Books · Review · Two Stars · YA

Crusher by Niall Leaonard

Author: Niall Leonard
Publisher: Random House
Published: 13th September 2012
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC copy from publisher
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

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…


A Crime
When I first heard about Crusher at the Random House Children’s Blogger Meet, I was instantly immersed. I didn’t just want to read this book, I felt like I needed to. Swayed by the magnificent cover, enthralling blurb and the enthusiastic publicity stuff, I knew that I simply had to get my hands on this book. Which is why, ultimately, I felt more than a little disappointed when the book did not fill me with the same giddiness that I had seen and expected. In fact, I struggled to read this book from start to finish, wanting to simply put the book down and walk away on more than one occasion. I did, however, stick with it and while it was a disappointing read, I cannot deny that it did have a few good aspects that did, overall keep me entertained. I can certainly see why others have loved it so much, but for me, this book just simply fell too short off of the mark.

Is Committed
Probably because crime novels are a large part of my reading pattern, the plot of this story felt too simple and stereotypical. The storyline followed a basic pattern, but it also didn’t feel as though it had a lot of action within it. While Finn was supposedly actively seeking out his fathers’ murderer, it didn’t really come across that way in the book. A lot of what happened seemed to happen by chance rather than because Finn had instigated it. While it would be impossible to expect a teenager who had never dealt with crime before to know instantly what to do, it seemed that Finn had less of a clue than anyone. A lot of the book was filled with mundane tasks, such as Finn at work, or sitting on a bus, or watching someone from a cafe – there wasn’t a lot of action until near the end of the book and even then, to me, it felt too little, too late. This book had a large potential to be amazing, but I couldn’t help but feel like this plot could have done with a lot more work. I feel that for a newer crime genre reader, this novel will probably hit the mark of a brilliant and enticing plot but as I could easily guess what came next, I just really struggled to enjoy the experience.

Before you feel like there was absolutely nothing in this book that kept me going, I should give you some positives about it. I did like the part where Finn goes to the bar and meets his father’s friends who were more than willing to talk about the guy, and I liked the scene where Finn is taken to the broken down car lot – although some of that did seem unrealistic to me. And I did, essentially, enjoy reading the book enough to read to the end. There are only a few books that I don’t finish but this book did have enough in it to keep me reading to the end so I can certainly feel that someone other than me could enjoy it.

Suspects Are Found
One of the major problems I had with this book, the one thing that truly made it difficult to continue reading this book was the small fact that I couldn’t stand Finn. I cannot quite pinpoint what it was about him that really irritated me but I just found it really difficult to find myself attached to his character. I liked that he wasn’t a perfect guy, that he had his flaws like the rest of us but I just feel that I couldn’t get my head around him. I have a feeling that what I didn’t like about him was that he didn’t feel the right fit for a crime novel, or at least, not in the way that I see a crime novel protagonist. For me, he just didn’t have enough of the right drive. He had plenty of motivation to find his father’s killer, and he did a lot to get to the bottom of things but for me, it just didn’t sway me.

The other characters in the story were all, also, incredibly stereotypical. With the eccentric mob boss who cared enough about his children to give Finn the light of day, to the goons that helped him at his beck and call, right down to the stereotypical cops and their stereotypical routine. These characters were jarring to read, it made the book feel like it had no substance or depth. This was just a story for story’s sake and I just truly found myself struggling to take something away from the experience of reading it. I have tried to think of just one character in this story that I was at least, slightly attached to but I failed. Every character had the potential to be great but I unfortunately found them to be two-dimensional or just simply couldn’t sympathise with them.

Motives Are Theorised
While I am certain that this has been noted in other reviews, I feel it is important to note that it is very easy to see that Niall Leonard is a screenplay writer. This book has the potential to be a very intriguing and interesting film – with a little work – but the style just did not seem to work for this novel. Moreoover, this book was written during a NaNoWriMo and while I am currently doing it this year, I cannot fully condone the event but I do understand that any novel I finish this month will never be ready to be published straight away. This novel feels too rushed, it feels like it really needed to be edited a bit more to help make it live up to the potential that it held within it. I feel that Niall has a lot in him and if he continues to improve as he writes, there is a chance that he does have a good career ahead of him. I just hope that this first novel doesn’t hinder that.

Until It’s Solved
All in all, Crusher simply was not the book for me. I had hoped that it would be because the blurb really did pull me into what could have been an exciting story but it simply did not work out for me. I have heard many reviewers admit that they found it difficult to put the book down as it was enthralling and enticing, such as Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies, so when I didn’t feel that way, I felt like I was missing something. Unfortunately, I have also now read a few reviews that also didn’t feel like Crusher lived up to its potential either, such as Lucy from ChooseYA. This is a book that has a large potential to be a marmite book; you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Fortunately, I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it either. There is a few things to like about this book and I can see how some people will devour it and love it but if you’re a hardcore crime fiction fan, I would highly recommend only reading this as a break from it all. It is a story with little depth but an entertaining story that will let you escape the real world for a few hours – and isn’t that all that we should be asking for in a story anyway?

Two Stars
two out of five hearts

Faye

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