Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rick Brant #6 Phantom Shark and #7 Smuggler's Reef

In Rick Brant #6, The Phantom Shark, Rick, Scotty, and Barby travel on a South Sea voyage with friends of the Brants.  The purpose of the voyage is to survey the ocean in order to find new fishing grounds.  The young people soon learn about the Phantom Shark, a man notorious for hunting pearls and killing anyone who gets in his way.  Rick and Scotty have reason to believe that they have come in contact with the Phantom Shark and that the mysterious stranger is responsible for damage to their boat.

This story has very little to do with science and is instead a mystery and adventure story.  I really enjoyed having Barby come along on the trip and feel that she added another dimension to the story.  This book is the type of adventure story that I really enjoy.  During the entire book, I felt suspense leading up to the ultimate confrontation between Rick and his friends and the Phantom Shark.  For that reason, I read the book pretty quickly, eager to see what would happen next.  I greatly enjoyed this book, and this is my favorite Rick Brant book so far.

In Rick Brant #7, Smugglers' Reef, Rick and Scotty help Jerry as he tracks a story for the newspaper.  Captain Tyler ran his ship aground at Smugglers' Reef, and he claims that he was drunk.  Rick is certain that Tyler is afraid of something and is taking the blame on purpose.  Rick and Scotty believe that Tyler found out about a smuggling operation, so they set out to get proof of their suspicions.

I like the opening line of the book.  " 'Adventure,' Rick Brant said, 'is kind of hard to define, because what may be adventure to one person may be commonplace to another.' "  It's the same with books.  I find that I often respond completely differently to books than how other people did.

On page 4, an electronic mind reader is mentioned.  This caught my eye since one of the later titles in the series is The Electronic Mind Reader.

This book also has very little science in it.

The plot of this book is slow.  By halfway through this book, I felt like the text had really begun to drag and that I was reading a story that seemed like it was 400 pages long rather than slightly more than 200.  The book basically consists of a very detailed investigation into the smuggling, and I felt like the story took too long to develop and way too much detail was given.

Since I was not overwhelmingly thrilled with this book, I sought out reviews online out of curiosity.  I noticed that one person stated that many have compared this book to Ken Holt.  Perhaps that is it.  The comparison was most likely made because Rick and Scotty are acting like reporters, which matches up with Ken and Sandy's roles in the Ken Holt books.  I instead thought about the excessive detail of this book and how it reminds me of Ken Holt, and that detail is what bothered me about the Ken Holt books.

As I continued to read, I grew more and more tired of the book.  It's not that the story was bad; it's that it went on and on so very slowly.  It was realistic how difficult it was for Rick and Scotty to get proof of the smuggling, but it didn't make for a very engaging book.

The plot was weak.  Rick and Scotty were sure that the Kelsos were smuggling, but they had no tangible evidence to support that belief.  I'd hate for someone to decide I'm guilty of a crime just because they see me getting something out of my car at 12 AM.  That's a lot like what happened in this book.

It took me longer to get through this book than it should have.  I couldn't read much at a time because it kept going on and on.  Finally, I finished it.  While the book is overall good and has some really good moments, the story is tiresome. 

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