by Niall Leonard
Published on September 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Audiobook provided by Random House in exchange for honest review.
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 down as 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…
Seventeen year old Finn leads a frugal, boring life. Go to work at a fast food fried chicken restaurant, go for a run, hang out at home with his step-father. But everything changes when he comes home from one of his shifts at work to find his step-dad dead at his desk, and the laptop where he’d been working on a screenplay loosely based on a local mobster missing.
Since Finn is a high school drop out due to his less than stellar grades/dyslexia and prior record for drug dealing, he’s immediately labeled a suspect. When the cops are forced to release him due to lack of evidence, Finn sets out to find his stepfather’s real killer–and almost gets himself killed along the way multiple times.
Finn isn’t your typical teenage boy. He’s brash, has a mouth that would make your average sailor blush, and seems pretty smart and street wise–even though he has a learning disability. But the boy is so emotionally detached, I sometimes wondered what was wrong with him. His stepfather was murdered, and he discovered the body–Finn just calmly calls the police and waits for them to show up. This is the man who has raised him all by himself after his mother abandoned them to live her own life in America, and Finn doesn’t so much as squeeze out one tear.
As Finn’s investigation takes him through London–encountering the most notoriously untouchable mobster in town, dirty cops, even dirtier school girls, crazy social workers, his stepdad’s drinking buddies, and a famous chef–he has to put his boxing training (where his nickname “Crusher” comes from) to use as there are attempts on his life, red herrings galore, and a few tense standoff scenes that keep the flow going.
I give Crusher a 3.5 out of 5. The pacing was a bit hit and miss, but the scenes with the most action just flowed along nicely. There was a good deal of violence and bad language, so I wouldn’t recommend this for the younger adults out there. Overall, this was a gritty mystery/thriller that kept me interested enough to see Finn through on his journey to find his stepfather’s killer. And it certainly wasn’t who I’d expected, either. I also loved all of the British slang and words that I’m not used to since I’m American. It was fun trying to decipher just what Finn was talking about some times!
While this book didn’t take all that long to listen to–just six hours and forty-one minutes–I enjoyed every minute of British voice actor Daniel Weyman’s narration. One thing that I did notice–and this is something that is from the text of the book and not the narrators fault–is that there are a lot of dialog tags in the book. The “I said” and “She said” got to be a bit much after a while. I thoroughly loved hearing a British accent read this book, and his different pitches and voices for the various characters were easily distinguishable.