Today I am delighted to be taking part in the final day of the blog blitz for Graham Smith’s new Harry Evans novella, No Comment. My first Harry Evans book (I know – shoot me now), I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you all in just a moment, as soon as we’ve seen what it’s all about.
About the Book
When a single mother, Julie Simon, is found in her kitchen with a stab wound to her stomach, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the case. Under the supervision of DI Campbell and witîh advice from his former DI, Harry Evans, DC Amir Bhaki fights to discover who assaulted an innocent woman and left her with life-threatening injuries.
Nothing is as it first appears and when the team looks into Julie’s life they uncover a hidden sex-life that may just hold the key to the identity of her attacker.
This may be a novella but, by ‘eck, it packs one hell of a punch into the mere 100 pages or so. For the uninitiated, i.e. me, Harry Evans is a retired DI rom Cumbria’s Major Crimes team. This book find Harry in a bit of a mess emotionally and physically, the reasons for which become clear as you read the story. I’ve not read any of the prior books so I guess, for me, there were potentially some minor spoilers in terms of the recap of Harry’s former life, but nothing that will stop me from enjoying reading the first books in the series.
From the very beginning this book has me gripped. We are faced with a woman who is being attacked in a rather brutal way, the reasons unknown and yet it is clear that she know’s why. It will take the readers the length of the novella to get to the root cause of the attack but you will be faced with clues and suppositions as the Major Crimes team investigate. As to which is the actual reason … well you need to read to find out as I’m not going to tell you.
Although this was only a short story, the tension was kept up throughout, the mystery and intrigue none abating as I wanted to learn just what as going on. The violence was kept off the page for the most part, so for the squeamish amongst you, you have nothing to fear, but that doesn’t mean that Graham Smith won’t keep you on edge. He absolutely blooming well will. This isn’t a story which needs to be gratuitous and the strength of the novella lies in the plotting and the team which Smith has created to support the story.
And what a team they are. While I may not have met them before, the author has done a great job of establishing character, so much so that I got a real feeling for each of them and was immediately wanting to learn more. From DC Amir Bhaki to DC Lauren Phillips, the tech savvy DS Neil Chisholm or the relatively new and not quite fully accepted Harry Evans replacement, DI Campbell, each ones individual quirks and style emanated from the page and made me want to get to know them better. But it is Harry Evans who you want to know the most. He’s old school, hard hitting, not quite able to retire, not quite willing to follow protocol. A flawed protagonist and although my introduction was brief, I loved getting to know a bit more about him, And Tripod. I really love Tripod. Sounds like my kind of dog.
The writing in this novella is tight, all driving the action onward at a perfect speed, with no ounce of fat or wasted paragraphs to be found. I raced through it, almost disappointed that it wasn’t longer to be fair, and I can tell already this is a series I need to catch up on. I have the next release ready and waiting for me, so I can’t wait to make a start on it. If you’ve never met Harry and Co before, then this could be a great place to start. But then why not go back to the beginning. From what I’ve seen here, you’re in for one heck of a treat. Brilliant stuff.
My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the tour and to author Graham Smith and publishers Caffeine Nights for the advance copy of the novella to review. No Comment is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Graham Smith is a time served joiner who 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.
He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.
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
Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.
Why not check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour.