Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash

Despite being one of the most cringe-inducing Sammy Keyes books, it also ends up being one of the most iconic books. There are two unforgettable Sammy moments mid-book that I’ll get to later in the review.

The Summary

Sammy scares someone to death on the Senior Highrise fire escape. Literally. I’m surprised this book wasn’t called something like “Sammy Keyes and the Heights of Death.” It would have been fun to make puns about dying at a high altitude, or about causing literal heart attacks. But I’ll get back to the point. The man Sammy kills asks her to get rid of a large stash of cash. If you know anything about Sammy and her financial situation, you’d know she does the exact opposite.

In school world we are in summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean there are dozens of run-ins with Casey, Billy, Heather and more. Marissa’s cousins are holding an annual Fourth of July pool party, and everyone is invited! Plus, we find out something surprising about Danny…

The Analysis

The McKenze pool bash has the most iconic moments in Sammy Keyes history. The first is that Sammy, after months (and books) of denying havng interest in Casey, literally swoons at the sight of him at the pool party. The second iconic scene is when Sammy thinks she is saving Marissa from drowning, but actually saves Heather from drowning instead. Both are great, satisfying moments. Both are huge turning points in the relationships of the series.

From this point onward, Sammy and Casey’s feelings are mutual. And though the life-saving moment hardly keeps Heather from hating Sammy, the interactions do change. Heather isn’t as outrightly evil toward Sammy specifically. For the rest of the series it slowly, slowly transforms into a more positive relationship.

The only true negative portrayal in this book is of Danny. If you didn’t think he was two-timing snake before, you do now! I’ll leave you hanging as to what he does that’s so shockingly awful in this book.

As far as the afore mentioned cringing goes, there’s a lot of it. Sammy is not her typical observant, adept self in this book. It’s hard to take seriously that Sammy would go around spending the mystery of money of a man who was obviously involved with a bad crowd. It’s also hard to believe she gets forgiven so easily once everyone figures out how badly she has messed up.

It is fun, however, to see her sleuthing around the Heavenly and the Highrise. Neither place gets explored enough. Plus we get weird scenes with Mrs. Wedgewood, who has been a surprising absence in most books since her big introduction in Search for Snake Eyes. I thought she played a bigger role in the series, but I remembered wrong…my frequent re-reads of Snake Eyes obviously skewed my memory.

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