May 5, 2013

Back Before Dark Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Back Before Dark
Author: Tim Shoemaker
Genre: YA Christian Fiction/Mystery
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Zonderkidz


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.  

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.

Happily married for more than thirty years to Cheryl, the love of my life.
Dad to three grown sons and two daughter-in-laws
Elder Chairman in my church and high school small group leader
Full time speaker and author since 2004
Living in the greater Chicago area
Grateful for God’s incredible grace and mercy to me in countless ways. 



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