Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
Published: May 1, 2012Publisher: Thomas NelsonAvailable: Amazon
Sam Hopkins is bored with his status as a preacher's kid. So when a group of guys notorious for being in trouble offers him friendship, he accepts. Before long, he has several new skills—including hot-wiring cars.
At school, there's an eccentric loner named Jennifer. When Sam defends her from being bullied, she begins to seek him out as her only friend. Her ramblings often seem illogical . . . but then start to contain grains of truth. One leads Sam to discover that one of his new friends has been killed. And then she tells him, "I'm looking for the devil." Sam doesn't know what that means, but he knows it's a matter of life and death that he figure it out.
Everyone else thinks Jennifer is suffering from schizophrenia. But Sam is starting to wonder if there could be something prophetic in her words. Discovering the truth is going to be both crazy and dangerous.
Crazy Dangerous was nothing like I was expecting. The first half or so is really a look back. Sam is retelling what happened to lead up to the point he begins telling the story. This was where I was very hesitant with the story. The style wasn't something I was particularly comfortable with, though looking back I can't really pinpoint what it was that made me feel that way. The second part is told after the beginning. This part worked much better for me and it's where I really started to connect with Sam and Jennifer.
Sam is a typical teen boy, without really being typical. Klavan was able to show the pressure Sam felt being the preacher's kid, as well as showing how Sam struggles with understanding how faith and God work in the world. Sam's got a sense of humor and he's pretty mouthy, which gets him in a bit or trouble.
Jennifer was really intriguing. I know very little about schizophrenia so I don't know how accurate her portrayal is, but she clearly suffered from a mental illness. I loved how she latches onto Sam as her magical friend, that she sees him as the one person who can save her. I cried near the end when she turns around and tries to save Sam. There is a line near the end which I won't do an exact quote on because it would spoil the story, but it makes reference to how being mentally ill doesn't cause someone to be evil, that there must be something else inside them.
Klavan throws in some great twists and I didn't figure out who the villain was until right before Sam did. But once Sam figures it out and connects all of the pieces he's been given, I had one of those 'slap my forehead' moments for missing all the clues. There's lots of action and although this is Christian fiction there is some violence and dark elements.
This is a pure good versus evil story and how evil can hide in the most unsuspecting places. It is about how friendship requires faith and how believing in someone sometimes means believing in a higher purpose.
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About the Author:
Award winning author, screenwriter and media commentator Andrew Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas. Andrew has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. His books have been translated around the world. His latest novel for adults, The Identity Man, has been praised by Nelson Demille as “fast paced, intelligent and thought-provoking; a great read!” Television and radio host Glenn Beck says “Andrew Klavan never disappoints…one of the best illustrations of the power of redemption that I’ve ever read.” His last novel Empire of Lies was about media bias in the age of terror, and topped Amazon.com’s thriller list. Andrew has also published a series of thrillers for young adults, The Homelanders, which follows a patriotic teenager’s battle against jihadists. The books have been optioned to be made into movies by Summit Entertainment, the team behind the mega-successful Twilight film series.