Secrets Can Kill by Carolyn Keene

Mystery Book

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

4 Stars

Illustrated book cover shows a serious young woman and man in casual 1980s attire, and a car burning in flames behind themSecrets Can Kill by Carolyn Keene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description: Nancy poses as a student and goes undercover to investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High—which leads to greater danger.

Opening my thoughts with a book quote: “I don’t want to fight with you, Carla, but since you asked, yes, I can fight my own battles—and I usually win.”

So declares the teen detective in this first book in The Nancy Drew Files, a spin-off from the original Nancy Drew mystery series. I remember getting a kick out of several of these ’80s and ’90s YA novels when I read them back in my adolescence, and I still liked this first book this time around, my liking now seasoned with a dash of nostalgia.

Sure, Nancy makes a few mistakes and misjudgments along the way, and it makes little sense that she uses her real name for an undercover job. But her grit comes through in this adventurous mystery, with its mix of predictable elements and satisfying intrigue. It’s a quick read complete with high-speed car chases and deadly explosions (the plurality of these events added by me), and yeah, there’s an “exciting” little romance of the rushed and shallow variety. ‘Cause, hey, what kind of opener to a thrilling YA spin-off would it have been without hot characters and some sudden kissing? Heh heh heh…

And I do believe this series served as my introduction to cliffhanger chapter endings, back in the day. Cliffhangers with exclamation points!

The series has got 123 more books in it, so I plan to revisit more of them and try some others for the first time. Let’s see (or rediscover) what more of the writers under the collective pseudonym “Carolyn Keene” have got—exclamation point!

Here’s my review of the next book in the series, Deadly Intent.

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