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Telling the Truth Could Get Them Killed.
Remaining Silent Could Be Worse.
When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives. After being seen by the criminals—who may also be cops—Cooper makes everyone promise never to reveal what they have seen. Telling the truth could kill them. But remaining ...
Telling the Truth Could Get Them Killed.
Remaining Silent Could Be Worse.
When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives. After being seen by the criminals—who may also be cops—Cooper makes everyone promise never to reveal what they have seen. Telling the truth could kill them. But remaining silent means an innocent man takes the fall, and a friend never receives justice.
Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous?
The three friends, trapped in a code of silence, must face the consequences of choosing right or wrong when both options have their price.
It seems like a wise plan but, immediately, lies must be told. They don’t like lying or how it makes them feel, but soon they are hiding the truth from parents, teachers and police. They begin to wonder if they can still trust each other, though the teenagers both protect and stand up for each other. One boy is especially concerned about what the lies are doing to their character and if personal safety is a reason to not tell the truth. Themes of loyalty and courage in friendship abound, all tested by the corrosiveness of lies.
Action is plentiful throughout the book: bike chases, bold moves, cover-ups and sting operations initiated by the kids, all keeping them just out of reach of the enemy. Parents should know that there is some sneaking out of the house, though not often because these kids seem to have a lot free time, are trusted, and have resources at their disposal.
In the end, facing the truth is almost more frightening than confronting the enemy. While most teens will enjoy the action and tension of the life-threatening tasks Cooper, Gordy and Hiro take on, parents can be assured that good relationships between families, friends and community abound. “Code of Silence” is a tense tale with real consequences and a nice heart. There is some promise at the end for another adventure and I want to read it.
"He's moving in for the kill, Coop," Gordy said.
Cooper didn't budge. C'mon, you big moron. He tapped the joystick. One more step.
The muscled fighter advanced. Swinging the control stick, Cooper drummed the punch and kick buttons on the arcade video game.
"Yes!" Gordy thumped Cooper on the back. "Nice move!"
Staggering backwards, the hulking villain wobbled and teetered.
With a whir of the forward control knob, Cooper smacked the buttons in a memorized sequence. "Say bye-bye, big guy." The stunned champion dropped face-down.
"How do you do that?" Gordy said, clamping both hands on Cooper's shoulders and giving him a little shake. "You've got all these secret moves and combinations."
Wiping slick hands on his cargo shorts, Cooper turned to face his cousin and smiled.
"I wish I could do that!" Gordy jumped and casually slapped the "Order Here" sign hanging from the ceiling.
Cooper glanced up at the swinging sign. And I wish I could do that. Dozens of finger smudges bordered the bottom edge—but none of them belonged to Cooper. Not that he hadn't tried when he thought nobody was looking.
Gordy brushed past him and tapped the joystick. "Just once I'd like to drop that thug."
Cooper looked up at him and smiled. "Drop a quarter in the slot, and I'll teach you."
Hiroko Yakimoto stood from the table next to them and closed her English book. "It looks like we won't get back to studying anymore tonight. Time for me to go." She slid her books into her backpack and wiped the table with a napkin. "I don't see why you two love playing that stupid old game every time we come here."
"Stupid?" Cooper stepped over to the table and picked up his monster shake. "The game is a classic."
"Classic waste of time." She smiled slightly and raised one eyebrow. "You're both thirteen years old, right?"
Cooper clutched at his chest. "Ow, owwww, Hiro, that really hurt."
"It's nothing but pointless violence."
Cooper acted like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Pointless?" Lifting the plastic lid off the quart-sized cup, Cooper stirred the chocolate shake. "If you'd ever make the effort to check this out, you'd see this game is all about the forces of good fighting the forces of evil in mortal combat." He pulled the straw out, slid it across his tongue, and stuck it back in the cup. "If you think about it, the Bible is full of this kind of stuff."
Hiro tossed her dark braid over one shoulder. "Oh, I get it now. Gee, maybe they should buy a few of these games for church."
Gordy snickered and grabbed a handful of fries.
Frank Mustacci shuffled around the corner from the ordering counter. Something about the owner of Frank 'n Stein's Diner always made Cooper smile. If Frank grew a white beard to match the hair rimming his balding head, he could get a job as a Santa in any mall. "Don't let these boys give you a hard time, Hiro. And tell your mom she can have her old job back any time she wants. I miss her around here."
Hiro smiled and nodded. Sometimes Cooper thought Frank treated Hiro like she was his own granddaughter.
"I ever show you this?" Frank held out a worn 4"x 6" photo with half a dozen tack holes at the top.
A glance confirmed exactly what Cooper expected. The picture taken nearly two years ago at Frank 'n Stein's Halloween party. And yes, he had shown it before.
Frank stood front and center wearing his white apron over a cheap Santa suit. Hiro's mom stood to his right, dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono. Hiro stood in front of Frank, swimming in her dad's leather Chicago Police jacket ... her rich black hair woven into a single braid. Her smile lit up the entire picture—even though it had been the roughest year of her life.
Gordy stood to Frank's left. His white-blonde hair got washed out by the flash and was way shorter than he wore it now. Cooper stood next to him, hands tucked in his jeans. Both of them too cool for costumes. Except for Cooper's darker hair, they could have passed for brothers. Same lean build. Same height. Dead even. Eye-to-eye.
But that was before Gordy's growth spurt. Cooper was still waiting for his, which is why Cooper wouldn't mind so much if that picture accidentally fell into the fryer someday.
Frank tried to get a group photo at the last Halloween party. Thankfully Cooper avoided getting in the picture by being the designated photographer. He didn't want to look like Gordy's little brother.
"I love that picture, Frank," Hiro said.
"Me too." He slid the picture in his pocket. "You kids stay and finish your game." He held up a ring of keys and shook it like sleigh bells. "I just gotta lock the front door while I clean up."
"Coop." Hiro stepped into Cooper's line of sight. "I think we should leave."
Her playful teasing look had disappeared. Something else seeped into its place. Cooper stared, trying to figure her out. Sometimes her mood could swing faster than a punch from the fighter on the video game.
"Frank needs us out of here," she said. She nodded her head toward the door. Her eyes pleaded.
Frank wiped a greasy handprint off the front door glass. "Nonsense. You won't be in my way. I like a little company. You know that. And I have to put up Halloween decorations anyway." Frank turned the key in the lock and dropped the keys in his pocket. "Mind if I hit some of the lights?" He doused the lights to the eating area without waiting for an answer. "Otherwise somebody's liable to pull up to the drive-thru." He flipped over the CLOSED sign next to the door and nodded toward the windows. "The neon gives plenty of light."
BURGERS, FRIES, HOTDOGS, ITALIAN SAUSAGE & BEEF, and MONSTER SHAKES. Every window featured a different illuminated sign. Together they splashed enough colored light around the room to see clearly.
Frank opened a trash receptacle, pulled out the plastic liner, and twisted its neck as if it were a chicken headed for the broiler. "I'll be cleaning up in the kitchen. Call me when you're ready to go." He grinned at Gordy. "Or if you need more fries." Trash bag in tow, Frank squeezed through a narrow pass-thru in the front counter and lowered the hinged counter top back in place before he disappeared into the kitchen.
Hiro stepped closer. "Can I borrow your cell? Mine's dead."
He didn't have to check his pocket. He knew exactly where he'd left it. "Sorry. It's at home."
Gordy slapped a quarter on the table and slid several fries into his mouth. "I'm ready to learn those secret moves."
Drawing a cool mouthful of the chocolate shake through the straw, Cooper glanced at Hiro.
"Let's go." Hiro looked at Cooper and mouthed the words. "Please." Her eyes added the exclamation point.
Cooper set the cup on the table. "Why the big rush?"
Hiro folded her arms across her chest. "You wouldn't understand."
Gordy laughed and half choked on the fries. Doubling over, he coughed hard to clear his throat.
Hiro glared at him. Her mouth formed into a tiny line so tight her lips nearly disappeared.
Still wheezing a bit, Gordy dipped a fry into the ketchup and used it like a brush, painting a face on a napkin.
Cooper studied Hiro's face in the candied light of the neon signs. "Try me."
Hiro pulled a white sweatshirt over her head. "I got a bad feeling. Like we should go."
"Ahhh," Gordy winked at Cooper. "One of those 'women's intermission' things."
"Intuition, Gordy," Cooper said. "Women's intuition." He felt the hairs prickle on his arms. She'd had feelings like this before. He didn't understand it, but he wasn't about to underestimate it either.
Hiro slung her backpack over one shoulder. She strode to the front door, rattled it, and turned toward the ordering counter. "Frank?"
Gordy straightened up and cleared his throat. "What are you doing?"
"Leaving." Hiro didn't even turn to look his way. "You two can save the world from the forces of evil."
"It seems to me," Gordy flipped his napkin upside-down and carefully peeled back the paper, leaving a twin ketchup face imprint on the surface of the tabletop, "someone is acting like a little kid here."
Hiro glanced at the smiling ketchup face and nodded. "Exactly."
Gordy shrugged, mounted the stool in front of the arcade game, and dropped the quarter in the slot.
"Forget it, Gordy," Cooper said. "I'm not letting her bike home alone in the dark."
"What about my quarter?"
Cooper hustled toward Hiro. "Stay and play if you want. I'll teach you the moves next time."
Hiro glanced up at him, but didn't say a word. Standing directly below a poster-sized picture of Frank 'n' Stein's two owners, Frank Mustacci and Joseph Stein, she rubbed her hands up and down her arms.
"Hey, Frank. We're all done," Cooper called, peering into the fully lit kitchen. A wheeled metal bucket with a mop propped in it stood to one side of the preparation table, the floor all around it glossy with water. The stainless steel flat-top grill, fryer, and steam table gleamed in the overhead lights. From where he stood, Cooper could see through the kitchen to the back stairs leading to the second floor.
Hiro stepped in front of him and played with her braid the way she often did when she was thinking or worried about something. In this case it was probably both.
"Maybe he's up in his office."
Cooper tried to read her face. "How bad of a feeling are we talking here? Like bad bad, or just kind of bad?"
Spooky. He rubbed the goosebumps down on his forearms. For a moment Cooper looked over her head into the lifeless kitchen, listening for any noise from the floor above them.
"Frank," he called. "We're ready to go." Nothing. Like the dead air between stations on the radio dial. No noise, no static. A disconnected silence.
"Where is he?" Hiro's voice dropped to a whisper. Pacing along the counter that separated them from the kitchen, she stopped in front of the eight foot mascot—the legendary Frankenstein monster. Holding a Chicago-style hot dog in one hand and a monster shake in the other, the green-skinned beast sported a goofy grin.
Leaning to one side to get a better view, Cooper scanned the entire length of the kitchen. The back door stood open a crack. A clear plastic bag jammed with garbage sat just inside it with its top tied into a knot. "He must be taking stuff out to the dumpster." Cooper jerked his thumb towards the rear exit. "I'll grab my backpack. We'll slip through the kitchen and—"
WHAM! The back door flew open and Frank Mustacci stumbled through like he'd been pushed. He toppled over the bag of garbage and landed on his hands and knees.
"Stay down!" someone shouted.
Two uniformed men burst in from the shadows. One wore a clown mask—the other a slick-haired latex Elvis face. The clown pointed a can of spray paint at the security camera by the back door and blackened the lens.
Instinctively Cooper dropped out of sight behind the counter, pulling Hiro down with him. Adrenalin surged through his body. He glanced over at Gordy who was still sitting wide-eyed in front of the arcade game, like he was bolted in place. He was just out of the line of vision from the kitchen.
"What do I do?" Gordy mouthed the words.
Cooper didn't dare speak, but he shouted with his eyes. Move! Hiro motioned frantically for Gordy to hide. Gordy's eyes, wild with panic, darted around the room looking for some way of escape. Without a sound he slid off the stool and crawled under the nearest table.
Cooper licked dry lips and leaned in close to Hiro. Crouching, Cooper pressed his back against the only barrier between him and the kitchen. Had the men seen them? Cooper's heart punched out a warning in his chest.
The door slammed shut.
"Don't try anything stupid, old man. Do exactly what we say, and you won't get hurt." The man's voice sounded deep and strong. Like a DJ.
Frank groaned. "What do you want?"
Cooper could hear fear in Frank's voice.
"What do you think?" Mr. DJ said. "Empty the register."
A loud thump and another groan.
Cooper flinched, imagining poor Frank doubled over in pain. He heard a faint whimper escape Hiro's lips.
"Okay, okay," Frank gasped. "I'll cooperate. Put the gun away."
A gun—and they'd be coming his way. Cooper looked for a way to escape. The windows? They were big enough, but he'd need something solid to break through them. All the chairs and tables were securely attached to the black and white tiled floor—except the metal stool by the arcade game.
"All right, hotdog man," the other man said, clearly getting closer. His voice sounded permanently hoarse, like he'd been lead vocal for a heavy metal band for too many years. "You heard what the boss said. Keep moving, or I'll boot you again."
Cooper plastered himself against the counter. We're trapped—and there's no way out!
"That's it, old man. Nice and easy."
DJ voice was obviously the one in charge, and he sounded way too close.
Gordy pulled his lanky frame into a ball and stopped moving. Barely a second later, the register drawer clanged open.
The hair on Cooper's arms tingled again. He could almost feel the men on the other side of the counter. For a moment his mind looped frantically. Dear God. Dear God. Dear God—please!
"We'll take it to go," the man ordered.
"Put the cash in a bag, old man!"
Cooper looked out the window towards Kirchoff Road, hoping a car would pull in the lot and scare the robbers away. He focused on the headlights of an approaching pickup, willing it to turn in. C'mon. Slow down. Maybe a couple of burly construction workers would come by—hungry enough to stop and tap on the window. Regular customers knew Frank would open the door. Cooper watched for their turn signal to blink on and silently pleaded. Help us. Please. The truck passed without slowing. If only Cooper had remembered his phone.
No other vehicles were in sight. Cooper scanned the roads, then shifted his attention to the darkening sky, and then, with dawning horror, Cooper noticed their reflections. The front window reflected the scene inside the diner with mirror-like clarity. He could see everything. Cooper shuddered. Three men stood on the other side of the counter. Frank, easily a head shorter than either of the other two, emptied his own register and stuffed the bills into a paper take-out bag. Frank lifted the tray out of the register and fished a couple of bills from underneath. Cooper could see Frank's hands shaking as he set the tray on the counter and handed the bag of money to another man in a clown mask.
Cooper fought to control his breathing — keep it shallow. Afraid of making some kind of sound if he shifted his weight, he tried to ignore the cramping in his left calf. He stayed as still as the Frank 'n Stein's mascot grinning stupidly at him from the corner. God, make this be over.
Hiro touched Cooper's arm and nodded her head toward the window. In the deepening shadows at the base of the counter he could see himself and Hiro huddled like they were caught in the crossfire of a commando raid. If the crooks looked closely enough, they could see him and Hiro. Then it really would be over. A trickle of sweat broke free from his maze of blonde curls and crept down his forehead.
"Now. The combination to your safe," the DJ voice growled from behind the Elvis mask.
"Safe?" Frank's voice cracked.
Elvis backhanded him across the face. Staggering backwards, Frank cried out and groped the top of the counter for support. The register tray slid and clattered over the edge, showering coins onto Hiro and Cooper like a silver waterfall.
Hiro squeezed her eyes shut like she expected the coins to betray their fragile hiding spot.
"We know about the safe, old man, and how you don't trust banks."
Coins rolled across the checkered tile floor. Some circled, others spun, but within a few moments every coin lay still—exposed and powerless. Cooper knew the feeling.
"The combination." Elvis pressed in close.
"Nobody outside this store knew about the safe." Frank sounded confused. "Nobody."
"Seventy-four." Frank's voice shook. "Ninety-three." Cooper heard him suck in his breath and stop. "It's him, isn't it?"
"Careful, old man. Give me the last number."
"It has to be," Frank said, as if it suddenly all made sense. "I gave him a chance."
"And this is your last chance." The man raised a pistol in a gloved hand. "The number." He pressed the muzzle against Frank's forehead.
Cooper heard a metallic click. Give it to them, Frank. Give it to them.
Frank hesitated, his reflection in the front window ghostly in his white t-shirt and apron.
Coop forced a dry swallow and silently begged Frank to cooperate. Give him the combination. Please. Play it safe.
"Okay." Frank nodded. "J-just put the gun down. P-please."
Excerpted from Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker Copyright © 2013 by Tim Shoemaker. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 31, 2012
Halloween is just around the corner, but eighth grade pals Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro never expected three men wearing masks to burst into their favorite burger joint, wave weapons, demand money, and critically injure the co-owner, Frank, right in front of their eyes. Making their escape from the robbers they hi-tail it across town, but before they can make it home, Cooper is snagged by one of the baddies and threatened. He and his friends and family are in danger unless Cooper turns over the security camera hard–drive he grabbed before leaving the diner and had successfully hidden from the robbers. A hard-drive that will reveal who stole the money and put Frank in a coma. Problem is, he can’t go to the police because he has every reason to believe some dirty cops are involved in the heist.
Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker is a quick-paced nail-biter. Main characters Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro are fast friends who find themselves in a dilemma that tests their friendship and puts them in a position which causes them to choose between the truth or deceit.
Shoemaker’s main characters seem to follow the formula of teen-fiction friendship: Cooper, the impetuous leader, Gordy, the light-hearted lover of all things edible, and quiet, introspective Hiro, the girl and spiritual anchor of the group. But it’s okay if it is formula, because it works. What might seem predictable to a middle-aged woman (like myself) will seem fresh to a middle schooler. The characters are likeable – and wonderfully average. And that’s why I liked this novel.
They aren’t vampires, they aren’t fighting aliens, they aren’t being whisked back-in- time to battle black knights and evil sorcerers, and they don’t have super powers. They are incredibly average, delightfully so. What makes this book tick is that Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro are ordinary kids placed in an extraordinary circumstance – but a circumstance that could, in the everyday world, happen.
The fact that they are Christians also adds a layer to the story line. The moral quandary that Shoemaker explores is this: If you are a Christian, is it okay to lie to your parents, teachers, and authorities in order to do what you think is best to protect yourself from a bad situation? Are some lies legit? Some pretty deep waters for a book aimed at upper elementary to middle schoolers, but Shoemaker handles the topic with a style that is not heavy handed.
Brimming over with bad guys, close calls, and subterfuge, Code of Silence drives home the point that God’s ways are the best ways – even if we can’t understand how that could be possible.
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Posted August 27, 2013
This book was really good. Most books take a while to get started but code of silence picked up the pase in the first chapter. Overall it was a great mystery book and well written.
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Posted May 20, 2012
Posted February 3, 2014
Posted August 12, 2013
My favorite character is cooper because he is a smart kid when when he get caught in the middle of a crime.
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Posted April 23, 2013
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Posted June 9, 2012
Posted May 11, 2012
Review by Jill Williamson
Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro witness a robbery and an attack one night at their favorite milkshake restaurant that leaves the owner in a coma and them the only witnesses. They make a pact—a code of silence—not to tell anyone what they saw. But the lie weighs heavily on their minds. Cooper left his backpack at the restaurant, and the police are looking for him! But so are the bad guys and Cooper is afraid to talk to anyone.
Fabulous! I loved this book. It drew me in from the first page and I read it in a day. Cooper, Gordy, and Hiro are three unique characters, who each deal with the stress of what they saw in different ways. The mystery continues to the last page. This is a fun read for young and old readers. Check it out!
Posted April 16, 2012
This was a good book for a middle grade reader. The descriptions are clear and pull the reader into the action. The activities of the characters are accurate for the age group. It presents a good message without being "preachy" or an adult telling teens what they should think. I recommend it for any middle grade reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2012
Okay I haven't read a mystery book of this sort for a while now, so when I got past the first couple of chapters I was hooked. The feeling of suspense and wondering what could happen next, was a feeling that I love to experience when reading.
The characters were meant for each other. The bond that they shared when faced with a situation that other peoples lives were also faced with danger was incredible. I probably would have wet my pants with all the events that took place throughout the book. However, these three friends are able to make a new friend along the way that soon they too can share their bond with.
The plot flowed well with every sentence, and I never once had to put my book down. Like I mentioned this before this book is full of suspense that will leave you sitting on the edge of your toes.this book also contains friendship beyond all accords. The bond that is shown throughout these chapters is one that I believe anyone would like to have.
I give this book 4 souls!
Posted April 10, 2012
I've known Tim Shoemaker for several years. I've heard him deliver morning devotions at Christian writer's conferences. But writing mystery? For kids? That's a new Tim to me.
I started reading. The pace picked up. The more I read, the better it got.
Then I got to the potato gun. The Spud-zooka. Yeah. That's the Tim I know. I have personally witnessed Tim freeze a hotdog. And a pickle. On the spot. Instantly. With dry ice. And make a devotion out of it.
Oh yeah. Uh-huh. That's the Tim I know.
I enjoyed this story!
Can I play detective? My understanding is this is the first of three books. This one starred Cooper, who has two friends: Hiro and Gordy. Do you think for the next two books will star Hiro in one and Gordy in the other? That's my guess.
So let's get it on, Zonderkids. Move it along. When's the next one due? I can't wait.
Get this book for your kids. They'll love it. I did. Mashed potatoes and all.
Posted April 6, 2012
"Code of Silence" by Tim Shoemaker was a good mystery thriller read. This novel may have been for the middle grades( 9-12), however I (adult) was very kept on the edge of my seat through this read. There was a lots of suspense and action going on all through this read.
Hiro, Gordy and Cooper were childhood friends that was truly in the wrong place at the wrong time...witnessing a cruel robbery... who were wearing police uniforms....... at their favorite hang out..and now there friend Frank Mustacci (part- owner) was left in a coma. Thinking that the robbers were cops... they feared for their lives so ..... the three friends decided to keep this a secret..."CODE OF SILENCE".. One thing for certain these three friends did not know how much living a lie would bring havoc into their lives. Having the security camera hard drive...still Cooper was afraid to turn it over to the police because wasn't a dirty cop involved in this robbery?
Earlier, Cooper who had been caught by one of the robbers and now his his family and friends had been threaten. What was Cooper to do? One thing for sure is that this will test their friendship in that they will have to choose between what is right or wrong about telling lies.
These three characters.... Hiro, (girl) Gordy,and Cooper (boys) were very good-natured ordinary kids that were place in a horrible situation .....made this story so appealing to the reader.... especially their friendship that they shared. However, later on the story did a fourth person became their friend too? Now just who was that person?
How the author was able to get this story presented was very well thought out. Now both ... the police and bad guys are after them....Is 'It's a way for them to tell the truth without getting caught'.... now you are just going to have to read this "Code of Silence" and see how this story plays out.
In the end I believe that these friends... Hiro, Gordy, Cooper and Lunk learned just who they can trust: God, friends and parents.. with the truth .... honesty is the best and only way to go...and I believe that is the real lesson of this story. "Code of Silence" was indeed a good read and I would definitely recommend this novel for a good read for the middle grades and even the adult too.
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Posted April 30, 2013
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