Teen - Shastrix Books

Teen

Recently reviewed

The Secret Warning

The Secret Warning

, , &

26th May 2016

The seventeenth book in the original Hardy Boys series, in its revised form, tells the tale of the brothers on the trail of an island inhabiting ghost, and a golden relic of ancient Egypt being imported too the United States for some sort of illegal sale (probably).

It feels like a bit of a mishmash of different plots, with many different mysteries tied together in a convoluted and unlikely web of intrigue. I'll admit to having taken a break from the story halfway (not through any specific fault of the book), but I didn't think this structure made it easy to keep up with everything that was going on.

Overall, fairly typical entry in the series. Didn't do anything special or notable and would probably have better served as a single sitting read.

read more

A Figure in Hiding

A Figure in Hiding

, &

6th January 2016

The sixteenth novel in the original Hardy Boys series (in the 1965 rewrite edition) sees the brothers up against a mysterious glass eye which they discover when one of their acquaintances' boat goes for a test run. It features a number of the tropes of the stories that I've recognised over the course of my re-read so far, including experimental modes of transport, car chases, car crashes, gangs, mystery faces at windows, Chet having a weird new hobby, and so on.

While the first ten books feel comfortably as if they have had some effort to make them varied and interesting in different ways, since then the series has gone downhill, repeating similar situations and almost seeming to follow a formula rather than putting in a reasonable amount of imagination.

As such, it's becoming harder for the stories to grip my attention as I go on. Now admittedly this might be because I am not part of the target audience of young teens in the 1960s, but I think the change in my response since reading the earliest books again is to the change in quality of storytelling.

In this particular example the mystery is really wrapped up in a page of exposition right at the end rather than being uncovered as part of the drama, with the story feeling much more a thriller than a proper detective tale. Overall a fairly weak entry in the early original series and not one that I'd put on a must read list.

read more

The Sinister Signpost

The Sinister Signpost

, &

22nd September 2015

The fifteenth book in the original Hardy Boys series, and the point where I ran out of steam in my massive re-read. My copy is the 1960s re-draft, and sees the Hardys brought I. To investigate the possible theft of a new design of engine.

It's not a book I remember from reading when I was younger, and I wonder whether the word 'sinister' in the title put me off it then? I know there are books in the Three Investigators series that I wouldn't re-read at the same age because they were too creepy. However it's not sinister at all. The 'suspicious' signpost might have been a more precise title for the book I read.

I did park the book for a few months at about chapter fifteen, so it clearly didn't grip me. It's surprisingly sci-fi in some respects, and didn't particularly fit with the other books earlier, which felt much more dated.

Nothing special here then, as the series goes, and not one I'd pick out as a must-read.

read more

Footprints Under the Window

Footprints Under the Window

, &

21st December 2014

Hardy Boys book twelve, as updated in 1965, sees the sibling detective teenagers rescue a man who has fallen overboard, and who gives them a cryptic warning about footprints before disappearing. It's a good adventure story that includes some international travel.

Parts of the story feel dated, and to an adult reader a little bit odd - as in one of the earlier stories, references to unfriendly countries are vague and don't feel a natural part of the narrative. On the other hand, they added a little grandeur to the story that some of the earlier books were lacking with an over reliance on a particular type of criminal.

read more

While the Clock Ticked

While the Clock Ticked

, &

10th December 2014

Hardy Boys original number eleven (as revised in 1962) sees the teen detectives take on a new investigation when their father is unavailable. A range of coincidences come together as usual to tie several different mysteries together into a closed room mystery that the boys struggle to solve, including some of their biggest peril so far in the series.

While some elements of the series seem to be becoming quite repetitive - the number of criminal gangs in the same line of business in one little town is quite surprising - this is a good example of the Hardy Boys, and belies the claim the first ten books were the best, as this is certainly better than some of them.

read more

Buy book: UKUSBuy ebook: UK
The Great Airport Mystery

The Great Airport Mystery

, &

19th November 2014

The ninth Hardy Boys adventure is the most violent so far in my re-read of the series, and this the updated 1965 edition that's meant to have removed less desirable content. As is typical, the boys are called in by their father to help out on a case, going undercover at a local factory to investigate platinum thefts, but things soon spiral into something much larger.

As plots go, this has been one of the least plausible of the series this far - the boys are constantly travelling both by plane and helicopter and it stretches my imagination when it fails to mention how this is funded. The boys seem to be brought in for something that the police could definitely have dealt with, and the combination of mysteries becomes overly coincidental.

Overall I felt a bit disappointed by this book, and if you're looking for a single book in the series (rather than being a completionist like me) then I'd suggest you give this one a miss.

read more

The Secret of the Caves

The Secret of the Caves

, &

8th November 2014

The seventh book in the original Hardy Boys series (actually, my copy is the Anglicised version of the 1964 rewrite) depicts the brother detectives helping their dad in another case and going hunting for treasure with their friend's new metal detector.

Although the plot feels quite coincidental in its structure, by this point the stories seem to be moulding themselves into more of a traditional detective story structure and the two boys are becoming more independent.

I enjoyed this mystery for the most part, although I thought it was very clear where some of the story had been dramatically updated for the 1960s version and probably didn't match the original.

read more

Other reviewed books

The Shore Road Mystery
Hunting for Hidden Gold
The Secret of the Old Mill

Unreviewed books

Acting Up
Bad Chemistry
Blood Sport
Blown Away
Cave Trap
Clean Sweep
Cliffhanger
Competitive Edge
Mayhem in Motion
Moment of Truth
Mystery of the Whale Tattoo
Rough Riding
Sky High
The Arctic Patrol Mystery
The Clue of the Screeching Owl
The Crisscross Shadow
The Haunted Fort
The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
The Mystery of the Melted Coins
The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
The Phantom Freighter
The Secret of Pirates' Hill
The Sign of the Crooked Arrow

Top books

  1. The Secret of the Caves
  2. Footprints Under the Window
  3. Hunting for Hidden Gold
  4. The Shore Road Mystery
  5. While the Clock Ticked
  6. The Secret Warning
  7. The Sinister Signpost