Sunday, 7 June 2015

Snatched From Home by Graham Smith

 
The Cumbria Major Crimes team is under immense pressure to
get results. DCI Harry Evans and his subordinates, DS Neil
Chisholm, DC Lauren Phillips and DC Amir Bhaki must juggle cases
while tragedy stalks them. Up in Glasgow, DI John Campbell is
preparing to replace Evans, whose renegade ways have brought
enforced retirement.
Together they must investigate a man killed in his own home, a
vigilante group chasing a suspected paedophile, a river dammed
for no obvious reason and a woman whose cries of ‘wolf’ turn to
‘rape’. Meanwhile DC Phillips goes undercover off the books.
 

Middle-class parents Victoria and Nicholas Foulkes are distraught when their children are kidnapped against Nicholas’ gambling debts. Penniless and desperate the couple turn to crime as a way to raise the ransom.

Hot on their heels is recently bereaved DI Harry Evans and his Major Crimes team. Evans is fighting against enforced retirement and his replacement – DI John Campbell – is foisted upon him along with other cases. If he must leave the police then he wants one last big case before he goes.

In a race against time Victoria and Nicholas must evade the police while continuing to add to the ransom fund. If they don’t pay up on time the kidnappers have threatened to amputate their children’s limbs with an oxy-acetylene torch.

Can they save their children before time runs out?

My Thoughts: 

Crime is one of my favourite genres of books, and Graham Smith does not fail to disappoint. From the outset there is something gritty and real about the plots and the characters he creates. It sent my imagination into overdrive because they leap of the page as they are so life-like. 

I must admit to really liking the character of DCI Harry Evans, he is a rogue and a renegade. He ruffles feathers and will not stop until the job is done. Come hell or high water, it is his way or the highway. Looking at some criminal type characters from television for example and for me he comes across as a hybrid of DI Frost and Dr Fitz from Cracker. He is entertaining and his heart is in the right place, even if some of actions are a bit questionable.

We meet DCI Harry Evans as he is about to retire after 30yrs on the police force and he has to team up with his replacement. My only disappointment about this is whether DCI Harry Evans has many more tales to tell. He is such a character of depth, it would be a shame not to here from him some more.

The plot of the story was great, with it all tying up nicely at the end. I also thought that the pace was excellent. 

I also recommend reading Lines of Enquiry, which is a short novella first. It does an excellent job of introducing the characters and getting the setting ready for Snatched From Home.


 Many thanks to the Author Graham Smith for writing the following piece for the blog.
 

Harry Evans. Not just from Cumbria.


 When I set out writing I was conscious of the fact that I wanted to create a series of novels based around or on the same character or characters. To do that I created a close-knit police team who were diverse in their skill sets and personalities.



They are

  • DI Harry Evans – An old school renegade facing enforced retirement
  • DI John Campbell – His straight-laced replacement
  • DS Neil Chisholm – An overweight computer nerd
  • DC Lauren Phillips – An expert interrogator with a penchant for exhibitionism
  • DC Amir Bhaki – A dogged up and coming detective who is new to the team



Once I had my ensemble cast in place and a rough idea of the crime they’d be investigating and the resolution that had to happen (I fly by the seat of my pants with only a few plot waypoints in mind rather than a detailed outline) I started writing the novel which would become Snatched from Home.



As I was writing, I was always mindful that if I wanted to create a series, I had to make the characters interesting enough to make readers want to return to their company. To this end I never forgot the maxim. “Put your characters up a tree and then throw rocks at them.”



Sadly for DI Evans I went a step further and set the tree alight, then approached it with a chainsaw. It wasn’t anything personal between the two of us, it’s just that the organic ebb and flow of our interactions made every nasty thing I did to him increase his interestingness. Did I mention the tree I put him up was growing on an old Indian burial ground?



Evans went on to grow his own personality from the tribulations and trauma I put him through. While I knew he was always going to be an ornery grump, I also knew he had to be the smartest man in the room. His DNA boasts traits from myself, my father and grandfather, the mercurial Gene Hunt, the socially inept Gregory House and the constantly entertaining DI Roberta Steel from Stuart MacBride’s Logan MacRae books.



With that potent mix of personalities vying for supremacy in his head, he was always going to be hard to control. We’ve currently negotiated a truce whereby I create situations to put him in and he does his best to solve the case.



Above all he’s a bundle of contradictions. While he pays no heed to correct procedures, he spends his free time reading crime fiction novels and frequently contacts the authors to tell them of their procedural mistakes. He verbally abuses his team, but inspires great loyalty from them and like all good coppers, he’ll not let anything prevent him from bringing criminals to justice, whether his own or that of the courts.



The team supporting him all have different parts to play and I try wherever possible to use them and their circumstances to show his character while making sure each of them is interesting in their own right. Harry Evans is the main man though. Something he never lets me forget!


Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last fourteen years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com for over six years.

Links
The Major Crimes Team Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry
UK
US

Snatched from Home
UK
US

 

3 comments:

  1. Many thanks for having me over, Leah. I hope my dirty boots didn't make too much of a mess.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome. Thanks for taking the time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well you have got me interested!

    ReplyDelete