I purchased this set of books on a whim--the description sounded like good potential for the ridiculous, a la Christopher Cool. And while they're nowhere near Chris Cool levels of amazing, they're pretty campy. They're also extremely short--I can put one away in about 35 minutes. It was written as a Canadian series (a bit unusual) with eight volumes published in 1965, along with what are believed to be eight ghost volumes. Each title is in the format of Brad Forrest's Location Adventure. New York Adventure deals with heroin smuggling/the UN (yes, really), Yucatan Adventure is about Latin American revolutionaries, and London Adventure is a classic Cold War/defected/kidnapped scientist plot.
The front of each book has what sounds bizarrely like a brief bio for a company newsletter, which I believe I must reproduce in full.
"Bradley Raymond Forrest was born in Ottawa but he grew up in Toronto where his father's newspaper empire has its headquarters. Mr. Forrest owns a farm in Quebec and a Montreal house, so during the holidays, Brad learned to speak French fluently.
He is taking political science at the University of Toronto, and he plays hockey, golf, and football; he is keen on skiing and small-car [as opposed to large-car?] racing and, as a flier, he has his multi-engine ticket. Hunting and skeet shooting have made him a fair shot, and mountain climbing, skin diving and riding have kept him very fit. Although Mr. Forrest is very wealthy, he believes that his son should earn his holidays, so Brad has done all sorts of jobs in the newspaper business when not engaged in disentangling himself from his many fascinating and sometimes [no, always, trust me] dangerous adventures."
I mean, really. The awkward changes in tense, the random punctuation, the never-ending sentences . . .
- Brad has NOT done all sorts of jobs in the newspaper business. He has been sent to multiple locations to do such things, but inevitably ends up involved in international intrigue. Furthermore, his dad's job activities are described more as a diplomat than a news tycoon.
- There's never any explanation of the non-existence of Brad's mother. I assume she's dead, but it's not stated in any of these three volumes.
- Why is it almost never a dead FATHER? I guess it ruins the whole "must be rich enough to go on constant expensive adventures" thing.
- The wealthy blond athlete is in a frat. I know you're shocked. There's just as many mentions of him doing school work as there are of him doing newspaper work. AKA none.
- Girls are not mentioned AT ALL in these books. A little weird, considering he's supposed to be 18, good-looking, great guy, tons of money. While they're short (younger audience?), there's plenty of violence (older audience?), so I'm not sure why.
- He also doesn't have a chum. Instead, he has a different secondary helper character in every book. So another oddity. Brad Forrest has issues with close relationships?
- I swear, this boy kids kidnapped/held captive more than Nancy Drew. We're talking multiple times per book.