Franklin W Dixon - Shastrix Books

Franklin W Dixon

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Track of the Zombie

Track of the Zombie

Franklin W Dixon

5th October 2021

In one of their least memorable adventures, the Hardy brothers head off on holiday to investigate several mysteries, including the titular zombie, who is a local legend where they are staying.

It’s definitely a book of its time - the early 1980s - with crimes and settings to match, which are likely less common appearances today. However in other ways this book feels more modern - the language, the behaviours of the characters, and the avoidance of the most obviously offensive stereotypes.

As with the novels just before in the series, it makes more references to other novels in the series than previously. This feels like it ties in with the increased publishing frequency of the time, and a rather obvious marketing tactic within the narrative.

As i say, a fairly forgettable story and one that I wouldn’t place near the top of any list.

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The Infinity Clue

The Infinity Clue

Franklin W Dixon

7th August 2021

Book 70, and the Hardy brothers are roped into their father’s investigation with very little information to go on, making this a confusing plot without really any defined mystery to investigate.

Much of the action takes place in and around Washington DC, which makes it another holiday story. There’s a bit more violence Han before in the form of explosions, and I’m not sure I feel this fits the mode of a Hardy Boys story very well.

One interesting thing in this novel is that it makes a lot of references back to previous books, and I then wonder if this is a marketing tactic employed by the publishers now that they (in the early 1980s) have massively increased the rate of publication.

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The Four-Headed Dragon

The Four-Headed Dragon

Franklin W Dixon

7th August 2021

I’m slightly disappointed about the lack of an actual dragon in this sixty-ninth Hardy Boys mystery, which instead sees the brothers investigating… actually I’m not entirely sure what?

This novel feels like a vehicle for setting more than plot, as the author has created a clone of the Winchester Mystery House, and seemingly designed their plot around getting the brothers there.

There’s a lot of dressing around it, but it doesn’t feel much like it adds up to a properly cohesive plot.

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The Submarine Caper

The Submarine Caper

Franklin W Dixon

7th August 2021

The sixty-eighth book in the Hardy Boys series enters a run of books I didn’t have as a child, so they are new adventures to me.

In The Submarine Caper, we find the boys in Germany, in a possibly unique story in which none of their family nor friends feature. Naturally several other of the cliches continue to apply though.

One thing I noticed particularly in this novel is that the brothers’ relationship feels more brotherly - there’s more teasing and almost bickering, which is something I’ve not noticed previously. Feels like it brings the characters a step closer to realism, and might be a deliberate change for the 1980s, when this story was originally published.

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The Outlaw's Silver

The Outlaw's Silver

Franklin W Dixon

7th August 2021

Book 67, and the Hardy brothers are dragged into a slightly confusing set of overlapping mysteries to the extent that it was hard to remember what’s what.

Particularly at the start of the story, the narrative flow felt off, and I found myself having to turn back a page and check what was going on because I had missed something.

One of the most interesting points covered in this story is that it places the boys home town of Bayport north of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, which is the most specific I think the stories have come to being explicit about where it is.

Overall though, confusing and forgettable. But the last of the initial run of Digest stories that I read as a child - so next up are 11 stories that (unless I read them from the library) are entirely new to me.

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Buy book: UK
The Vanishing Thieves

The Vanishing Thieves

Franklin W Dixon

7th August 2021

Hardy Boys adventure 66 sees a visit by Chet’s cousin lead the brothers and their friend into my one but four separate cases, taking them on a trip to Los Angeles.

The book feels pretty standard for the early 80s formula, although high on violence and peril. I’ve noticed that the boys are much more inclined now to break laws themselves in the course of their investigations, and I counted five incidents of unlawful entry in this novel.

Overall I think it’s a mediocre plot, nothing hugely exciting or memorable. It’s certainly the case that I don’t recall this one from when I read it as a child.

There are several sexist moments to the narrative that would hopefully be avoided in a modern story, and what appears to be potentially a racist illustration in my copy. That said, likely the most noticeable thing that would be implausible to a modern child would be the total absence of mobile telephones.

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Buy book: UK
The Stone Idol

The Stone Idol

Franklin W Dixon

31st July 2021

This early 1980s Hardy Boys novel sees the brothers hired to investigate the theft of a small state originating from Easter Island.

In many ways, it fits the mould of the series, with the boys going off on exotic travels, helping out their father, and adopting offensive amounts of disguise as natives from other cultures.

But in others it doesn't - there are elements here which feel quite unique and like the author has put in some effort to deliberately avoid hat have become liches of the series.

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Other reviewed books

The Mystery of Smugglers Cove
The Mummy Case
The Apeman's Secret
The Pentagon Spy
The Mystery of the Samurai Sword
Night of the Werewolf
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook
The Sting of the Scorpion
The Firebird Rocket
The Jungle Pyramid
The Witchmaster's Key
The Mysterious Caravan
The Clue of the Hissing Serpent
The Shattered Helmet
The Masked Monkey
Danger on Vampire Trail
The Bombay Boomerang
The Arctic Patrol Mystery
The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo
The Secret Agent on Flight 101
The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
The Haunted Fort
The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
The Viking Symbol Mystery
The Clue of the Screeching Owl
The Mystery of the Desert Giant
The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
The Mystery at Devil's Paw
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
The Secret of Pirates' Hill
The Clue in the Embers
The Hooded Hawk Mystery
The Yellow Feather Mystery
The Crisscross Shadow
The Secret of Wildcat Swamp
The Wailing Siren Mystery
The Secret of the Lost Tunnel
The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
The Secret of Skull Mountain
The Phantom Freighter
The Secret Panel
The Short-Wave Mystery
The Mystery of the Melted Coins
The Flickering Torch Mystery
The Clue of the Broken Blade
The Mystery of the Flying Express
The Disappearing Floor
The Twisted Claw
The Secret Warning
A Figure in Hiding
The Sinister Signpost
The Hidden Harbour Mystery
The Mark on the Door
Footprints Under the Window
While the Clock Ticked
What Happened At Midnight
The Great Airport Mystery
The Mystery of Cabin Island
The Secret of the Caves
The Shore Road Mystery
Hunting for Hidden Gold
The Missing Chums
The Secret of the Old Mill
The House on the Cliff
The Tower Treasure

Unreviewed books

A Game Called Chaos
A Killing in the Market
A Will to Survive
Acting Up
Against All Odds
Attack of the Video Villains
Bad Chemistry
Beyond the Law
Blood Money
Blood Relations
Blood Sport
Blown Away
Brother Against Brother
Castle Fear
Cave Trap
Cave-in
Choke Hold
Clean Sweep
Cliffhanger
Cold Sweat
Collision Course
Competitive Edge
Countdown to Terror
Crime in the Kennel
Crusade of the Flaming Sword
Cult of Crime
Danger in the Extreme
Danger in the Fourth Dimension
Danger on the Air
Danger on the Diamond
Danger Zone
Daredevils
Darkness Falls
Dead on Target
Deadfall
Deathgame
Deep Trouble
Diplomatic Deceit
Dirty Deeds
Disaster for Hire
Double Exposure
Double Jeopardy
Edge of Destruction
Endangered Species
Evil Incorporated
Eye on Crime
False Alarm
Fast Break
Final Cut
Final Gambit
Fire in the Sky
Flesh and Blood
Flight into Danger
Foul Play
Fright Wave
Game Plan For Disaster
Grave Danger
Height of Danger
Hidden Mountain
Hide and Sneak
High-Speed Showdown
Highway Robbery
Hostages of Hate
Illegal Procedure
In Plane Sight
Kickoff to Danger
Lethal Cargo
Line of Fire
Lost in Gator Swamp
Martial Law
Maximum Challenge
Mayhem in Motion
Moment of Truth
Motocross Madness
Murder at the Mall
No Mercy
No Way Out
Nowhere To Run
One False Step
Open Season
Passport to Danger
Peak of Danger
Perfect Getaway
Power Play
Programme for Destruction
Radical Moves
Real Horror
Revenge of the Desert Phantom
Rigged for Revenge
Rock 'n' Revenge
Rock 'n' Roll Renegades
Rough Riding
Running on Empty
Sabotage at Sea
Scene of the Crime
See No Evil
Sidetracked to Danger
Skin and Bones
Sky High
Sky Sabotage
Slam Dunk Sabotage
Speed Times Five
Spiked!
Strategic Moves
Street Spies
Stress Point
Survival Run
Terror at High Tide
Terror on Track
The Alaskan Adventure
The Baseball Card Conspiracy
The Billion Dollar Ransom
The Blackwing Puzzle
The Borderline Case
The Borgia Dagger
The Caribbean Cruise Caper
The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals
The Case of the Psychic's Vision
The Castle Conundrum
The Chase for the Mystery Twister
The Cold Cash Caper
The Crimson Flame
The Crisscross Crime
The Crowning Terror
The Dangerous Transmission
The Dead Season
The Demolition Mission
The Desert Thieves
The Emperor's Shield
The End of the Trail
The Genius Thieves
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew meet Dracula and other stories
The Hypersonic Secret
The Ice Cold Case
The Last Laugh
The Last Leap
The Lazarus Plot
The Lure of the Italian Treasure
The Million-Dollar Nightmare
The Mystery of the Black Rhino
The Mystery of the Silver Star
The Number File
The Phoenix Equation
The Roaring River Mystery
The Search for the Snow Leopard
The Secret of Sigma Seven
The Secret of Skeleton Reef
The Secret of the Island Treasure
The Secret of the Soldier's Gold
The Serpent's Tooth Mystery
The Sky Blue Frame
The Skyfire Puzzle
The Smoke Screen Mystery
The Swamp Monster
The Tic-Tac Terror
The Viking's Revenge
The Voodoo Plot
Thick as Thieves
Too Many Traitors
Toxic Revenge
Training for Trouble
Trapped at Sea
Trial and Terror
Trick or Trouble
Trouble in the Pipeline
Trouble in Warp Space
True Thriller
Typhoon Island
Uncivil War
Warehouse Rumble
Web of Horror
Wipeout
Without a Trace
Witness to Murder
Wreck and Roll

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