Friday, September 21, 2012

Crusher by Niall Leonard (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Publication.Date  September 13th 2012
Published By:  Random House
WebsiteNiall Leonard | 

Crusher- Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

To catch a killer,Finn Maguire may have to become one....

Everything changed the day Finn found his father in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death. His dull, dreary life is turned upside downas he become's the prime suspect. How can he clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him?

Facing danger at every turn, uncovering dark family secrets and braving the seedy London underworld,Finn is about to discover that only the people you trust can really hurt you....

His eyes were open and his glasses had fallen off. There was blood coming from his mouth and clotting in his beard, and pooling on the table, and he was dead. And the house was empty and silent.
Dad used to say that the best stories came from the horse's mouth. 

      Niall Leonard's YA debut, Crusher, is a solid, well-written mystery/thriller featuring a character that breaks the mold, a murder case with an unexpected conclusion, and a whole lot of action in between. Fast-paced, easily digestible and quite entertaining, it's a book that will appeal to fans of noir and crime fiction suitable for the young adult audience

     While the premise of this novel is a rather simple and unoriginal one, all the unforeseeable plot developments definitely keep things fresh and spicy. A dyslectic teenager named Finn comes home to find his step-father murdered in his office, with his laptop and some of the scripts he's been working on missing. When he becomes the prime suspect of the crime, and realizes that the police isn't going to look for the real murderer, Finn decides to take matters into his own hands. His secret investigation will put him right in the middle of the local crime-world and the things he'll discover will change his life forever... 

     While the story is undeniably fun to read with nearly non-stop action and unexpected plot twists, it's also not very stimulating, nor is it especially challenging. This book is what I call a spoon-fed mystery, one that presents you with all the facts instead of making you work to piece all the clues together. There's no sense of urgency, no guessing and wrecking your brain to figure out what's going on. A lot is happening on the pages of Crusher, our lead character goes through some seriously dangerous (and wildly improbable) adventures, and I definitely enjoyed all that. At the same time, though, this book didn't pull me in as much as I hoped it would. I found myself indifferent to Finn's fate (mainly because he himself seemed so withdrawn and emotionally unavailable), and only mildly interested in the murder mystery. I wasn't bored, but I wasn't emotionally invested nor intellectually stimulated, either. To me, this book was the literary equivalent of breakfast pancakes - it was enjoyable, but not necessarily memorable

     Finn was a very interesting character in many ways. At first I was fascinated by his cold appearance and emotionless reaction to his father's death. I assumed he was trying to keep it together, internalizing his struggles and not letting himself fall apart while the murderer was still at large. But no, that wasn't the case. He was cold, disconnected and withdrawn all the way through, and it wasn't until the very last page (the very last paragraph!) that he finally broke down and cried. And while I found it refreshing and intriguing to study his emotional responses (or the lack of them), I was also starting to feel uneasy, disturbed, and wondering what exactly was wrong with that kid. In the end, though, he did show some human emotions and I was very grateful for that brief peek into his heart and soul. 

     The action side of the story was really good. I must say I had a lot of fun following Finn's adventures, though at times the pacing seemed a little bit uneven. There were moments when we'd go from a dynamic knife fight to lengthy passages describing Finn's work at a restaurant. I appreciated all the glimpses at his private life and I really enjoyed getting to know him better, but I also wished the transitions from action to slower moments would be smoother. The choppy pacing resulted in me being slightly confused and unable to get entirely absorbed in the story. Just when I'd finally start to get a good grasp of Finn's personality, the story would suddenly jump into some crazy action, but before I'd get fully pumped up by the exciting events, the tension would deflate and we would suddenly have Finn dealing with funeral arrangements. Niall Leaonard's writing style was really great, though! It was just so easy to absorb and dynamic, it felt more like watching an episode of some popular crime drama than reading a book. At the same time, though, I wished the author would let us explore Finn's psyche a little bit more, as well as the relationship between him and his mother. Finn was undeniably a wildly fascinating character and I'd love to get to know him on a more personal level. 

     Overall, this was a good read and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It might not be the most complex or intensely gripping murder mystery out there, but it's certainly easy to devour, thrilling and entertaining read. If not for anything else, read it for its jaw-dropping conclusion and I'm sure you won't be disappointed! Niall Leaonard shows a lot of promise as a writer and I'm very excited to find out what else he has in store for us!

     (Additionally, fans of Fifty Shades series will be interested to know that Niall Leaonard is E.L. James' husband).

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Great review <3 Not sure if this is my type of book (at the moment) but it sounds like it can be a fun read. I think the pacing would probably get to me because lately if there is down time in books I tend to get distracted and have a hard time getting back into them. However I will keep this one in mind and chack it out on GR later :)

Larisa said...

Nice review, I appreciate your honesty and even though I'm not into mystery books that much, this one seems like an easy and fun read.

princesshoran said...

I'm into mysteries, especially murder mysteries. I haven't any in quite a while though but I think I might get this one and see if I like it. It sounds good! Great review!

Evie Seo said...

@Tiffany Thanks sweetie! <3 I did enjoy this book quite a lot, it wasn't a very demanding read, just something to relax over, tho some parts of the book were quite.. violent, others.. well, slower. If only the pacing was better! :)

Evie Seo said...

@Larisa thanks! :) I don't read a whole lot of mystery books but I do enjoy them every now and then, and I just couldn't say no to EL James' husband! Too curious to pass it up :)

Evie Seo said...

@princesshoran Thanks for your comment! :) I think if you do pick it up you will enjoy it quite a lot :) it's really easy to read! And if you do read it, let me know how you liked it!:)

Evie said...

I'd like to read this book because of all the action but I'm not sure if it's my kind of book.

Amy said...

Sounds interesting. Although the idea isn't original, it sounds like the story was still interesting. I do love good mystery thriller books, but I don't know if I would pick this one up. Thanks for the great review chick!!

KristianaAlex said...

Really great review. This book looks good, so probably I'll add it to my to-read list. :)
BTW I love your blog!

Erika said...

Thanks for your thoughts. This is a new book for me. I'm not sure if it is something I'd enjoy but maybe I'll give it a try.

Lis said...

The first I saw this cover, I thought it was similar to The maze runner (error!) but it was interesting as well.Not just the book, but the plot and the ending.
So glad you liked it, even thought you didn't loved it a lot.
Great review!

Jaime Lester said...

I am not too big on murder mystery type books, and especially not ones about a dead father. Too close to home for me. And, a 3 star review from you is really low. Crusher is a book that I would bring home with me from the library, but I don't think I would buy it. Thanks for the review!

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