Saturday, October 6, 2012

Kid Konnection: Crusher

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you one of the most anticipated young adult debut thrillers!

Summary: The day Finn Maguire discovers his dad bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in his father’s murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.

Scouring the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, exposing dark family secrets, and facing danger at every turn, Finn is about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest. . .

Crusher is this year’s most talked-about debut thriller. -- Delacorte Press

Before I give you my thoughts about the new young adult book CRUSHER, I thought I'd share a little bit of the background story. It just happens to be pretty interesting. The debut author Niall Leonard is married to someone you might have heard of.. EL James from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY fame! Mr. Leonard has been a successful television screenwriter for years, but he decided to take a stab at writing a novel during NaNoWriMo last November. I'd say it was a pretty smart decision.

CRUSHER tells the story of Finn Maguire, a down-on-his luck kid comes home from his job at a fast-food restaurant one day to find his dad brutally murdered. Finn can't imagine who would want his father dead, so he begins his own investigation into his dad's murder. His quest to solve the crime becomes even more urgent when he realizes that the police consider him to be the prime suspect!

Finn's investigation takes him to London's underworld where he encounters a dangerous leader of organized crime. As Finn begins to uncover secrets and get closer to the truth, he discovers that it's hard to know who to trust. And when he finds that his life is in danger, he learns that people will go to any means to keep their secrets safe.

I thought CRUSHER was pretty much like a great roller coaster ride. It was fast-paced, had lots of ups and downs, as well as some pretty crazy twists; and I never knew what was coming around at the next turn. I read the book in just two sittings, and I think that worked really well for me. CRUSHER was definitely full of action scenes, and I can honestly say that I was never bored.

One of the things that I appreciated about CRUSHER was the character of Finn. Even though he was a little rough around the edges, I really liked him. Finn was a teen who didn't really have much direction. His dad was really his step-father, his mom had left him a few years back, and he didn't have much luck with school. My heart definitely went out to him because he had already had a rough life, and I found myself rooting for him to clear his name. As I read more and more of this story, I also found that I began admiring Finn for his resourcefulness. He may not have had much school smarts, but he certainly was clever.

Another thing I really enjoyed about CRUSHER was the story itself. I don't know if I can express just how many twists and turns there were in this story. Every time I began to think I was figuring things out, something else would happen to change my mind. I can assure you that I had no idea how the murder mystery would be resolved, and I'm still shaking my head at how the novel ended. I feel pretty confident in saying that I'd be amazed if any reader actually was able to figure out the guilty party and the motive.

I'm not sure I'd say CRUSHER is an "ideal" book club selection, but I do commend the author for addressing some pretty serious issues in this novel. I liked that this book touched on death and grief, parent/child relationships, human trafficking, bribery, and deceit; and I do think that Finn is a fascinating character to analyze. Maybe it's not to much of a stretch for CRUSHER to be discussed between teens and adults!  

While CRUSHER is being marketed as a young adult novel, I do think there is a lot of cross-over appeal for adult fans of thrillers and suspense novels. The story is very smart and edgy, and Finn actually seems very mature during certain scenes. Plus, there is no doubt that CRUSHER had some very "adult" moments. As a mother, I should mention that the book is geared towards an older YA audience because of the violence (it's brutal!) and a few other things (if you get my drift!) 

Overall, I was very impressed with Mr. Leonard's debut attempt at fiction; and I look forward to more of his novels. In fact, I wouldn't mind if Finn returns in a future book or two.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I wonder just how many books that are written during NaNoWriMo are actually published. This sounds like a real page turner.

Beth F said...

I was wondering the same as Kathy about NaNoWriMo. Interesting connection with the Shady books.

Anyway, this one sounds good and I'll have to add it to my list for me or my nephews.

Laura Fabiani said...

Sounds like a real thriller and the book to read when one is in a reading slump and needs some action.

Nicola Mansfield said...

This sounds good! Will add it to the list.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds good, but not very YA-ish! But these days, the categories are getting pretty slippery!

My book for Kid Konnection is about a true story of a library for kids taken around by two burros. (Sorry can't put in direct link using the IPad because I am too IPad illiterate...)