“Borrowing” from the past: The Hardys saved the president himself from a kidnap attempt in The Billion Dollar Ransom (#73). That was a billion-dollar ransom in 1982. Think of what they’d get for the president’s kid in 2008 (or 1998, in the case of this book).
Jamal Hawkins is ... : An ice climber and the Hardys’ personal pilot. Now no longer do Frank and Joe have to pay someone to be at their beck and call as their pilot and friend. They can just have the black man do it instead.
For those who are curious: Joe’s event is the snowcross (think motocross on snowmobiles), while Frank competes in the ice climb. Joe wins his event, while Frank finishes third (Jamal is second). They were scheduled to compete in the sky-surfing, with Frank doing stunts and Joe as his cameraman, but they skipped it to go skiing with the president’s son.
Inspiration for the Future: In the Extreme Danger, the first book in the new Hardy Boys series (Undercover Brothers), Frank and Joe participate in the summer X-Games — no, wait, sorry: the Big Air Games. Come to think of it, there’s a slight similarity between the titles.
Opinions: There’s something incredibly wrong about Frank and Joe using “hip” slang. Just calling each other “bro” is ... creepy. Forearm bashes are inappropriate touching in Bayport, I believe, yet they do it anyway.
And what’s the use of being in the Winter X Games — sorry, Max Games, forgot — if you can’t get the chicks? The brothers get no attention from females, not even fellow competitors (which is rectified in Extreme Danger, by the way). Iola and Callie don’t even show up. Frank and Joe end up with ... the president’s son. Oops.
Also, for future reference: it’s tough to sell xtreme athletes as perpetrators of an intricate kidnapping plot. Outside the movie XXX, xtreme athletes just aren’t that motivated. Insert marijuana joke here. Weirdly, a friend of the conspirators is “questioned” by agents, but it’s never resolved whether her protestations of innocence are true or rather a dangerous felon lying to save herself. Since this is a Hardy Boys book, the former is more likely.
Frank and Joe get medals from the president himself, which is more than they got when they rescued the president from a kidnapping attempt. One thing I’m sure of: unlike some proud mothers, Laura would have no trouble picking out what to wear for a high-level medal ceremony. Her husband and sons have been through it so many times before (like, for instance, in The Ghost at Skeleton Rock, #37, when they received an award from the president of Cuba), that she probably has an outfit in the closet just waiting. And she probably wore it the week before, too.
Grade: C. Major demerits for the hip slang, bro.