Review: Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson (Author), Brittney Williams (Illustrator)


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Published: 18 October 2016

Publisher: Boom Entertainment

Category: Graphic Novels/Mystery/Young Adult


Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day be the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills, and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles, or chasing a helicopter to do it!

Rating: 2 Stars

I’ve always been a fan of Nancy Drew mysteries. From those early yellow hardback books I progressed to Harriet the Spy the novel, then the Veronica Mars television show. Girl detectives are, to put it simply, bad ass. Goldie is the latest in a long line of these and she heads a diverse cast of characters in a 50’s era mystery full of car racers, surfers, and spies.

Goldie was very enthusiastic in her pursuit of becoming involved in the work of in-house detective at the Crossed Palms Resort. When she gets involved in a simple stolen necklace case, things go from bad to worse as the case escalates to include a kidnapping of a German scientist, Russian agents, and a mystery third party. Using her skills and a lot of luck, Goldie never lets up for a minute.

While I commend Goldie for keeping at her goal, I also have to point out that a lot of what happened was relatively easy. She didn’t have to work very hard to find clues or suss out the culprits, such as the person who stole the necklace in the original in-house mystery. She also has somewhat loose ideals in solving her mysteries, such as stealing a car for a drag race (in order to recover the necklace stolen for collateral) and again in order to pursue a suspect.

The artwork was very lovely and vibrant. This was a very diverse cast. Goldie herself is biracial and is a gorgeous character. Her crush is a record store clerk that’s adventurous with a neat short hairstyle and cool fashion sense. Many of the secondary characters, like Goldie’s friends Rob and Cheryl as well as the members of the Crossed Palms staff and the nearby town, were black. I’d look into Brittney Williams’s work again because she did a great job of conveying the 50’s era, the beachfront property, even Goldie’s mom’s job as a mermaid was aesthetically pleasing.

As for what I didn’t like…

There was something that I didn’t realize upon my first reading of Goldie Vance. Upon reflection, in regards to certain characters, their backstories, and their paths in the book, that having figured it out now rubs me the wrong way.

Ludwig is a German scientist that was meant to have come to work for NASA. A Russian agent is trying to kidnap him, but is foiled by Dr. Carthage, a third party who wants his help to get to Mars and start a new “government” where there is no government out in space. Post-WWII German scientists being recruited to work for US and Russian government positions in the space race, regardless of their affiliation with the Nazi party, was something very real that happen. Whether or not Ludwig was in fact a Nazi is not revealed, but odds are likely that historically he would have been because more than 1,600 scientists, engineers, and technicians were employed after the war. His getting away at the end of Goldie Vance without any repercussions, along with the stink of that project (Operation Paperclip) gave me an unsettled feeling after reading this book.

Even if I were to ignore the unsettled feeling of Ludwig’s past, I’m not sure I would continue reading this series personally. I wasn’t thrilled with the action of it. I didn’t feel any kind of tension because, as I mentioned previously, it felt like things fell into place much too easily for Goldie. It felt like the effort she was putting into her work was unnecessary and, while her friendships were nice, they weren’t enough to support the whole work.




I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

4 thoughts on “Review: Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson (Author), Brittney Williams (Illustrator)

  1. This looked good, so it’s disappointing you didn’t like it. I am also confused by the need for an in-house detective. Is that a real thing or does her hotel just have an usually high crime rate? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right? And I think later Nancy did some travelling, too. Of course, since her father is rich and she can afford to work free, it’s no wonder so many people wanted to hire her! 😉


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