Below the Surface

416p. (A Code of Silence Novel). ebook available. Zonderkidz. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780310735014.
Gr 7 Up—Four teenagers planning to spend a quiet summer together at the lake find themselves solving a murder in Shoemaker's third "Code of Silence" novel. Unfortunately, most savvy readers will solve the crime well before the characters do. Without the distraction of a well-plotted mystery, readers will notice the unrealistic dialogue and behavior of characters, and perhaps be hindered by an overabundance of description. Modern readers used to the strength and ingenuity of characters like Hermione and Katniss won't appreciate the book's portrayal of its few female characters as anxious and physically weak. While parents may appreciate the lack of sex, drugs, and cursing, this is not a book that many young teens will flock to read.—Sarah Jones, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, MI
The trip to Lake Geneva was supposed to be a carefree vacation for Cooper, Hiro, Gordy, and Lunk (Code of Silence; Back Before Dark). No mysteries. No trouble. Then the group witnesses what might be a murder, and suddenly they are sucked back into another dangerous adventure. The story, though suffering from a sluggish pace and some didacticism, builds in intensity and stakes.

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