Below the Surface
By Tim Shoemaker
Published by:
387 Pages

 ABOUT BOOK: In the third book in the Code of Silence series, a coming-of-age story that both boys and girls will enjoy, from prolific author and speaker Tim Shoemaker.

Buried fears don’t stay buried for long. Something is wrong with Cooper. He doesn’t understand it, and he won’t admit it, but after surviving the trauma of abduction, Cooper is plagued by a deep fear he can’t control. A vacation aboard the restored Getaway with his friends is just what he needs. No drama, no mysteries, just fun, relaxation, and a few well-planned pranks. But trouble follows this crew, and the idea of a carefree vacation soon disappears along with a missing woman. The police think she drowned, but Hiro has her own suspicions and starts investigating, while Cooper keeps busy and hides behind his practical jokes. But fear has a way of rising. A prank gone wrong, a dark water dive, and the four friends find more than they bargained for - just below the surface.

Review: I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that reminded me of a few fun movies where a bunch of kids go on a grand adventure; such as The Goonies and Stand By Me.

When I received this book I didn’t realize that Below the Surface was the third and final book in the Code of Silence series. Book one is titled Code of Silence – the tag line is; “Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous?”

Book Two is titled Back Before Dark - the tag line is “Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness…means going in after them.”

Below the Surface the third book in the series deals with fear. “A Note From Author” in the back of the book states, “Fear can be something deep and shadowlike – something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you sense its presence. Fear can be something you try to bury, something you dread. Or fear can be obvious, a pulse-pounding terror you can’t avoid!” He goes on to talk about Good Fear – an Internal Warning – Bad Fear; Petrifies us. There are four ways to Fight fear 1. Run from it; 2. Ignore it 3. Bury it 4. Face it.

The author works all of these elements of fear into the story through this group of young boys and one girl. I wish I would have read the other two books in this series before this book; so I would have known all the adventures this team had gone on before they tackled this murder mystery. I would understand their closeness and why they trusted each other so much in investigating this dangerous situation. I admit the author does a good job of having me quickly connect with these gang of kids.  I just wish I had known more.

This group is heading off on vacation together. Fun in the sun and all that. Until one night all of them hear screaming aboard a ship and what they presumed was a body thrown into the water. When this group starts to look into what had happened (to make sure they saw what they all thought was true) crazy things start to happen. They are given warnings to stop digging deeper into the matter or dangerous things will continue to happen to their small group.

I enjoyed this action adventure novel and the kids in the gang. There are great discussion questions in the back of the book to help ignite lively discussion. I loved how the author discussed fear at the end of the book. I loved how he also showed kids facing fear in the story in very different ways.

I enjoyed this story. If you liked the old movies I mentioned in the beginning of this review you’ll like this book! Makes for a good book club pick too!

Nora St. Laurent
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