My review of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan


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 and how I found out about it—you’re definitely going to want to hear about that. But first, I have to tell you about the stupidest thing I ever did . . .”

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.

My review:

This novel was compulsively readable and I found myself lost in the story… and sometimes scared silly. So maybe it’s not a good idea to read some of these scenes at night. Just sayin’. Anyway, I loved the mystery/suspense themes within the story and the insight into a PK’s mind. I also loved how Sam was a bit nuts and how he did so many brave things as a result. At his core, he was a good guy who cared about others. You have to admire a hero like that, even if what he did sometimes seemed pretty DRAGNET (you have to read the book to get that insider joke.)

I read this story in two sittings. I had to know what was going to happen next and if I hadn’t needed to sleep I would have read it straight through. It was pretty freaky being in Jennifer’s head at times. When she hailed “Sam Hopkins” as her magic friend and when she got spooked, I got spooked, too. There was a scene where she was almost lucid and asked why God allowed her brain to have a mental disease that was quite touching. She really did have a true friend in Sam Hopkins. Everyone needs a “Sam” in their lives.

One of the things that I found most compelling about the story itself was the message that people aren’t always what they seem. And to assume someone is a good person just because of the role they have in society and the way they act in public is not a good thing, because we all have our private lives and sometimes people who look “good” on the outside have ugliness inside of them that’s hidden. It seemed to me that part of what Jennifer suffered from was exposure to demonic activity.

At any rate, this was an intense read, but I enjoyed it and I’m not one to love scary books. Being inside the mind of a sixteen-year-old boy was kind of fun too. This is making my favorites list simply because I couldn’t put it down and I loved the message in the book. Klaven has a new fan in me, though I’m still easily scared. Just sayin’.

Crazy Dangerous was published by Thomas Nelson and released May 1, 2012.

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