Don't know how I missed commenting on this one, but Ronni gives a perfect description, and I agree with her completely!
There are a lot of new CSI type books, and while it alarms me that students are watching these shows, the books are well done and not nearly hard to deal with. Alane Ferguson's The Christopher Killer series is wonderfully done. Boys who like Blood Brothers may also like Morgenroth's Jude, which is a little grittier than I usually like, but for a longer book has enticed a lot of reluctant readers.
Thanks, Ronni! Tell your friend this is circulating really well at my library!
The author himself tags this as "for readers 14 and up".