Speed Surf

This is the third out of 8 novels from the series “Internet Detective” from the author Michael Coleman. The first novel is titled “Net Bandits” and the second one “Escape Key“. This sequel keeps up with the lives of six friends from all over the world that, with the help of Internet, solve all kinds of mysteries.

“Speed Surf” is, as the two previous novels,  a story about the courage of six friends – Rob, Josh, Tamsyn, Lauren, Tom and Mitch.

Also, this story is about friendships that survive, with the help of the internet, despite the miles between people. The author emphasizes the advantages that the internet brings to the modern days but also points out the dangers of it. “Speed Surf2 brings us the case of a stolen valuable painting of a warship from a gallery in New York. Mitch was unintentionally involved alongside with a competitor in a sailing race named Brad Stewart.

As well as in the previous novels, the crew combines the available information to solve the case. Their biggest help was Mitch’s discovery of the stolen painting’s copy.

The six friends have proven themselves to be on the side of justice and truth. Their detective passion doesn’t fade away. As they get new cases they become more expert and skillful in solving the cases.

Genre: novel

Place: Portsmouth, New York, Toronto, Perth

Time: 20th century, the 90’s

Book Summary

Josh and Tamsyn had spent a lot of time with their friend Rob who they met online. He enrolled in their school after they saved him from a great danger, which is described in the first novel. Until then Rob was homeschooled because when he was eight he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed.

Rob had all kinds of computer wonders in his home because his parents owned “Gamezone”, a company that produced computer games and programs.

One of the new products was a virtual reality helmet. When Josh tried it he had an actual feeling of sailing and after he took off the helmet he couldn’t believe he was still in Rob’s room. The sailboat that Josh saw was sponsored by Gamezone and it was supposed to compete in a race which starts in New York and ends in Portsmouth. Brad Stewart will be on it and he is the representative of the Zanelli family. The company that organized the race made an internet page named Starboard and the names of the competitors and the sailboats were on it. The company’s intention was to show everything that can be done with the devices for communication so all of the sailboats had portable computers and other equipment.

Rob received an email from Brad in which he stated he’ll be at his destination in 17 days if the weather will be good, and that last night an alarm went off on his sailboat. Sailors are superstitious and have their rituals. Brad’s was not to sleep on the sailboat the day before the race but because of the alarm he had to sleep there.

Rob was worried about the alarm and wanted his friend Mitch, who lived in New York, to go and check it out. It will be a chance for Mitch to see the insides of the sailboat because he was always fascinated with them.

On June, the 3rd, Mitch was working in “Cyber-Snax” near Central Park. Mitch was allowed by his boss to visit Brad’s sailboat but after the boss comes back from his running. Mitch was impatient because he was already late and his boss was nowhere to be seen. While he waited for him a man entered the bar and asked Mitch to help him write a message on Starboard page and send it. The message was: “Our three last are out, the first one is over, so R. happy sailing”. Mitch’s boss came and Mitch ran to Murray Cove where the sailboat was.

The sailboat Go Gamezone was next to the Jimmy the One sailboat from Jim Gilroy. Mitch wasn’t very fond of him because of his appearance. He had a shaved head and seemed dangerous.

Brad gave Mitch the grand tour of the sailboat, showed him the deck and the insides and Mitch took many photos. He also checked the alarm system because Rob asked him to. Mitch and Brad came to the conclusion that the alarm was activated because of the dog Bruno who was snooping around the boxes and garbage in the dock. While he was going through one garbage can Bruno found a small painting of a warship with a golden frame.

Mitch took it because he thought it would look good on his wall. While he was walking home he heard the sound which signalized the beginning of the race.

Back in Portsmouth, after the race’s beginning, Josh, Tamsyn, and Rob were in the informatics classroom. They got an email from Tom whose bike was stolen. Mitch was grateful to Rob because he had a chance to meet Brad and see the sailboat and Lauren wrote about her grandmother who was infatuated with enigmatic on internet and Lauren could barely reach the computer because of her.

In the meantime in Perth, Tom was trying to solve the case of the missing bikes. He realized that the robberies always took place on Fridays, with two weeks apart, and he came up with a plan to catch the robber.

After class, Rob was excited about checking the New York Times, the online newspaper which brought news about the race. In his research, he stumbled upon an article about a stolen painting of a warship. The crew soon realized it was about the painting found by Mitch. It was worth 5 million dollars and they immediately told Mitch about their discovery.

Mitch saw the message two days later and ran home immediately. The next day he took the painting to the art gallery from which it was stolen in hopes of a reward. The director of the gallery and a detective waited for him. Unfortunately, the picture found by Mitch wasn’t the original. While the director and the detective were looking at the videotapes Mitch saw the strange man who asked him to help him with the message from the Starboard. He decided to keep him mouth shut and went home.

Rob followed the internet site Starboard religiously because he always wanted to know the position of the sailboat Go Gamezone. He received a message from Brad saying he’ll hold a speech at his school. Also, he mentioned him something else about the superstitions of the sailors. Brad allegedly exchanged something with the man standing next to him before the race started.

Mitch wrote an email to everyone in which he explained that the painting was a copy and that he recognized the man from the surveillance tape in the gallery. He also told him it was the man who asked him to write a message to Starboard.

Rob, Tamsyn, and Josh were studying for an exam when they received Mitch’s email. They were trying to decipher the message from the unknown man, neglected their studying and had no solution in the end. They remembered Lauren’s grandmother that’s infatuated with enigmas so they’ve sent her the email. Lauren slipped the mail as one of the questions in the cross-puzzle. Grandmother Alice deciphered the message quick and the solution was: “The merchandise is sailing safely.”

Tamsyn and Josh, who sent the message to Lauren, believed that the painting was on one of the sailboats in the race. They even figured out it was Brad Stewart’s sailboat. They thought that Rob’s father is involved in the robbery because he is the only one who could enter the sailboat and take the picture with no problem. The two of them kept having ideas about the picture but they were too afraid to ask Rob about it. They remembered their friend Tom from Australia, whose father was a detective.

Tom was still pretty much involved with the bike theft. His friend covered for him on class and Tom hid in the closet waiting for the thief. He discovered the thief to be an ex-student who, by wearing a shirt of the school, entered the premises with no problem and took the bikes. Every single bike was found in his apartment, including Tom’s.

Even though Tom didn’t help a lot with the stolen painting, he was still useful. Tamsyn linked the two crimes. She realized that the painting was hidden by being exposed so it would seem to be a copy replaced later on with the original and smuggled out of the country. Soon Josh and Tamsyn remembered that Mitch took photos of the insides of the sailboat and that a CD that showed a video of the sailboat exists. Mitch sent the pictures to Rob so they would take a look at it.

Tamsyn and Josh went to visit Rob who received Mitch’s message without knowing why he had sent it. Josh and Tamsyn explained everything to him. When they saw the video they saw that the painting wasn’t still on it and Rob showed them the message he got from Brad about the superstition of exchanging thing on the sailboats before the race. The kids realized that a copy was placed on the sailboat a day before the race by one of the contestants. The alarm was set off by the thief who entered Brad’s sailboat, replaced the copy with the original and threw it in the trash where Mitch found it. They’ve sent an email to Brad asking him to say the name of the contestant with whom he had exchanged something and to tell them what it was.

They received the message the next day but it was hard to read because something had happened to Brad’s computer. They’ve only managed to read the first part of the message from which they’ve found out the name of the contestant but they didn’t know what the thing that was exchanged was. They’ve managed to read the rest of the message later on and they found out the whole truth. Brad gave Jim Gilroy a compass and he gave him a painting. Online they found out that Gilroy was a passionate collector of paintings and cross-puzzle solving. That piece of information explained the stolen painting and the message in code that Mitch send for that man in the bar. It was the perfect crime because, while leaving Portsmouth, Brad and Jim would exchange their things back again and Jim would get the original painting without anyone knowing about it.

The plan was this: Mitch will send the copy of the painting that he found. They just hoped it will arrive before Brad. It was June 21st when the first sailboats started coming to Portsmouth. One of the first ones was “Jimmy the One”, Jim Gilroy’s sailboat. Rob received the painting just before leaving for the port with his parents. The plan was going great.

Brad’s sailboat was coming to the port and Josh filmed everything with his camera while Tamsyn and Rob were getting ready to do the rest of the plan. As soon as Brad arrived they said hello to him and asked him to do a tour of the sailboat. When they got there they told everything to Rob’s parents and Brad because they needed them to help up with the plan. They agreed to leave the sailboat and give Jim time to try and replace the paintings but Jim wasn’t counting on Josh being hidden in the sailboat with a camera. They also replaced the original painting with a copy. Gilroy replaced the paintings and went to his sailboat but they knew he would soon realize he had a copy. When that happened Jim went back and they surrounded him. He threw the picture in the sea but Rob managed to catch it. Jim said that Brad had no evidence against him and that it was all actually Brad’s fault because he carried the painting across the ocean. He was, of course, wrong because Josh filmed everything.

So they’ve solved another case and Jim Gilroy ended up in court together with Josh’s videotape.

Characters: Rob, Tamsyn, Tom. Mitch, Lauren and her grandmother Alice (Allie), Rob’s parents, Tom’s mother, Jim Gilroy, Brad

Character analysis

Tamsyn – a girl that also goes to Abby school with her friends Josh and Rob. She loves the internet because it helps her to stay in touch with her friends.

She is also a big fan of book reading and a smart girl. She is a loyal friend. She is hurt by injustice so she does everything she can, with her 5 friends, to solve the mystery of the stolen painting.

Josh  Tamsyn’s and Rob’s friend and a student at Abby school. He loves video games, computer equipment and surfing the net. He does not like to study and exams are torture for him. He’s proven himself to be a loyal friend.

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 passionate about games, computers and the internet. His parents own the company “Gamezone” that produces computer games so he gets to try all of them first. He is very intelligent and solves easily the puzzles that come along with each case.

Tom – he lives in Australia with his mother who is a cleaning lady and his father who is a detective. He investigates bike thefts in this novel. Despite the distance, he helps his friends to solve the mysteries of the stolen painting.

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. He helped his friends a lot in this case by photographing the sailboat before he left and finding the painting’s copy. Even though he’s a bit older than the others he tries and helps them to solve another detective case.

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 because, due to her love for enigmas, she managed to solve the message written in code.

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 the sport after he stopped doing it and his first book series “Foul football” is dedicated to it.

Except for sports, Coleman enjoyed computers. He thought 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.