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Crusher by Niall Leonard

Crusher (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Niall Leonard

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Authors:Niall Leonard
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Tags:young adult, thriller

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Crusher by Niall Leonard (2012)



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School Library Journal 58(12) 2012
  KrsWilson | Jun 22, 2017 |
A look at the UK's underworld, a decent but not great teen crime novel. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
This review first appeared on The Book Zone(For Boys) blog

The market for adult crime fiction is huge, but until relatively recently you could count the number of crime books published for young adults on the fingers of one hand. Fortunately publishers and authors have obviously decided that there is a market out there for gritty young adult crime fiction, the most notable example to date being Peter Cocks' Eddie Savage books, and now author Niall Leonard brings another hugely enjoyable story to the party.

Main character Finn Maguire's life is not a particularly happy one. He has bombed out of school, his father is a washed up ex-TV actor, now wannabe writer, and the only way any food gets on the table is through the pennies Finn earns working at the local burger joint. However, even though life is pretty miserable, things get very much worse before the opening chapter comes to a close as Finn arrives home from work to find his father has been murdered. And you think that's bad - before he knows it Finn finds himself carted off to the local nick, placed into an interview room and treated as a suspect rather than a potential witness. With little evidence to suggest he was responsible Finn is soon released from custody, albeit somewhat reluctantly by the officer in charge of the investigation, at which point he decides that he is going to track down his father's murderer.

The true strength of this book is the characterisation of Finn - Niall Leonard certainly knows how to write disaffected teenagers. So many people wrongly believe teens who bomb out of school to be knife-carrying delinquents who are just hanging around on street corners waiting for the next riot to kick-off. Whilst this is true of some, the majority are honest, fiercely loyal and desperate to work and prove themselves to the world. Unfortunately for so many their situation makes this very difficult. This is exactly how Finn is, which is why he so bravely sets out to find out who murdered his father. The other characters too are well developed, and add true sparkle to the story.

Where the story falls down slightly, especially in comparison to Peter Cocks' Long Reach, is the plotting. Whilst it is exciting and fast-paced, making it almost unputdownable, there are a few glaring holes and convenient coincidences that mean that a certain degree of disbelief suspension is required. However, I would suggest that the underlying plot of 'teen out for justice' is more believable than Long Reach's 'teen being recruited as undercover cop'.

Niall Leonard never patronises his teen audience. There is violence, swearing and also a brief sex scene. It is so welcoming to read a book that hasn't been sanitised by a nervous editor or publisher - teens do drink, swear and have sex and to remove these elements from a book about an older teen would be to do the readers a disservice. For this I applaud both Niall Leonard and Doubleday. ( )
  book_zone | Apr 1, 2013 |
So if we can make money from shading gray, by association this one should be worth more than a shot in the dark....

Crusher...or The Sad State of Publishing...
  Scribble.Orca | Mar 31, 2013 |
In the mood for a good mystery thriller I accepted a finished copy of Crusher by Niall Leonard from the publisher. At the time I did not know this author is EL James’ husband or that this tale was written during NaNoWriMo. The tale was action packed and the list of suspects kept me guessing.

The tale begins when we meet Finn a seventeen year old drop out who lives with his step-father a drunk and has been actor who spends his days trying to write the perfect script. Finn goes off to his full-time job at a chicken joint and when he returns home he finds his Dad shot dead and immediately calls the police. He is immediately labeled suspect number one, but as Finn realizes his Dad’s computer and notes are missing he remembers a conversation about his Dad’s current project. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful and action packed as Finn’s search for truth. If he isn't careful he may just end of up dead.

Finn is a drop out boxer and supposedly has dyslexia. As a mother of a child who suffers from this I was particularly annoyed at comments made regarding this disorder. Finn was really devoid of emotions and I never truly connecting with him. He wasn't unlikable we just never really get to know him. In fact none of the characters are really developed. We get a taste of them but the plot really drives this tale.

The world building was interesting and the twists in the plot kept me reading till the end despite major problems. The novel pushes the edge of YA with foul language, brutality, drinking, drugs and sex. While there are some climatic scenes Finn’s lack of emotion made the events fall flat and the lines of reality never blurred for me. The tale is told in Finn’s voice and sadly it wasn't believable especially since the author depicts him as lacking intelligence one minute and has him using metaphors the next. Sadly the twists and conclusion read more like a made for television script and I had a hard time buying it.

I had no problem finishing Crusher and read it in a few hours. Despite holes in the plot, unrealistic scenes and made for TV coincidences and paper characters I enjoyed it enough to read on.

I want to thank Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
( )
  kimbacaffeinate | Mar 30, 2013 |
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After he discovers his father murdered, Finn, now the prime suspect, scours the London underworld, exposing secrets and facing danger, to determine the true killer.

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