"Escape Key" is the second out of eight novels from the series "Internet Detectives" by Michael Coleman. The first novel named "Net Bandits" was followed by the sequel which continues to keep up with the lives of 6 friends from different parts of the world who united by internet solve mysteries to which apparently they stumble upon by accident.
As in the previous novel, this one as well is about the bravery of six friends: Rob, Josh, Tamsyn, Lauren, Tom and Mitch. The author emphasizes the leverages of the internet but also warns us about the dangers of it.
“The Escape Key” introduces us to a new adventurous dimension of the internet. The 6 friends combine the gathered information in order to solve the case. They not only lead a successful battle against their enemies, but also tighten up their friendship, learn about life and restore their faith into their own abilities. The novel presents the values which emerge from friendship and the battle for justice. As soon as they notice a chance to make justice, which means catching the bad guys, they react immediately, even if it means to put their own lives in danger.
A photo that came via Internet from Australia confirmed to them that the mystery man, who was seen by Rob and Tamsyn in an airport lounge, is indeed Kelvin Moore also known as K.M. Clark – a man who was searched for on two continents. He was skillful at dodging the police but that ends with his encounter with the Internet Detectives – the six friends from across the world who more than anything love adventure, justice and surfing the net. They are skillful and intelligent and use their talents to fight for justice.
Place: Portsmouth, New York, Toronto, Perth
Time: 20th century, the 90's
On November 11th, Tamsyn and Rob were in the airport Heatrow in London, with Rob's mother. Rob's parents were owner of a successful programming company so their son's interest in computers didn't surprise them at all. They were overly protective of him because he ended up in wheelchair after a car accident. He went to Abbey School where he met Josh and Tamsyn.
Out of boredom they played a harmless game of guessing by observing people and guessing who they are and what they do in life and their attention was brought to a certain man in a crumpled suit. He entered the bathroom and when he got out he was wearing a different suit and threw a bag, in which the boys were very interested, into the garbage can. They took it and opened it. They found a business card with the name Kelvin B. Moore and a credit card on which the signature did not match the name on the business card.
Lauren King lived in Toronto, Canada. Since her parents died in a shipwreck she lived with her grandmother Alice, to which she referred to as Allie. She played chess with Josh over the internet. She promised Allie she'll go to bad after sending Josh an e-mail in which she'll tell him he's been checkmated. When Allie saw her granddaughter sleeping she sat in front of the computer, reached for the mouse, set her glasses, and in no time she connected to the internet.
In school Tamsey shared with Rob the difference between the names on the card. It was typical for business man to exchange cards so they gave up the case.
They encountered Josh who was angry because of the checkmate. Alice recommended him a program for chess learning. The name of the company that sells the program was the same as on the business card that Rob and Tamsy found: "Checkmate".
The three of them turned on their computers and started investigating. Rob found a bunch of messages with a similar content. People wrote about paying 40 dollars to "Checkmate" for their CD that would never arrive. The Internet Detectives had a new case! Tamsyn emailed Tom in Perth and told him about the company and he forwarded the mail to Mitch in New York. Rob and Josh also email mister Moore.
Tom Peterson, from Australia, red Tamsy's email about the case and he started investigating. After a 20 minute bus ride he came to Queensbury and headed towards the number 78. After he gathered the courage to knock on the door on which said "Checkmate" he saw his dad there.
In the meantime, Rob asked the librarian to borrow him her computer because he had to check his email. He was disappointed to see a message from the Netgate's administrator saying that the Kelvin Moore's company no longer existed online.
Tom ended up grounded in his room after his investigation. He had important information to forward to his friends vie email but he won't be able to do it before morning. He remembered the events from his father's company. The office was filled with cops, tax inspectors and detectives. He realized that Kelvin Moore from Tamsy's email and Kelvin hunted by the police, were the same person.
As a boy, Kelvin was the chess champion of Australia. Then he developed a computer program which as powerful as the strongest player. He tried to expand his program across Europe and America but he ran out of money and started selling nonexistent chess learning programs.
While exiting the building Tom grabbed a piece of paper from the floor and placed it in his bag.
Rob was at home in Portsmouth when he saw Tom's email but he couldn't read it because his mother was rushing him to go to school so he printed it out. In school he saw Tamsyn and Josh and showed them the email in which Tom described his latest discoveries. After a brief conversation the three detectives came to the conclusion that Kelvin Moore and K.M. Clark were the same person. Tamsyn sent Tom an email saying he should send her Moore's pictures so they would see what he looked like.
Tom came earlier to school in order to send the email and in the school bus he saw his teacher Lille who was reading the papers. The news about Kelvin Moore was on the front page. When he came to the computer he saw Tamsyn's message and if he wasn't punished he would have red it yesterday. Just when he was about to answer the internet ran out. Tom made a plan to stay longer in school so he got himself in detention. He cut out Moore's picture from the professor's news papers after which the whole class was grounded with an extra half an hour of class. It suited Tom because it gave him just enough time to send the mail and the picture.
In the meantime Rob got the photos from Tom but it didn't match the man they saw on the airport. They've decided to shorten his hair, add a pair of glasses and remove the mustache with the help of a computer program. Then they finally saw the same man they saw on the airport. Rob sent the mail with the photo-shopped picture.
Lauren red the email and contacted Mitch online. He worked in a café bar in which he had 10 computers connected to the internet and, by doing some overtime, he would get his boss to allow him to go online for a while. Lauren told everything to him after which he made a plan and circulated 11 hotels in search of Moore. In the last one, Times Plaza Hotel, he managed to get his address and rushed to tell the others.
Day after his investigation Rob, Josh and Tamsyn gathered to receive Mitch's email with the address.
Tom told to Mister Peterson all about Kelvin Moore and then he checked his phone number. It belonged to a Kensington's crematorium.
Doubting the information, Rob and Tamsyn went investigating online. They came to the conclusion that Moore was in the Kensington Continental Hotel in which a fair was being held. Rob's parents were a part of it. The list of the companies that participated in the fair had the name “Checkmate” on it.
Tom got Tamsyn's email in which she informed him about the fair so he printed it out and showed to his father.
Miss Zanelli, Rob's mother, drove them to the fair and they managed to find out from the doorman that Moore was still in the hotel. When they came to the Checkmate's stand they saw that they weren't exposing anything. They also saw Moore's luggage in the lobby so he had to be in the hotel. Finally, they saw him heading towards the stand which held a chess tournament and Moore's program was a part of it.
Before the internet match ten games were supposed to be played between people. In between ten volunteers was Clark so John instinctively sat right by his board. Tamsyn got to Josh just to tell him that a woman in a red was following them. Tamsyn used her chance to ask Moore was “Checkmate” his company to which he answered with a simple yes. The woman in red came up to Moore and showed him her badge after which he tried to run away but unsuccessfully because Tamsyn and Josh threw a bunch of luggage onto him. The commander Thompson, the woman in red, congratulated them on the solved case.
Miss Zanelli appeared and they told her all about the last few days.
After Moore's arrestment Tom wasn't grounded anymore and he was able to surf the internet freely. He sent the happy news to his friend as soon as he got the chance.
Characters: Rob, Tamsyn, Tom. Mitch, Lauren and her grandmother Alice (Allie), Rob's parents, Tom's mother, Kelvin Moore/K.M. Clark
Rob - his best friends are Josh and Tamsyn. He goes to Abbey school. Rob ended up in a wheelchair after a car accident and he is a passionate about games, computers and the internet. His parents own the company "Gamezone" that produces computer games.
Tamsyn - a girl that also goes to Abby school with her friends Josh and Rob. She loves the internet, the computer and reading books. She fights for justice and works with her 5 friends on their investigations, just like a real detective. She helps to solve the case of the "Checkmate" company and the identity of Kelvin Moore.
Josh - Tamsyn's and Rob's friend and a student at Abby school. He loves video games, computer equipment and surfing the net. He plays chess with Lauren over email and in most cases he loses. Josh helps his friends to solve the internet cases.
Tom - he lives in Australia with his mother who is a cleaning lady and his father who is a detective.
Mitch - he lives in New York and works at a cyber café. It's a café that owns many computers and an internet service which allows him to talk to his friends.
Lauren - a girl from Toronto, Canada, who lives with her grandmother Alice (Allie) who sometimes wonders the net. Lauren helps her friends to solve the detective cases and her grandmother helps her. She plays chess with Josh and her bigger pleasure is to win.
Michael Coleman Biography
Michael Coleman was born on May 12th, 1946 in London. He is a British SF writer.
He is a big sports fanatic and as a young man he was a successful athlete. He started writing about sport after he stopped doing it and his first book series "Foul football" is dedicated to it.
Except for sports, Coleman enjoyed computers. He taught informatics at the University of Portsmouth and his love for technology was transferred into his books. One of his most famous novel series actually involves technology.
The novel series "Internet Detectives" consists out of 8 novels and their goal is to show the joy of informatics and internet to the young people whose life was already slowly being penetrated by technology.
The author wrote few picture book, novels for teenagers as well as adults. The first novel from the series "Internet Detectives" called "Net Bandits" also got a movie adaption.