In Ken Holt #9, The Mystery of the Galloping Horse, Richard Holt is in grave danger. In just four days, Holt will testify before a grand jury. In the meantime, Holt is concerned about his safety as well as Ken and Sandy's. Holt fears that his enemies will target Ken as the easiest way of preventing him from testifying. Ken and Sandy join an archaeological dig as a means of staying in hiding. At the dig, the boys find a mystery. The sounds of a galloping horse are heard at night, and residents think it is a ghost. The boys investigate.
The boys have to fight a grass fire that threatens their camp. They are losing the battle when coincidentally it begins to rain. I swear that every single time a fire gets out of control in a series book that it promptly begins raining.
The plot of this book is quite contrived. Ken and Sandy go into hiding from the men who are threatening Mr. Holt. They find a mystery where someone is messing with their camp. Here we have two completely events, right? No! The same group of men is responsible for the threats and for the problems at the excavation. How ironic that Ken and Sandy escape from the criminals to the very place where the criminals go.
I greatly enjoyed the first half of the book. I then felt that the book had begun to drag with it taking forever to get to the point. I regained interest shortly before the boys were captured, then I lost interest again.
I am still trying to articulate exactly why I enjoy parts of these books greatly but then have trouble with other parts of the books. The Ken Holt books do spend large amounts of text with the boys trying to figure something out, making a decision, doing more figuring, and going back and forth like that. I think that's part of what gets to me. Also, the plots often seem to plod along slowly in their great detail.
These books are very detailed and feel much more lengthy than other series books. I compared the text of this book to a Nancy Drew book, and the lines of text are closer together, so each page has more text than other series books.
As with the other Ken Holt books, this is a good book, but much of it doesn't appeal to me.
Finally, I get to one of the books that is set in Mexico. I like series books set in Mexico, and this book is no exception.
On page 3, Ken suggests that Sandy doesn't know what enchiladas, tacos, and tortillas are. I always find it interesting how these old series books treat Mexican food as something with which Americans are not that familiar. That's hardly the case now, since we all know what tacos are.
Sandy creates a radio transmitter towards the end of this book, and the description of the process strongly reminded me of the science in the Rick Brant books. In fact, I felt like Ken and Sandy had morphed into Rick and Scotty during that scene.
I greatly enjoyed this book.