As the title and cover intimate, this book is more about a "western" theme tale and less about mystery. Which is disappointing, because to date, these Hardy Boys Adventures have actually been better reads than the Nancy Drew Diaries. I suppose I was only fooling myself to think that Simon & Schuster would actually maintain a level of readability with these books. In the last decade, S&S seems to have cared less about quality and more about just putting something out to keep the brand alive (although, at this point, these two series are more vegetables on life support than actually alive).
At this point, to be quite honest, I am buying the hardcover, dust-jacketed Hardy Boys book merely because back in the '80s, I missed out on getting the hc/dj Wanderer books published by S&S, which sell for a pretty penny these days. So I figured, I wasn't going to miss out this go around (since neither the Hardy Boys, nor Nancy Drew, have been published in hardback since those days). I have to wonder how the sales are doing on the hardbacks, since I never see them in stores, and the only way to get them is special order them through the stores or buy them online (through Amazon, as I do). And $17.99 for a 122-page story is, quite frankly, not worth the price any more.
The next book is listed as The Madman of Black Bear Mountain, so I'm hoping it will be more of a mystery and (hopefully!) be longer than a mere 122 pages.
RATING: 5 bucking broncos out of 10 for, at least, providing some entertaining characterization of Joe Hardy and his love for westerns.