book review & $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway: Crazy Dangerous

Title: Crazy Dangerous

Author: Andrew Klavan

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Complimentary Copy from Litfuse Publicity Group

Rating: B


*Warning, this review contains spoilers.*

So, I feel a bit conflicted about this book. While I enjoyed the story overall, I felt the ending left me hanging, wanting more clarity. Having said that, this is my first foray into the world of juvenile fiction, so maybe my thirty-something analytical mind is looking into the plot with more depth than my teenage counterparts who can just accept a story at face value and move on. …?

So, here are my thoughts.

The Pros:

  • Andrew Klavan is a wonderful storyteller. He has achieved what I (probably) never will when it comes to writing style: he has captured the active voice perfectly. The writing is crisp, intentional, and fast. Crazy Dangerous  is an adrenaline ride from beginning to end, with plenty of twists and turns and mystery and suspense to keep the plot unpredictable. (For example, I was expecting to encounter a few zombies … nope.)
  • Crazy Dangerous deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, including bullying, mental illness, and the current trend in the increase in violence among teenagers. It it is done so without being preachy. We simply are given a glimpse of the characters as they are.
  • The protagonist, Sam Hopkins, is a hoot! I found myself giggle time and again at his wit and internal stream of consciousness. In Sam we find a boy who often finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. For his involvements Sam suffers the consequences, dusts himself off and gets right back in the game relying on the mantra Do right. Fear nothing.
  • If I had to choose a main theme surfacing over and over again it would be ‘actions have consequences’. Throughout Crazy Dangerous the characters are faced with complicated circumstances that require a response. Many life-lessons present themselves in regard to the reality that actions, either ill- or well-intentioned, have consequences; sometimes with hefty repercussions. The line in the sand for Sam Hopkins is whether he is willing to make the hard choices, go against the crowd, overcome fear, and do the right thing when faced with a series of circumstances that beckon for someone to get involved.

The Cons:

  • For a book marketed as “juvenile fiction” I felt it contained a lot of violence. Especially the climactic event at the end which involves a plot to mow-down spectators at a high school stadium with semi-automatic guns. Would I have felt this resistance as a teenager reading this book? Probably not. However now that I’m a thirty-something adult who is a little more conscious of the connection between the role of media normalizing violence and the effect on the cultural psyche, I’m gonna step out and say I felt it a tad bit irresponsible.
  • Overall, I felt the book lacked resolution on two levels. Again, maybe this is typical of the genre … but emotionally (and, to some degree, intellectually), I was left wanting more information about some of the characters, especially the minor characters. There is very little character development. Very little back-story provided. No explanation offered as to why some behave the way they do. They just do and often their actions are graphic and violent. And this left me feeling sad for them and hopeless for their future. Most important, however, is the lack of spiritual resolution. Published by Thomas Nelson, I expected to find an underlying presence of a voice pointing the way to Truth and hope in the midst of some heavy and chaotic circumstances, offering assurance that there is the possibility for change. I didn’t see this voice present on a broad arc.

Overall, I felt Crazy Dangerous to be a quick-witted, suspenseful, fast-paced page turner. And I will keep Andrew Klavan on my radar.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.)

About the book:
“You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and-oh yeah-the weird murder . . . you’re definitely going to want to hear about that.”

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies–prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time.

Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

About Andrew: 

Andrew Klavan was hailed by Stephen King as “the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich.” He is the recipient of two Edgar Awards and the author of such bestsellers as True Crime and Don’t Say a Word.

His books and screenplays have been turned into films directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Michael Douglas, Ed Burns, Michael Caine among others.

Hometown: Santa Barbara, California Books Sold to Date: over 1.5 million.

Further reviews, click here.

 * * * * *

Celebrate with author, Andrew Klavan, by entering his Crazy Dangerous giveaway and connecting with him during the Author Chat Party on 5/29!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A $100 Visa Cash Card
  • A copy of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan for YOU and 5 of your Friends!

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 28th. Winner will be announced at the “Crazy Dangerous” Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/29. Andrew will be hosting an Author Chat, testing your survival trivia skills, giving away books and gift certificates to iTunes and! Don’t miss a second of the “danger”!

Grab your copy of Crazy Dangerous and connect with Andrew on the evening of 5/29/12 for an author chat and lots of giveaways.

Don’t miss a moment of don’t miss this chance to connect with Andrew and enjoy an evening of chat, trivia, prizes, and more RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!


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