Friday, March 22, 2013
Back Before Dark by Tim Shoemaker
What happens when your best friend and cousin gets kidnapped right before your eyes? This is what happened to Coop, the protagonist of this novel. His cousin Gordy is baited into being kidnapped (tasered and then kidnapped if you're fussy about the details) in front of him and their two friends Lunt and Hiro.
As a result, Coop is desperate to find the kidnapper and Gordy. It leads him on to a reckless course of actions, with policeman wanabee Hiro trying to restrain him and ex-bully Lunt supporting him all the way. But exactly what is driving him? Is it guilt for not being able to find the kidnapper? Partly (mostly in the first part of the book). Is it love for Gordy? Yup, especially towards the end.
Even though this is published by Zondervan (and hence a Christian novel), I was quite surprised by the actions that Coop took. Breaking and entering, planting evidence and then calling 911, there was really no limit to what he would do. His justification is that because the kidnapper broke the law when he kidnapped Gordy, he's willing to break the law to get Gordy back. I find these to be an accurate picture of a young man in grief. (Note: The book does not condone these actions)
In addition, the amount of Christian content in this book is very little. There are Christian characters, and there's a character who struggles with faith, but in no way is there a huge conversion or the like. It's a bit like the book of Esther - God isn't mentioned directly, but if you keep in mind He's there, you can sense His presence.
To me, this is an excellent book about friendship. Lunk and Hiro represents two types of friends - Lunk being the kind that stays with you through your stupid ways, and Hiro being the kind that stops you from doing stupid things. And even though I write this so easily, I find that they were well-written, well-rounded characters.
This is the book for those looking for a fast-paced novel. It's long (over 350 pages if I'm right), but it's gripping. I read it in one sitting.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.