Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan

Yes, both.

What if your teenage son got involved with a group of car thieves?

What if he got himself beat up trying to defend a schizophrenic friend from those same car thief cronies?

What if he then proceeded to get himself into even more trouble—with no end but a bad end in sight?

What if you were the pastor of the local Episcopal church? What if your son got arrested for murder?

Actually, this novel isn’t told from the parent’s point of view, but for some reason, I almost always turn books upside down and look at them from a parent’s viewfinder, at least for part of the time. And the scenario in Crazy Dangerous is a parent’s nightmare.

It’s also not too much fun for our teen protagonist, Sam Hopkins, who finds himself “in between a rock and a hard place.” He’s a good guy who’s running with the bad guys, and then he decides to take up a new motto, “Do right. Fear nothing.” However, it turns out that there’s a lot of really scary stuff going on in Sam’s little town, and Sam is caught right in the middle of the action.

I liked this story of a good kid, a normal kid, who’s in way over his head (literally, in the lake, at one point) and who’s just trying to do what’s right. At least most of the time he’s trying to do right. Except at the beginning of the book when Sam does something that he admits later is incredibly stupid. Sam’s term for his decision is that it was a “Dragnet”—dumb-da-dumb-dumb (like the theme music).

I would start using the term, but I don’t think my kids would get it. I do think that Karate Kid (age 15) would like this book a lot. He already sped through Klavan’s Homelanders series, which I recommend especially for teen boys who want their books to have lots of action and excitement. Crazy Dangerous fits that description, too.

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