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Frank & Joe Hardy are the teenage sons of famous private detective Fenton Hardy & his wife Laura. Together, (& sometimes from help with family & friends) they investigate all sorts of crimes & strange occurences....
The Apeman's Secret was published in the US in 1980 & was the sixty second in the series. The book first appeared in the UK in 1981 & was numbered 60 when it was published by Armada.
Frank & Joe, along with lots of other Americans, are viewers of the popular "Apeman" programme. However, someone is impersonating the Apeman character & turning up at random locations causing trouble & damaging property. Is it a publicity stunt? Could it be someone with a grudge against the programme or against the comic which is where the character first started out? Frank & Joe start to look into things at the request of Micky Rudd, editor & publisher of Star Comix in which the Apeman character first appeared.
Manwhile they've have also been asked to look into the disappearance of teenager Sue Linwood. Her father believes she has joined a cult, the Children Of Noah & is worried about her safety. He also can't be sure that she's actually joined the cult or has left home and gone somewhere else.
Frank & Joe work on both cases, feeling that, at many times, they're under observation or are being followed. However, events come to a head when they find themselves at the mercy of armed guards......
The usual supporting characters who appear in this book are:-
+ Fenton Hardy
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Biff Hooper
+ Tony Prito
+ Iola Morton
+ Callie Shaw
+ Jack Wayne
+ Chief Ezra Collig
After "The Pentagon Spy" this book comes as rather a let down. You can't help but wonder whether this particular ghost writer has used Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple (which came to an abrupt end with mass suicide in 1978) & "The Incredible Hulk" (which debutted in the US in the same year) as inspirations for the Children of Noah and for "The Apeman" character & show.
The Cult plot thread & the Apeman plot thread don't gel together that well & I didn't find either of them particularly that interesting. The Apeman plot just seemed to be too close to The Incredible Hulk for my liking & it comes across almost in cartoon fashion rather than anything serious.
The Cultists are treated in a stereotypical cultist fashion. They act suspiciously, get physical when verbally challenged &, on the whole, are rather faceless characters who just seem to be included to provide an alternative plot thread to the Apeman angle. The explanation of the cult's "activities" which comes at the end seems rather basic & clichéd but perhaps that's how the author thought it was best to explain things to the target audience without going into too much detail.
The language used in the book is accessible for the target age range &, as usual, the book is written in the third person. Descriptions of locations & characters are adequate but are not anything out of the ordinary. Some of the dialogue also comes across as a bit "Scooby-Doo / Dastardly & Muttley" with Aunt Gertrude coming out with "drat!" at one point in the book.
None of the "guest" characters are that memorable &, as I picked up the book to start reading it, I realised that I couldn't remember a single thing about it from reading it when I was a child. Having read it again I can now see why. It's badly plotted, poor paced & fails to engage or hold the interest of the reader. Not one to introduce kids to the series with.
At the time of writing the book is available in hardback for £4.26 from Amazon Prime. New & used paperbacks are available from 1p upwards.
# Hardcover: 192 pages
# Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (21 April 2005)
# ISBN-10: 044843699X
# ISBN-13: 978-0448436999
The Apeman's Secret is the 62nd book in the series of Hardy Boys books written for teenage boys. It is the 4th book published by Simon & Schuster following their acquisition of the publishing rights to the Hardy Boys books in 1979. As a result, this is sometimes referred to as the 4th Hardy Boys book.
The Hardy Boys are brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, sons of supersleuth Fenton Hardy. They are teenage boys who fight crime and mystery in their 'spare time.' This often involves a heightened level of danger, and as the boys are seen as iconic figures by teenagers who read them, it is important to regard it as a work of fiction and not think that all teenage boys can jet off around the world to bust international spy rings. This would normally be left to the professionals.
This particular tale features two crimes. This becomes a bit of a trend to increase the excitement and give a bit of difference to the stories we have had before. Usually, the stories have some kind of link to them. This time, Frank and Joe are asked to investigate the strange event of a comic book creator's character seemingly coming to life. The Apeman is a fictional character, but it appears that someone has recreated the character in real life and is causing havoc and damage. The boys are also investigating a missing person who is linked to an extremist religious cult, and this plot does twist and turn a bit in reaching its conclusion.
I liked the way the ghost writer for this book managed to give us an interesting plot that is constantly doing something other then plodding along with a predictable ending. The books are all published under the pseudonym Franklin W Dixon but are written by ghost writers, and this particular ghost writer has done very well. The characters are diverse and interesting, and the scenarios believable. I enjoyed reading this one when I was in the target age range, and also more recently.
The Apeman's Secret is currently available from amazon for a fair price.
Book Series: The Hardy Boys