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.
Chapter 1, pages 14-16
Cooper had a creepy feeling. He tried to pick up the pace, but the grass made pedaling tough. Why would someone Velcro a backpack and drive through a park? Was it some kind of joke? His stomach tightened. Or a trap.
Gordy dropped his bike and stepped closer to the van.
“Hold on, Gordy!” Cooper shouted. “Wait!”
Gordy grinned and waved at Cooper, slid the side door open on the van, and reached for the backpack. The guy must have asked him to toss it inside. Gordy tugged it, but the pack stayed in place—definitely attached.
Not good. Not good.
“Back away, Gordy!”
Lunk’s voice. Behind him. He sensed it too.
“Gordy!” Cooper pushed the pedals harder, but couldn’t make his legs go faster.
Gordy yanked on the backpack again, this time with both hands.
The driver’s door flew open and a man reached out, pressing something into Gordy’s chest.
Gordy jerked back and collapsed like he’d been hit by a bolt of lightning.
“GORDY!” Hiro’s scream sliced right through Cooper.
Cooper surged past her, his pulse pounding in his ears. Minivan fifty yards away. God help me. God help me.
The man looked at Cooper for an instant as if gauging how much time he had. Baseball cap. Dark hair sticking out on all sides. Sunglasses. Beard. Black jacket and jeans. Gloves. Cooper wanted to plow into the guy and send him flying, but he would need wings to get there in time. “Gordy!” he screamed.
The man in black hooded Gordy with a dark bag and hefted him inside—whipping the door closed behind him. He dashed back to the driver’s seat. The engine roared even as he slammed the door.
No! NOOO! Cooper nearly reached the back of the van.
Stones shot from under its tires, peppering Cooper and forcing him to duck. The van shot ahead. Illinois plates. CRM something.
“Stop . . . STOP!” Cooper pressed harder. The van sped down the narrow alleyway.
Cooper squinted and caught the number. CRM 9147. He stood on the pedals, throwing all his weight and strength into every stroke while repeating the license plate number. CRM 9147. CRM 9147. CRM 9147.
The brake lights flashed on for a millisecond as the van approached the turn onto Meadow Drive.
CRM 9147. CRM 9147. CRM 9147.
Tires squealing, the van roared around the corner heading north on Meadow. The minivan disappeared.
CRM 9147. CRM 9147. CRM 9147. He kept the cadence going, blazing the number in his head. No time to come up with a catchy way to memorize it.
He raced to Meadow Drive and banked the turn. There was the van, already past Kimball Hill School. It screeched off Meadow and turned west onto School Drive. Cooper lost it again.
CRM 9147. CRM 9147. CRM 9147. Wind roaring in his ears, he pumped hard through the school lot and cut across the lawn for a clear view of the street beyond.
Nothing. The van—and Gordy—were gone.
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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