Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nancy Drew #155 Tornado Alley, #156 Secret in the Stars, and #157 Music Festival Mystery

In Nancy Drew #155, The Mystery in Tornado Alley, Nancy travels to Oklahoma with her father, Hannah, Bess, and George to check out a property Hannah has inherited.  Nancy finds a green duffel bag in a tree after a tornado passes through.  She wonders whose bag it is. 

Nancy meets up with this random guy, Derek, at the tornado lab.  Derek is weird, but Nancy considers him her new best friend.  And he has a car!  Nancy gets him to take her places.  Bess and George both think something is wrong with Derek, but Nancy makes excuses for him.  Derek is Nancy's new BFF, and she doesn't care how bad he treats her!  Nancy clings to Derek as she tries to find the owner of the green duffel bag.

Yeah.  This book is a mess.  This book falls into the category of a book that is so bad that it is almost good.  I enjoyed it in a perverse fashion.

On page 2, Nancy is disappointed that the trip is to be by RV instead of by plane, since she likes to fly.  Really, Nancy?

I am about to spoil the plot, but this book is so awful that I hardly think it matters.  Besides, the villain is that obvious.  But if you really care, then skip down to the next image where the next review begins. 
The culprit is Derek.  He's so obviously the villain from the very beginning, and we see warning signs every few pages, like on pages 50, 52, 57, 79, 84, 89, and 107.  Even Bess and George say that Derek is strange or flaky.  Derek must have mental problems, but Nancy trusts him completely and gives him tons of information.

About that duffel bag... the bag contains ransom notes.  Nancy goes to the police, who are not interested, because no one has been kidnapped.  However, Nancy is certain that someone soon will be, so she becomes best friends with Derek so that he can help her.  Way to go, girl!  Have the villain help you!

The climax of this book is terribly illogical, unbelievable, and irresponsible, since it portrays an F5 tornado as easily survivable.  Derek, nut case that he is, drives into the center of an F5 tornado with Nancy in the car with him.  The car is pulled into the air, and Derek is knocked unconscious.  Nancy is thrown around inside the car while the car tumbles through the air.  Somehow, Nancy is not knocked out.  She has the presence of mind to consider what to do.  She decides that she would be better off outside the car where the debris can hit her.  She somehow opens the car door against 300 mph winds, and then the tornado sets her on the ground.  Nancy is uninjured.

Of course, Nancy's friends just happen to drive up at that exact moment.  Nancy sees where Derek's car hit the ground.  She decides that he must be dead, and the young people drive off without checking.  I mean, if Nancy lived through the tornado, then why couldn't Derek have lived?  Of course, he didn't live, but the scene caps off a story that is bizarre from start to finish.  The Mystery in Tornado Alley rivals The Flying Saucer Mystery in overall weirdness.

In Nancy Drew #156, The Secret in the Stars, popular radio astronomy host, Bob "Dr. Stars" Stellar, comes to River Heights.  Nancy, Bess, and George arrive at his stargazing event in the state park to discover nobody there but his abandoned van.  Later, Dr. Stars arrives, and the girls become acquainted with him.

Meanwhile, a celebrity, Will Ryder, is in River Heights to be married.  The paparazzi are stalking him, and Nancy gradually realizes that the strange events surrounding Dr. Stars are connected to the paparazzi.

I feel that Nancy is a bit dense not to realize the identity of one of the two culprits.  This is a pretty good book, but the obviousness of the villain takes away from it a bit.  I sense that the books are beginning to deteriorate as we begin the countdown towards the end of the Nancy Drew Digest series and the beginning of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.

In Nancy Drew #157, The Music Festival Mystery, Nancy, Bess, and George attend a music festival at Emerson College with Ned.  The music festival is put on by the school's club of international students.  The club is riddled with controversy, with two students running for club president locked in a bitter feud. 

The book introduces too many characters too fast.  I was bored by page 25 and began skimming the book.  By page 50, I gave up.  I skipped to the end to see the identity of the villain.  I recognized the name as one of the dozen or so names that were introduced in the beginning, but I couldn't remember anything about that person.  I don't think I missed out on much by not reading this book.

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