Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sandy Steele #1 Black Treasure and #2 Mormon Crossing

In Sandy Steele #1, Black Treasure, Sandy and his friend, Quiz, take summer jobs in the Four Corners area.  They work for John Hall, who is president of a small drilling company.  The boys learn about oil, uranium, and the history of the Four Corners area.

A large amount of historical information about the Indians of the southwest is given.  While I found some of it interesting and learned a few things, I felt that there was way too much of it.  It went on and on, and I finally began skimming it.

The book also gives a large amount of information about how to locate an oil reserve and how to drill for it.  The reader also learns about geology and about how to locate uranium.  The information about geology, oil, and uranium is just as excessive as the historical information.  I also had to begin skimming this information as well.  This book is almost like a textbook because of how much information is in it.

The story doesn't get to the mystery part until around page 100.  Even then, lots of information about finding and drilling for oil is given in that part of the book, and the mystery is minimal.

The setting and the information about uranium and the Indians reminded me of Franklin Folsom's Search in the Desert.  However, Search in the Desert is a much better book.

This first Sandy Steele book is quite weak, unless the reader wants to learn everything there is to know about Indians, geology, oil, and uranium.  Otherwise, the book is mostly boring and mediocre.  I felt similar to how I felt while reading my least favorite Cherry Ames books, and I almost didn't make it to the second book.  In fact, I was concerned that I had just wasted money on my purchase of the set.  I bought the set because several collectors indicated that the series is quite good.  They didn't mention how boring the first book is.  However, I decided to try the second book just in case it was better, although I was tempted to abandon the set and read something else.

In Sandy Steele #2, Danger at Mormon Crossing, Sandy is invited to go on a hiking trip with Mike Cook and his father.  The destination is Mormon Crossing in Idaho.  The group hires an Indian guide, Joe, who is an excellent guide, but he seems afraid of something.  Joe refuses to talk, but Sandy is certain that something is wrong.

This book is much, much better than the first book in the series.  I was so afraid that I had built this set of six books for nothing. I was relieved to see some evidence of why collectors say this is a good series.

This book also gives some detailed information such as how to correct the sight on a rifle and how to properly cast a reel while fishing.  While that information is a little more than I'd like, it is brief enough that I was not annoyed like I was with the first book.

I enjoyed this book.

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