I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I immediately cared for the three teen characters, Cooper, Gordy and Hiro. They are regular kids enjoying a regular life and sharing good times with a trusted adult, Frank, at a local hangout. After witnessing a robbery and beating, Cooper risks himself to protect Gordy and Hiro and is identified and threatened by the robbers. The boys decide to keep silent because they fear for the safety of Cooper and his family. Thus, the “Code of Silence” is set.
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.