Monday, October 12, 2015

Nancy Drew Diaries, No. 10 - A Script for Danger

Anyone who knows me, knows that I've been reading and collecting Nancy Drew books for years - from the original books dating back to the 30s, to the current series of Nancy Drew Diaries.  While the recent re-boots - the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective series and the Nancy Drew Diaries series - have been less than stellar, I have been trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that each new book that comes out will show improvement in the writing and better mysteries.

For Nancy Drew Diaries, however, the series seems to be stuck on one topic - sabotage!  A Script for Danger is the 10th book in this series, and while I applaud S&S for finally giving readers some longer stories (these books, for the most part, have ranged from 150 - 180 pages, which is considerably more than the prior series, whose books averaged anywhere from 120 - 130 pages, if that - yet, with font that is rather large, the amount of story is probably about the same), they need some writers and ideas that go beyond the simplistic plot of "who's out to get me."  At least the Hardy Boys' re-boot has provided some various styles of mysteries - from kidnappings, to hidden treasurers, to theft.

And speaking of Hardy Boys, the plot of this book bears an uncanny resemblance to a recent Hardy Boys' title, Deception on the Set.  In that story, a film is being made in the boys' hometown of Bayport, but someone is sabotaging the stunts, trying to shut the film down.  In this mystery, a film is being made in Nancy's hometown of River Heights, but someone is sabotaging the shoots, trying to shut the film down.  (sigh)

And if it weren't bad enough that the story seems to be "borrowed" from another series, so does the cover art.  Erin McGuire, who has been providing cover art for this new series of Nancy Drew books, also provided covers for a series entitled Saranomal, which was about a young girl who developed the ability to see and speak with the dead.  One of those titles found Sara walking down the boardwalk, buildings on either side and lights in the background.  Just ... like ... the cover ... to ... this ... book ... (sigh)

If I'm sighing a lot, it's because my hopes are slowly dwindling that Simon & Schuster will ever realize that they have a very profitable property on their hands, if they would just treat it with some care instead of churning out regurgitated stories and art and sticking the Nancy Drew brand on it, figuring the name alone with sell it.

Now, that's not to say the story was entirely bad.  There were actually a number of characters within the tale, and the author provided several possibilities for the culprit (although, anyone who has read mysteries long enough will easily pick up on the clues in the first couple of chapters to know who is behind the sabotage).  There was definite potential with the story and the characters, and had the author been allowed to flesh out the tale more and perhaps provide a 200+ page story with smaller font, it might have been a more satisfying read.  Plus, I was surprised by the author's push to show George as the constant muncher, while Bess was more reserved with her eating habits.  Completely out of character, even for this new series of books.

(And the fact that I had to shell out $6.99 for a book with only 176 pages of large-font story, while I pay the same price for the Model: Undercover mystery books, which have 300+ pages of story in smaller font - thus, providing more bang for the buck!)

The next book is solicited as The Red Slippers.  The description on Amazon lists the synopsis as - - you guessed it - - sabotage!  (sigh)

RATING:  3 regurgitated diary pages out of 10 for simply keeping the Nancy Drew brand going...

No comments:

Post a Comment