★★★☆☆ three out of five stars
Finn Maguire is a 17-year-old high school dropout who works at a fast food chain and lives with his ex-actor-become-writer stepfather in London. Finn’s mother left them years earlier and his father had been gone for even longer. When Finn comes home from work and finds his stepfather bludgeoned to death, the police look to him as the main suspect. It falls to Finn to find out who really killed his stepfather, but that proves difficult as he becomes distracted by the needs to find out why his mother has returned and how to win the heart of a girl who has recently tumbled into his life.
I was quite disappointed by this book. After reading Crusher‘s blurb and the front cover stating ‘A fast-paced thriller with real heart’, I expected the story to be a more traditional crime thriller. You know the sort, there’s someone in their late 20s or early 30s seeking vengeance for the murder of their estranged parent after the law has let them down. However, I was met with a pretty tame young adult style novel about a teen boy who stumbles around aimlessly trying to find who killed the stepfather with whom he lived. I’m not against reading young adult novels, they’re just not usually the type of book I prefer and I feel that the blurb could benefit from at the very least referencing Finn’s age so readers know what they’re getting.
To be honest, I found it very difficult to understand the mind of this 17 year-old boy. Whether that is because of my inability to relate to the character or the author’s story telling, I’m not sure. Finn’s behaviour throughout the book is pretty dispassionate and has no logical reasoning, even as far as teenage logic would dictate.
It feels like the book skims over the top of what could be a deep and heart-wrenching story and scratches the surface to go deeper intermittently at best. Unfortunately, the characters suffer for this. I didn’t have any real emotional investment in any of the characters, least of all the protagonist so the result was that I didn’t really care what happened to any of them. If the characters had been given a bit more depth it would have improved the story exponentially and given more reason to their actions and reactions.
Despite all of the things I didn’t enjoy about Crusher, I can see this book as a good starting point for young adult readers who want a stepping stone to the more traditional thriller or mystery novels. Crusher’s easy to follow and doesn’t have too many red herrings to confuse the point. But if you’re a seasoned horror/thriller/mystery reader, I would recommend giving Crusher a miss.
Page count: 329 [excluding acknowledgement]