Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #1 Extreme Danger, #2 Running on Fumes, and #3 Boardwalk Bust

The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series is a modern interpretation of the Hardy Boys series.  Frank and Joe take turns narrating the story in first person, and they speak in an informal fashion.  Aunt Gertrude is now Aunt Trudy.  Fenton Hardy is a retired police officer who founded the organization ATAC, American Teens Against Crime.  Laura Hardy is a librarian.  Frank and Joe work undercover for ATAC.

Brian Conrad is a bully who does not like Frank and Joe.  Brian's sister Belinda likes Frank, but he is nervous around girls.  Joe loves girls and knows he is very attractive and irresistible.  He can't understand why all the girls like Frank instead.  This is a running gag throughout the series.

Each book begins in the middle of an action scene in which Frank and Joe are wrapping up an ATAC case and are nearly killed.  While these scenes are typically interesting, they annoy me since they have nothing to do with the rest of the book.  I want to get into the story that I am about to read.

In Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #1 Extreme Danger, ATAC has assigned Frank and Joe to discover who is sabotaging the Big Air Games.

I began reading this book in this series immediately after finishing #190 in the Digest series.  As I experienced with the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series, it was hard at first getting used to the different tone.  I had the same thoughts I had when I began the first Girl Detective book, feeling that the experience was jarring.  This book has lots of humor, and I was thoroughly engaged once I read the first few chapters.

On page 23, an ATAC agent throws a brick through the Hardys' window in order to give them their next mission.  This method of delivery seems a bit dangerous to me.

Even though this story is typical sabotage, the text is written in such an interesting fashion that I really enjoyed the story.

In Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #2, Running on Fumes, Frank and Joe latest mission is to investigate Arthur Stench's compound, which is located in the California desert.  Stench is suspected of using violence to further his environmentalist cause.

I found the narration shift between Frank and Joe to be distracting in this book.

This book is weak.  The true motive of the wacky environmentalist Stench is surprising, but it is also not logical at all.

In Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #3, Boardwalk Bust, Frank and Joe investigate a series of jewelry store heists in Ocean Point, New Jersey.

Each Undercover Brothers book gives a suspect profile in each book that adds descriptive information which makes characters easier to remember

The change in narration doesn't bother me much in this book.

Some plot twists are interesting and funny, like jewelry found on the beach.

This is an excellent book, with the following caveat that I hope readers will keep in mind as my reviews are published.  If I report that an Undercover Brothers book is excellent, then it is understood that the book is excellent for those who can appreciate and enjoy the first person narrative and informal tone of the Undercover Brothers series.  I can, so this book is excellent to me.  Some readers will hate all of these books no matter what.


Jennifer White said...

This post was written in June. When I write these reviews, they express how I feel immediately after finishing the books. If I were to go back and read the books again, my feelings would change. I did enjoy these books, but the way I feel about the later books would negatively influence me if I were to read these early books again. A few aspects of the series wore on me as I read through the set.

Each book begins with the wrap-up of a previous case. I tolerated those scenes in these early books, but by halfway through the series, I found them intolerable. I also found the method with which the boys receive their cases to be obnoxious, and I skimmed those scenes in later books.

CvilleTed said...

Glad you are reviewing this series. I didn't agree with replacing the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys digest series at the time, the excuse being that sales dipped. I think if they just wrote better mysteries and updated the look of the books it would have helped. As you point out, sabotage plots over and over are not good. The change to the first person was jarring, and differentiating between Frank and Joe became a problem. They "sounded" the same from chapter to chapter. A good author could have really made them distinct, especially how they view the same situation and clues.

Jennifer White said...

The authors are a real problem, and some of them are quite bad. Later in the series, I will comment on one of the trilogies that I kept thinking of the author as a "hack writer" the entire time. The writing is awful in some of the books and trilogies.

Better stories and better presentation is all they needed.

CvilleTed said...

Agreed. I read the first trilogy - Murder House. It was physically painful to continue reading, the books were that bad. It was a flimsy plot spread out over THREE books! the same things happened over and over, never advancing the plot. I was amazed that someone "wrote" these books, then shocked that someone "edited" these books, then floored that they were published!