as a DJ and at a record store, is helping organize the concert and gets girl band The Hummingbirds a slot. Goldie, meanwhile, is asked to find out why a couple of bands are missing. There are also mysterious power outages going on.
The biggest compliment I can give Power is that I didn’t notice at first that the artist had changed. She does a great job with the active characters, putting them in substantial settings that convey the mid-century time period and sun-splashed Florida resort. I did have a problem at first realizing that the androgynous character always in a business suit was a woman, but I figured it out after paying more attention to details in dialogue.
There’s a lot going on in this story, which kept my interest throughout as I tried to figure out how everything was going to come together by the end. Putting out these books as graphic novels makes it a lot easier to follow the mystery! Goldie’s youth is obvious, as she races ahead without getting much-needed advice, but that’s because her emotions have gotten caught up in her work. She’s very sure of herself, much of the time, which also reinforces her immaturity and makes her fun to read — even when I’m thinking, “No, stop, ask someone first!” By the end, she’s grown some and learned the value of teamwork.
There are callbacks to previous adventures, both in references and characters, but they’re not significant enough to damage this read. Everything you need to know is mentioned at some point, which I appreciated in structure. By the last chapter, Goldie and her friends are doing more than solving a mystery; they’re embroiled in a spy caper with plenty of adventure and chase scenes! This is a fun summer read,with lots of escapism.
I’m hoping we see more of Goldie, but the series needs better book titles. “Volume whatever” is direct but doesn’t capture the flavor of the series. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)