Meanwhile an undercover cop is travelling north with some of the Millwall contingent. His mission is to identify the ringleaders and gather evidence against them.
Three illegal immigrants have been transported to Carlisle and are about to meet their new employers.
Nothing is as it seems for Evans and his Major Crimes Team as they battle to avoid a bloodbath while also uncovering a far more heinous crime.
'Matching the Evidence' picks up at exactly the same point where 'Snatched from Home' ends. I've read it twice, before and then after reading 'Snatched' and the second time round, with more background knowledge of the characters, the experience was totally different and much more enjoyable. So, even though this book can be read as a standalone, I would still recommend readers to read 'Snatched' first.
As a 'punishment' for taking the law into his own hands and not following procedure (as always) in Snatched, maverick DI Harry Evans and (as a result) the other Major Crimes Team detectives are put to shame by the top brass and ordered to watch over football hooligans and somehow prevent violent clashes between the rival Carlisle and Milwall supporters.
Evans soon takes the situation in hand and issues orders to identify and round up the most dangerous local thugs. In the meantime undercover cops have been infiltrated among the Milwall supporters heading north for battle.
"Are your hunches normally right?" "More often than not."
But Evans's nose tells him that something else might be brewing behind the scenes. Someone might be taking advantage of the chaotic situation in town to carry out some other heinous deed. Is he right? And what could it be?
In this novella we have the same great mix of interesting characters we had in the author's debut novel. Evans is as reckless and aggressive as ever, his retirement looming in the immediate future. His replacement, DI John Campbell, is learning fast the tricks of the trade, meeting key people and already blending quite well with the rest of the team. I don't know what the author has in store for us in his future books, but I really hope he keeps both Evans and Campbell together in the same team. Well we'll see, but together with the other detectives, they form such a formidable team.
Unfortunately sometimes I find that novellas have either been hurriedly written or end abruptly, but this wasn't the case with MtE. It's amazing how the author has managed to squeeze a full story involving not one, but two completely different cases in just a few pages.
This is another enjoyable read by Graham Smith, a fast-paced, engaging story that kept my interest throughout with ongoing action. It is brilliantly written and I practically devoured it in under an hour.
With huge thanks to Graham Smith, Caffeine Nights Publishing and my awesome blogger friend Noelle Holten for providing me with an ARC of this book.
Tying it all Together
For me, these threads are as important as the main plots because they reveal so much character, toy with the readers’ emotions and create wonderful moments of drama.
With my own Harry Evans series, I’ve managed to incorporate a similar, albeit lesser thread. This is something I have deliberately chosen to do and as I’m currently writing the third novel in the series, there are events and details from Snatched from Home and the short story collection The Major Crimes Team Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry which I’ve factored into the fabric (Do you see what I did there?) of the story. Naturally I can’t mention any of these because: A) It would be spoilerific and B) My editor may decide they’re superfluous and reach for the dreaded red pen.
However, if the red pen is reached for, the editor in question will have a fight on her hands as I’ve planned this novel more than any other and the events I’m re-examining from a different perspective will throw huge twists onto the dynamic of the team.
My forthcoming novel I Know Your Secret plays a huge part in the proceedings as well which is why I decided to drop a stitch (I’ve done it again) in Matching the Evidence. Yes, it’s the same characters, yes their dynamic is as messed up as ever, but rather than take a carpet beater (I’ll stop soon. Honest.) to the series thread, I’ve interspersed Snatched from Home and I Know Your Secret with, Matching the Evidence is a shorter fast-paced tale of deception which gives character and reader a chance to draw at least one breath.
What do the readers of this post think about series threads? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.
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. Since Christmas 2000 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 since 2009
He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team.
Matching the Evidence
Snatched from Home
Lines of Enquiry
I Know Your Secret – Out October 2016