Back Before Darkby Tim Shoemaker
Praise for Code of Silence:
“Deliberate, plausible, and gritty whodunit.” –Booklist Starred Review
A detour through the park leads Cooper, Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk straight into a trap, and Gordy is abducted!
For the kidnapper, it’s all a game, a way to settle an old score, with no one getting hurt. But evil/b>/b>
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When a kidnapper abducts Cooper’s cousin—under his nose—in broad daylight, Cooper is racked with guilt and survivor syndrome. He had missed the trap, and muffed the license plate after Gordy was taken. Now with his junior high school friends, Hiro, and Lunk, he is determined to help the police track down the kidnapper and free Gordy. However, as the hours and days pass, hope wanes. Still Cooper soldiers on, taking matters into his own hands when the police seem too slow. With time winding down, Cooper formulates a plan to flush the kidnapper out. But what will it cost him? His friendships, his reputation, his life? Tim Shoemaker keeps the pedal to the floor with this high action, nailbiter. Back Before Dark has smart dialogue and four interesting characters as friends. Three are from church homes and Hiro, the lone female representative in particular models friendship, faith and a cool, calculating disposition. The author includes a good moral analysis of the character’s behaviors a the end of the book along with excellent discussion questions. In addition, the author provides a brief but excellent primer on how to avoid being abducted, and what to do if you are abducted. Must reading for parents and children alike.
3.5 Stars 'Back Before Dark' is a thrilling young adult Christian mystery that follows Cooper and his friends Hiro and Lunk in the aftermath of his best friend and cousin, Gordy's, abduction. One night on their way home after riding their bikes into town, Gordy is abducted outside the park. Cooper, Hiro, and Lunk all try to get to him in time to save him, but it's too late - and Gordy's gone. Soon the hours are turning into days, and there's no new information or clues on Gordy's disappearance. It feels like everyone has given up hope - except for Cooper. While the kidnapper is reveling in the chaos he has created and the police have all but given up, Cooper has concocted a plan to try to save his cousin. Only now Cooper needs to be saved himself, if there's ever going to be hope for him or Gordy to come out of this nightmare alive. This was a really great mystery that was full of twists and turns. It's told from a third person point of view, and varies between several different characters throughout the book - from Cooper, Lunk, and Hiro to Gordy and even the kidnapper. It's interesting to see the thoughts, feelings, and happenings through various character's eyes, so that made this book original from others out there. I loved trying to piece together the mystery before the rest of the characters did, but the author didn't make it easy for me. There were a lot of twists and unexpected events to keep the reader guessing and on their toes - which also made me eagerly read as fast as I could to see what would happen next. The plot was very fast paced and the varying points of view really made an interesting impact on the book, which I thought gave it a depth that other novels don't have. The writing was well done and flowed effortlessly. Even though the point of view changed often, it didn't confuse the reader - if anything, it just made the mystery all the more exciting and realistic. This is a great mystery novel that also touches on deeper topics like friendship, family, courage, and doing what's right. Highly recommended for fans of YA fiction as well as mystery fans. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
"Back Before Dark" proves you don't need witches, magic, or fantasy to have an exciting story. It is an adventure that draws the reader in and makes them feel like it could happen to them. It is a great continuation of the previous book, "Code of Silence" but both books stand well on their own. I recommend it for the 15 year old and younger set.