Strange mysteries aren't anything new to the teen sleuths known as the Clue Finders; they've been facing them for years. But when their latest case hits closer to home than ever before, a race against time ensues against a force they don't understand and don't have time to learn to defeat.
Can be read here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7444956/1/The-Mystery-of-the-Silent-Forest
[The Mystery of the Silent Forest] contains examples of:
- Academic Athlete: While she doesn't do it competitively, Leslie has taken up cycling and gotten so fit she can keep up with Joni and Owen who could both easily outrun and outlast her as kids.
- Adults Are Useless: Per usual for the Clue Finders but more justified than usual as the group was investigating something that the adults had already discarded as not worth checking out so going to the authorities wasn't an option.
- Concussions Get You High: Averted. All of the concussion symptoms Santiago experiences are realistic as much as he wants them to be the result of having been drugged. Because he's not going to get medical attention where he is any time soon.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Santiago's parents are dead in present day, as a result of their revolutionary activities.
- Everyone Knows Morse: Zig-zagged. Owen, unsurprisingly, doesn't know Morse but in an unexpected twist, Leslie doesn't either. Joni and Santiago learned it one night when neither of them could sleep and they didn't want to wake her parents.
- Foil: Santiago's status as this to Joni is highlighted; she recognizes that he balances her out and while she realizes that his absence isn't fully responsible for her recent decisions and her Fearless Fool tendencies trying to reassert themselves, she still really isn't enjoying the hole his absence has created in the group.
- Freaky Is Cool: The Clue Finders became friends in first grade when Leslie spent a geography lesson regaling her assigned buddies with the ecology of the countries on the map the kids were supposed to be coloring. Joni, Santiago and Owen were fascinated by their new classmate.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Santiago considers having to say his prayers in Spanish despite living in the United States to be this trope but his mother wants him to have a connection to his heritage.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Joni knows that as a leader, she'll sometimes have to do things that her teammates won't like. She won't enjoy it but she'll do it. In-story the most prominent example is in Chapter 9 where she plugs Laptrap into a mysterious door in hopes of hacking the security system.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: The most likely explanation for why Joni and Santiago haven't confessed their heavily implied feelings for each other yet.
- I Will Find You: Joni vows to rescue Santiago and Owen, Leslie and Laptrap are in full agreement.
- Like Brother and Sister: Santiago's implied relationship with Leslie.
- Non-Action Guy: Santiago's technical role though he's encouraged to get out of it.
- Omniglot: May or may not be the case for Leslie but in any case, she's shown to know fluent Arabic in one of Santiago's flashbacks/dreams.
- Only Sane Man: Santiago plays this role in one of his flashbacks/dreams, pointing out how bad an idea cliff-diving would be. Since Joni nearly drowned, his concern was justified.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: A subtle and possibly unintentional example in the above Freaky Is Cool. Owen, Santiago and Joni were all in the same first grade class which would be impossible in canon as Owen is a year younger, and thus probably a grade below, the other two and in no way a Grade Skipper.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: Santiago is well aware of this which is why his very vivid, very memorable and very coherent dreams concern him.
- She's All Grown Up: A likely explanation for Santiago's enthrallment watching Joni's dancing in one of her flashbacks.
- Survival Mantra: Joni develops one by the end of Chapter 9.Get in, get out, get home.
- Undying Loyalty: The Clue Finders have this, with Santiago responding to Joni's promise of rescue by saying that they've never let him down yet and Joni having a firm belief that nothing will break the group's friendship, even her less than savory decisions.
- Weirdness Magnet: The Clue Finders' stance as this remains and is even lampshaded by Leslie stating that she can't discount Owen's theory about aliens being responsible for the disappearances they're investigating (and which Santiago falls victim to).
- Would Hurt a Child: In one of Santiago's flashbacks/dreams, the Clue Finders are pursued by crooks and take refuge in a junkyard, hiding under an old truck. Their pursuers attempt to either flush out the kids or get rid of them entirely by setting the junkyard on fire.