The Crusher Series by Niall Leonard ~Review, Interview & Giveaway~

Every now and then we ladies at Flirty and Dirty Book Blog like to step out of the romance genre and explore other incredible reads. There has been a lot of buzz lately around the Crusher series by Mr. Niall Leonard. This YA Thriller series sounded quite interesting so I thought I would take a look for myself. WOW! What a fabulous read! You can check out my review of Crusher a little further into this post.


Crusher (Crusher #1)

The day Finn Maguire discovers his father bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in the murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.

Trawling the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, Finn exposes dark family secrets and faces danger at every turn. But he’s about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest…


Crusher (Crusher, #1)Crusher by Niall Leonard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crusher is an absolutely brilliant thrilling read! If you’re looking for a book that will blow your mind, and you love an edgy mystery…this YA thriller is just what you are looking for!

No matter how I write this review, it won’t do Crusher the justice it deserves. It was refreshing to step away from the romance genre and be completely engrossed by this riveting story! I’m dying to read then next two books in the series, Incinerator and Shredder! Crusher is edgy, so many unexpected twists and turns that had my heart in my throat. There is absolutely nothing predictable about this read! I didn’t want to put it down, I needed to know what was going to happen next. Mr. Leonard is a brilliant storyteller, his attention to detail added to the level of mystery and left this reader constantly guessing. Every situation had me on edge and every character had me wondering.

Right from the first few pages, the witty english banter caught my attention. I knew Crusher was going to be my kind of read when the phrase “jammy sod” was said within the first few pages. This is a phrase I love, and use. I’m an english transplant so I get excited by english television shows and books. I was especially chuffed that there was a token Geordie. * inserts hand clapping* Why am I envisioning Gordon Ramsey with a Geordie accent 😉 Some readers may have a problem with some of the English slang used but I think for the most part, they’ll be able figure it out.

The characters Mr. Leonard created are brilliant. Even the simplest character is so well-developed that they left me wondering what part they played in the grand scheme of the story. Finn Maguire is fabulous, his wit, the way he got himself in and out of trouble…Finn is a the kind of main character that keeps readers coming back for more. McGovern or “Guvnor” is a character I can’t quite figure out, is he a bad guy or is he a good guy, I’m dying to know. I’m still on the fence about Zoe again, Mr. Leonard has me guessing. Finn’s Dad’s pub mates reminded me of the kind of old blokes you would find in a local public house. They were brilliant.

Crusher may be a YA thriller but don’t for a minute think this book is only for young adults. This 40-something can’t wait for more of this series. This read held my attention like few books have these days, and kept me engaged. Edgy storyline, well-developed characters, an all around, thrilling ride…Crusher may just be what you are looking for from your next read. I know it was exactly what I was looking for.   Nic


 Incinerator (Crusher #2)

London ganglord The Guvnor is in hiding, and Finn Maguire has begun a new life running a boxing gym with his old friend and coach Delroy. But when Finn’s lawyer Nicky Hale vanishes overnight with all his money, Finn finds himself in hock to a loan shark with a vicious gang of enforcers. Desperate to track down Nicky and repay his debts, Finn investigates her other clients and soon finds himself engulfed in a web of lies, betrayal, malice and madness.


 Shredder (Crusher #3)

COMING JUNE 5th, 2014

A Flirty and Dirty Book Blog interview with Mr. Niall Leonard

What inspired you to become a writer?

I have always wanted to write, ever since I was a kid. I used to plan to make it a sideline to a ‘proper’ job – at one point I wanted to be a writer and a dentist. Then I thought I might be a writer and a teacher. I didn’t think many people made a decent living writing novels… and it turns out I was right!

Has your background as a screenwriter helped you?

Yes and no. Screenwriting taught me about structure and pace, and also a great deal about editing – you have to be ruthlessly efficient to fit a good story into a TV slot that’s only 43 minutes long, hitting all the ad breaks on the way. But it also hindered me, because the more successful I became the easier it got to take well-paid jobs writing to order for someone else instead of pursuing my own projects. I used to complain about how my writing was mucked around on TV shows, and my wife would always tell me that’s what I was being paid for – and if I wanted to tell my own story my own way, I should write a novel.

How different is scriptwriting from writing a novel?

The challenge of a novel is that, unlike TV where the budget is always finite, it’s theoretically possible to take the reader of your novel anywhere and do anything. All that freedom can be scary. I went for a murder-mystery story for my first novel because it was a genre I was used to and I could gently explore the possibilities of flashbacks and inner dialogue that can be so challenging in a TV show but are pretty much standard fare in novels.

What inspired you to write the Crusher series?

A friend complained that her 17-year-old son never read anything because most popular novels were romance and/or fantasy and that didn’t interest him. I immediately responded that ‘someone’ ought to write a gritty, dark detective story featuring a 17-year-old boy. He lives at home with his dad, his mother left them when the boy was 11 or so, and when the father is murdered the son is left alone in the world and has to find out why his father was killed, and by whom.

It soon occurred to me that that ‘someone’ could be me. For the next year or two I let the idea ferment, then when I discovered the NaNoWriMo event, where you’re encouraged to write a novel over a month, Crusher was the story that came to hand.

What do you hope your readers will take away from Crusher?

I hope they’re thrilled and engrossed and amused and moved, and that they want to know more about what happens to Finn as he goes through the next terrifying and turbulent few years.

Do you have plans to write anything after the Crusher series?

I have a plan for a period detective series based on a true story, but I have to say I’m slightly daunted by the scale of the research involved…

Do you prefer to write thrillers or will there be other genres in your future?

Whatever genre I go for I will always try to make the central story gripping and involving. Maybe that’s what constitutes a thriller, but I don’t know. Categories aren’t always helpful.

When you are not writing what can you be found doing?

I seem to have spent every spare minute of the last few months trying to house-train a new puppy and stop her chewing the power cables underneath my desk.

What was the last book you read?

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, a prizewinning UK novel about a young man slipping in and out of madness after the death of his brother. Right now I’m half way through The Black Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black, a new novel featuring Raymond Chandler’s hero Philip Marlowe. I’ve always been fascinated by Chandler and Crusher in a way is my version of a Philip Marlowe adventure.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Patrick O Brian, for his wonderfully researched and vivid stories of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars – 20 volumes of them starting with Master and Commander. Bernard Cornwell’s King Alfred series is every bit as enjoyable. I’m a sucker for ripping yarns, the more epic the better.



About The Author

Niall Leonard grew up in Newry, Northern Ireland. In 1977 he attended the University of York to study English, and from there went on to The UK National Film and Television School where he trained as a screenwriter and director.  His first film wasAbsolution, an old-fashioned revenge thriller with a supernatural twist, filmed on location in Newry in 1983 and starring Derek Halligan.  Niall returned to Newry In 1985 to shoot locations for his graduation movie, the black comedy No Man’s Land, starring Patrick Bergin and Des McAleer.

After graduating from the NFTS in 1986 Niall’s first broadcast work as director was the comedy series Phil and Arthur Go Off for Channel Four, followed by stints on ITV’s long-running cop show The Bill. Meanwhile Niall pursued his own projects, writing and directing the one-off black comedy Rotten Apples starring BJ Hoggand Ian McElhinney, and developing Over The Wild Frontier, a six-part comedy drama set on the Irish border, for Channel Four. Rotten Apples was revived for a short run on the Manchester Festival Fringe in 2013 and played to sold-out houses.

Niall’s first TV script to be broadcast on the network was an episode of Jimmy Nail’s cop show Spender, closely followed by Pie In The Sky with Richard Griffiths.

In 1994 Niall took up a year-long contract as a Script Editor at BBC Northern Ireland, where he got to work with his long-time hero Graham Reid on Life After Life and made the acquaintance of Belfast’s Hole In The Wall Gang. His work as script associate on their pilot for Give My Head Peace led to a partnership that continued for ten years, with Niall contributing to every episode of the immensely successful satirical sitcom and its spinoff stage productions.

In 1995 he returned to full-time writing with a script for the groundbreaking Irish comedy drama Ballykissangel and went on to create episodes of Silent Witness, Hornblower, Sea of Souls, Second Sight, and Holby City. Niall adapted the Minette Walters thriller The Dark Room for BBC1, and wrote numerous episodes over several series of Monarch of The Glen, Wire In The Blood and Wild At Heart.

in 2010 Niall completed screenplays for two big-budget feature-length thrillers for US cable TV, loosely adapted from novels by Alastair Maclean. Air Force One is Down and Puppet On A Chain.

As part of the 2011 Nanowrimo novel-writing event Niall wroteCrusher, a gritty crime thriller set in London featuring Finn Maguire, a dyslexic young offender investigating the murder of his father.  The novel was picked up by Random House for publication in September 2012, it was nominated for several Best First Novel awards, most recently by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and its sequels Incinerator and Shredder will be published in 2014. 

Niall has led seminars and workshops on screenwriting and script editing for the BBC, the Northern Ireland Film Council and the Irish Screenwriters’ Guild, and lectured on the creative process at the University of Reading.

He is married with two kids and a rather smelly dog and lives in West London.


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