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?
Reading an ARC of Graham Smith's new upcoming novella 'Matching the Evidence', I noticed that there are references to certain facts and cases that take place in the author's first novel, so I've decided to read 'Snatched from Home' to have the whole story.
What happens in this novel is every parent's worst nightmare. Nicholas Foulkes has amassed a huge debt thanks to his gambling habit. One night masked intruders kidnap his two children, Samantha and Kyle from under his and his wife Victoria's noses. If they want to see their children again, the debt must be paid in full by the given deadline, or else...
"I'll do whatever it takes to get them back."
This book shows just how far a mother is prepared to go to save her children. But I couldn't have guessed what this desperate woman's maternal instinct would drive her to do. In the Foulkes family, Victoria is the one with the balls not her husband and I really admired this woman.
But the star of this book and series is without doubt DI Harry Evans, the boss of the Major Crimes team. He's quite an unforgettable character! To tell the truth I'm not sure whether I liked him or not. There were times when I admired him, others when he made me laugh but there were others when I would have gladly given him a good kick up his backside. To say Evans is a strong character is an understatement. I think he's one of the harshest DIs I've ever encountered to date in police procedural novels. An old-school copper in his fifties, he's arrogant, obnoxious and confident but fair and goes about as if he owns the place. He knows almost everyone and everyone knows him on his patch in Cumbria. But now after thirty years of service his time is almost up. His superiors can't wait to get rid of his insubordination and renegade ways. In fact his replacement, in the form of DI John Campbell has already joined his team "to bring order to the chaos of Evan's reign". Harry does not want to leave the force, but if he isn't given an opportunity to stay, he wishes to go out with a bang. Little does he know that soon his wish will come true...
The author has weaved a suspenseful, fast-paced plot with twists and turns throughout around some very interesting characters. The Major Crimes team is made up of a well balanced mix of individuals and I'm sure that in the future we'll see this great team solving many more complex cases. The kidnappers (especially Blair) were just nasty and I felt terrible for the two kidnapped kids. I admired Samantha's courage and perseverance throughout the ordeal (must have got that from her mother!).
Well, this book is a hell of a roller-coaster ride that increases speed the further it goes. By the end it's a desperate race against time. I couldn't believe this was the author's debut novel. There isn't a moment without some action going on. Short chapters made this read an even more enjoyable experience and I felt like I was flying through the book. I liked the clever way the author has intertwined one case with another. The ending is simply spectacular and I really liked it. By the end I could understand better DI Evans' results-driven, no nonsense way of carrying out his job. The man is not as bad as he gave the impression at the beginning.
'Snatched from Home' is a brilliant, nail-biting crime thriller, the start of an exciting series and I highly recommend it. Now I can't wait to read the author's next full-length novel to be published soon after 'Matching the Evidence'. And yes, it will feature DI Evans with his bossy character too!
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 eleven 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 for the well respected review site Crimesquad.com for over two years.
As well as reviewing for Crimesquad.com Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.