Back Before Dark

( 3 )


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 has a way of escalating, and ...

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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 has a way of escalating, and once his identity is discovered, the rules change.

Despite the best of police efforts, the hours tick by without a clue or a ransom call, leaving everyone to their own fears. Gordy is gone. Cooper descends deeper into a living nightmare, imagining the worst for his best friend and cousin. Hours stretch into days, and talks of a memorial service begin to surface. But Cooper still feels his cousin is alive and develops a reckless plan, changing all the rules. Now the one who set out to rescue his friend needs to be rescued himself. Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness means going in after them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the second Code of Silence novel (and sequel to Code of Silence), Shoemaker offers another tale of mystery, suspense, and the peril that can accompany loyalty. Friends Cooper, Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk think they are doing the right thing when they try to help someone near the park. But the good deed results in Gordy's being abducted. When the police are stymied by the crime, Cooper and the other kids do their own investigating, and Cooper's powerful motivation to save his cousin Gordy leads him into a terrifying predicament. The author largely succeeds at building tension and creating truly harrowing situations, though several repetitive scenes and an abundance of descriptive detail add some extraneous bulk and occasionally slow the pace of the central plot line. Readers may guess the kidnapper's identity (aided by some foreshadowing) but they will still be on the edge of their seats anticipating the fate of Cooper and Gordy right till the book's end. Shoemaker gives the proceedings a moral grounding as characters pray, question why God lets bad things happen, and ponder the true meaning of friendship. An author's note and questions for discussion also focus on these themes. Ages 8-12. Agent: Terry Burns, Hartline Literary Agency. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—A group of four friends-Cooper, Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk-is quickly reduced to three when Gordy is kidnapped from a park, even as Cooper and Hiro attempt to save him. Cooper is consumed with guilt over his inability to catch up with the kidnapper's van and the boys take the rescue efforts into their own hands. Feeling that the police are not exploring the most obvious options, Cooper starts investigating local sex offenders whom Hiro located in public records. Lunk supports Cooper's plans, including those that break the law. Equally devoted but more cautious, Hiro challenges Cooper's ideas in an effort to save him from dangerous behavior. Cooper wavers between anger and sadness while holding out hope that Gordy is still alive, despite the town's plans to hold a memorial service for him. The story reaches a climax when Cooper hatches a secret rescue plan that could get him killed. Though references to Code of Silence (Zondervan, 2012) are made, readers do not need knowledge of it to enjoy this nail-biting mystery. The plot is interesting though too drawn out to recommend to reluctant readers. The characters are believable; the dialogue rings true; and the messages about safety, family, and friendship are relevant without being heavy-handed.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310734994
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Publication date: 3/19/2013
  • Series: A Code of Silence NovelSeries Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 576,775
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Shoemaker is a national speaker and author of eleven books, including Code of Silence, Back Before Dark, and the third in the series, Below the Surface. His nonfiction titles include Super Husband, Super Dad … You Can Be the Hero Your Family Needs. Tim has three grown sons and has been happily married for over thirty years. Tim has also been working with youth on a volunteer basis for over twenty years—and still loves it. Connect with Tim on Facebook:

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2015

    When a kidnapper abducts Cooper¿s cousin¿under his nose¿in broad

    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. 

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 Stars 'Back Before Dark' is a thrilling young adult Christi

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    "Back Before Dark" proves you don't need witches, magi

    "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.

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