Kevin’s older brother Adam has turned into a bad guy since their da died – he and his mates burn out a car they’ve stolen, trash the local community centre, and to cap it all, Kevin finds a gun under the floorboards. And then there’s Uncle Davy, just out of prison and already back to his old habits. When Kevin meets another kid who’s lost his dad, a new friendship forms – but both boys soon find themselves caught up in a seriously dangerous game.
This tightly plotted and absorbing novel follows the story of Kevin – a likeable teenager but unlikely hero – who gets caught in a web of crime and deception. Set in working-class Ireland with true-to-life characters and relationships, this pacy and action-focused book will get any teenage boy reading.
Siobhán Parkinson, publisher at Little Island Books, says: ‘We were delighted when Dangerous Games turned up in our inbox. It can be so difficult to find a truly brilliant book you can give to a teenage boy and know he will enjoy it – for its likeable hero as much as for its pace and action.’
Author James Butler speaks about the inspiration behind the book.
‘My own mother died suddenly when I was ten. So while working as a primary school teacher I was always aware of those pupils who had suffered the death of a parent or who lived in households where one parent was absent. I also saw how children and young people, without realising it, can absorb the ethos for good or bad of the environment they live in. A good role model can make a huge difference in a young person’s life and is even more important to the child suffering the loss of a significant adult.’
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PRAISE FOR DANGEROUS GAMES
‘An honest story of the lives of young men in a fragmented society. I loved it.’ – Senator Lynn Ruane
‘A gripping urban tale. Butler is the real deal.’ – Brian Conaghan, winner of the YA Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and the Costa Award
‘The plot whips along and the dialogue is particularly strong … It’s a gritty, honest, compelling novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ – Top Choice: Teens and Young Adults – The Irish Independent
‘If ever there was a book to encourage your young fella to abandon the X Box, this is it. Excellent.’ – Anne Cunningham, The Meath Chronicle
‘The depiction of working-class life is both welcome and nuanced.’ – The Irish Times
‘With the Irish setting an added bonus, this should surely attract and keep the interest of those in their early teens in need of good fiction … A name to watch’ – Books Ireland Magazine
‘Dangerous Games is a brilliant read… it is a heartwarming story and Butler grasps the mind of a 14 year old well. The dialogue and Irish brogue is a delight.’ – Tierney A, a 5* Goodreads review
James Butler’s background is in education and drama. He holds an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. For many years he taught in a school in Tallaght. In 2005 his first play for children, Stuck in the Mud, was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award. In 2011 his play for teenagers The Teen Commandments was included in the Trinity College London Anthology of Award-Winning Plays. In 2016 his radio play The Carpet Clown was produced by RTÉ Drama On One as part of The PJ O’Connor Awards. His latest play, Scattered, explores the transition made by children from primary school to secondary.