Friday, February 6, 2015

Ken Holt #1 Skeleton Island and #2 Stone Elephant

I decided to read the Ken Holt books again.  I never wrote reviews of the books before because I didn't have a lot to say.  I also didn't like the books nearly as much as others do, which made me feel bad.  I had planned to put up a website section for the series and did just barely start on one around 4 1/2 years ago.  I think I enjoyed the books, but I think I felt disappointed or was not overly enthusiastic.  Or maybe it was the beginning of my motivational issues causing me to lose interest in building sections for the website.  Whatever happened, I only barely started a Ken Holt section and have had no desire to complete it.  The unfinished Ken Holt section is where I broke off on creating sections for my website, and I never added anything to the site until I added the Three Investigators section last summer. 

I am curious to see how I respond to the Ken Holt books as compared to Rick Brant.  As I read Rick Brant, I thought that I liked Rick Brant more than Ken Holt.  I expect that opinion to hold true.  Let's see what happens as I begin this journey.

In Ken Holt #1, The Secret of Skeleton Island, Ken leaves school to catch a train so that he can meet his father, Richard Holt, who is a famous reporter.  Two men use a ruse to get Ken to travel with them in their car, and Ken is taken hostage!  When Ken escapes, he seeks refuge in the office of the Brentwood Advance.  This twist of fate brings Ken the friendship of Sandy Allen and his family.

In this book, Ken and Sandy trail the crooks, but during that time, they get captured.  Several other times they nearly get captured or have skirmishes with the crooks, and for 100 pages of the book, Ken and Sandy play this constant game of cat-and-mouse with the villains.  It's very suspenseful and well written, but it's too much for me.  More specifically, it's the very great detail that is given during every single scene that gets to me.  That's my problem with this book, and I can't describe it much better than that.  Since I had read this book before, I skimmed some parts of the text on this reading.

I found that once the boys finally get inside the hotel that I became more interested again.  The long stretch of 100 pages when the boys trail the crooks from  New York City to Skeleton Island is the part that was trying for me.

In Ken Holt #2, The Riddle of the Stone Elephant, Ken and Sandy travel to Colorado to do preliminary work on a story that Richard Holt will cover.  The boys research an old land dispute, and they quickly realize that someone doesn't want them to complete their research.  Exactly what information is someone trying to keep hidden?

This book is much more to my liking.  The investigation flows quite well and is very interesting.

I did find the story just a tad bit convoluted.  I got confused a few times about all of the characters and had to pause to think about who was who.

Just like when I read this book over four years ago, I had trouble visualizing the placement of the rocks that form the needle and the elephant.  The cover art didn't help me, either.  The problem is that the cover art doesn't show all the details.

Speaking of the cover art, the man along the right edge is wearing a hat, but the color of the hat is almost identical to the rock, so he doesn't appear to be wearing a hat.

While this book flows quite well and is quite enjoyable, I grew tired of it towards the end.  The last few chapters drag out a bit, and I grew impatient for the book to end.

1 comment:

Homeschool Mom said...

Our oldest son and I read the "elephant" mystery when we first began homeschooling. Lots of fun, but we didn't find any more of the mysteries. Seeing the title on your blog brought back happy memories! Thanks!