Saturday, May 24, 2008

Slam Dunk Sabotage (#140)

The first in my series of reviews of Hardy Boys Digests, which originally appeared on my previous site, The Fagan Freehold:

So in Slam Dunk Sabotage by Franklin W. Dixon

Why? Well, it was cheap at the Green Valley Book Fair. I mean, cheap. And I like Hardy Boys books —

Hardy Boys. Yes, really. I can’t explain. We all have our quirks. Yes, that’s a fairly odd one, but some people paint their bodies weird colors, then pay a lot more money to watch a sporting event. Those people show up on national TV. I think I can afford to indulge this oddity in private.

Anyway. Hardy Boy books. There’s not really any point in reviewing these books — they defy rational analysis, what with their 1-D characters and stock plots. (Well, the Hardy Boys, tools of the establishment, don’t really defy anything, come to think of it. Except when they’re told to keep their nose out of a case. Then they can’t wait to defy, defy, defy, regardless whether the person warning them be a cop or criminal. They might listen to their father, Fenton, but in that case, he’ll generally get captured or near-fatally wounded for the hubris of trying to rein in his children of destiny.)

But anyway, here’s Slam Dunk Sabotage:

Plot: Someone’s trying to keep the Bayport Bombers from winning the conference championship in basketball, and they won’t stop at violence.

“Borrowing” from the past: Frank and Joe don’t play basketball as often as they do other sports, oddly enough. (The Hardys are five-sport athletes, in case you didn’t know, a feat that’s somewhere between groin-strainingly difficult and impossible.) They played hoops in The Voodoo Plot (#72). Then, they won the area basketball championship over Hopkinsville.

Jamal Hawkins is ...: Frank and Joe’s friend, but he’s also a player on the rival Rocky River Rockets (what an awful name). Hey, what a surprise — the black kid plays basketball!

Opinions: There’s a decent mystery here about who wants to sabotage the Bayport Bombers, even if the suspects are fairly obvious. (Then again, what was I expecting? This isn’t exactly a thriller with a twist at the end.) The plot is decent enough, combining high school rivalries with a plausible amount of teenage violence. When the Hardys are around, though, plausible amounts of violence are relative; Biff gets dosed with rat poison, after all.

Whoever Franklin W. Dixon was for this book, his (or her) knowledge of basketball was abysmal, at best. Unforgivable, really — basketball isn’t exactly an obscure sport, and the editor should have picked up on something even if the author was clueless.

But it is impressive that there is a great deal of detail on the Bayport Bombers’ drive for the conference championship — usually, sports is a distraction, but here it’s a goal for the Hardys. Of course, even that’s fishy. It’s unlikely there would be a playoff game between two schools for the conference championship unless the championship was necessary to advance to another level of the postseason; the state basketball tournament, for instance. Otherwise, tiebreakers would be used, or the the tied teams would be declared co-champions. The interrupted game would be replayed from the moment the lights went out rather than in toto, if the game would have been delayed any longer than it took to restore power.

Grade: C+. More athletes should try rat-poison laced sports drink. It’s strychnine-riffic! Besides, it can’t be any worse than Gatorade.

No comments:

Post a Comment