Review: Crusher by Niall Leonard

Posted 13 November, 2012 by Heather in Blog, Featured, Heather, Heather Book Review / 9 Comments


(Goodreads, Amazon)

by Niall Leonard

(Goodreads, Amazon, Website)

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…

My Thoughts:

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!




Get your own Audiobooks at Audible: Crusher.

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.


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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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9 Responses to “Review: Crusher by Niall Leonard”

  1. The title makes me want to flex and growl — Crrrrusher! Grrr! Of course, I’m weird. Sounds like an intriguing premise and I can see a couple of my guy readers really getting into it. Might have to check it out!
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    Heather 11/13/2012

    LOL, Mary! Book titles sometimes make me think of songs. This book was okay, but it held so much promise and it just needed to be polished some more. I did a little research, and I guess it was written in November 2011 and it was just published. That’s a pretty quick turn around in the publishing world. This is a good book for older guys.
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  2. I am about 150 pages in to this novel and thus far would say I completely agree with you. Great review!
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    Heather 11/13/2012

    The rest of the book seemed the same to me, Kimba. I’m not sure if I would have liked it better or worse if I’d have read it instead of listened to the audiobook. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of this!
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  3. I don’t think I have even heard of this! It sounds good but his emotional detachment might bother me a bit. I’m not rushing out to get it, but I may consider reading it in the future.
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    Heather 11/13/2012

    The author is the husband of the Fifty Shades of Grey lady, but he is an actual writer for television series in England. I was curious to see what his first novel would be like, and it could definitely use some tightening up. But it did show promise as a gritty crime thriller. I just wouldn’t call it young adult.
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  4. I wonder if the dialogue tags would be less annoying if you weren’t listening to the audio. It’s a fine line. You want enough tags to make it not confusing, but too many slows down the plot.
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    Heather 11/13/2012

    The dialogue tags are much easier to ignore in print, but in the audiobook, it’s hard to ignore when there’s a tag after almost every line of dialogue sometimes. There were some passages where only two people were talking–a man and a woman–and the tags were like this. It was really irritating sometimes. The author is working on a sequel to this book, and since this was his first work of fiction, hopefully he’ll have a more refined skill set with the new book.
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  5. Re: the “I said” “she said” thing – I recently listened to The Perks of Being a Wallflower as an audiobook (my first time listening to a book!) and found the same thing, though I just gritted my teeth and tried to ignore it…after a while I didn’t notice because I lost myself in the story. 🙂 But it *can* be annoying…at least change it up a bit… “she said”, “he mused”. LOL! Just…don’t overuse those either…*cough E.L James cough*.

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