Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hardy Boys #83 Swamp Monster, #84 Desert Phantom, and #85 Skyfire Puzzle

In Hardy Boys #83, The Swamp Monster, death threats have been made against naturalist Martin Pierce.  The boys travel to southeast Texas to investigate.

The setting is great with the Spanish moss and swamp, but the author's description falls short, leaving it flat.

The book has too many characters that I couldn't keep straight.  If the author had written the story better, I could have kept them straight.  The number was really not too many, but the author should have made it easier for the reader to remember which man was which.  I had to keep flipping back to earlier pages to try to remember.

The word "tightly" is overused.  The author should have used a few other words like "tensely" and "grimly."

The climax where the fake alligator is discovered goes too fast, is uninteresting, and is anticlimactic.

In the beginning of the story, something called the "Lost Column" is mentioned.  Near the end of the book, everyone concludes that someone is looking for something in the swamp.  They spend hours brainstorming and finally figure out the villains are searching for the Lost Column.  Duh... I could have told them that.  I knew ever since the Lost Column was mentioned that it was at the heart of the story.  How stupid.

This book has a great setting that was not described anywhere near as well as it should have been.  It also has a great story that was not written well enough.  I enjoyed this book, but I wish it had been written better.

In Hardy Boys #84, Revenge of the Desert Phantom, Frank and Joe are tasked with finding Niki Jerusa, who is hiding after a revolution in her African nation.  Frank and Joe must find her and take her back home so that she can help overthrow the government. 

We learn on page 21 that Joe and Iola have relationship troubles, which is a first in the Hardy Boys Digest series.  This book and the next one are the last two Hardy Boys Wanderer books and were the pilots for the Hardy Boys Casefiles series.  The last two Nancy Drew Wanderer books also served the same function for the Nancy Drew Files series.

I don't like the last two Nancy Drew Wanderer books very much, since Nancy's character is changed too much.  She is smitten with every man she meets and even is attracted to a villain when the reader can tell that he is a creep.

While this book does have a different tone and is much more exciting than the other Hardy Boys books, the story remains true to the boys' personalities.  What's different in this book is the outrageous adventure where the boys drive a tank and use machine guns.

I enjoyed this book much more than I expected.  I didn't like the premise at first, but the author added the right emotions and made the plot so interesting that I greatly enjoyed the story.  I read it very quickly.

This is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys #85, The Skyfire Puzzle, Frank and Joe go to NASA to help prevent someone from sabotaging the next space shuttle mission. 

This book is as action-packed as the previous one.  This time there is a hint of attraction between Frank and Suzanne, but it goes no further than that.

On page 34, Frank and Joe learn that civilians such as teachers and students are now allowed to go on shuttle missions, therefore Frank and Joe will go on the shuttle flight.  I cringed, since this book was published in 1985, and Challenger blew up in 1986 with teacher Christa McAuliffe on board. 

This book was written by the same author as The Swamp Monster.  Fortunately, "tightly" was used less often.

This book is very exciting.  I enjoyed it very much and read it very quickly.

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