Title: Dancers in the Wind
Author: Anne Coates
Series: Hannah Weybridge #1
Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Webridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross.
There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognizable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat.
As she comes to realize that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah must expose the truth—and stay alive.
Dancers in the Wind is a gripping, surprising and, at times, shocking crime novel. Set in London, it sets itself apart from many other new releases as it’s set in the early 1990s. There are so many elements to a present-day crime novel that I realise I’ve got used to and sometimes don’t even notice – new tecnology, advances in DNA testing and other scientific developments, even the different attitudes towards certain groups of people by the general public. I really liked that this novel offered that change which sets it apart from the rest.
Dancers in the Wind features some great characters. Journalist Hannah is immensely likable, and I found myself rooting for her throughout; she wants above all to keep her baby daughter Elizabeth safe, but always struggles to resist the pull of a story – both for the investigative quality and also the payment! She is a single mother AND a journalist, after all. Plus it makes a nice change to have the detective (in this case, we mainly see the investigation from the perspective of DI Tom Jordan) play a supporting part, with the main protagonist someone outside of the police force – it adds a different element to the novel. Caroline is another great character. A prostitute who works the street of King’s Cross, she can be manipulative and fickle at times, but I felt really sorry for her for a lot of the story as her tough life pulls on the heartstrings.
The storyline is really shocking at times, and provoked a range of emotions at that – ranging from sadness and shock to disgust and anger. There are some truly horrible characters and many more who are questionable in whether they knew what was going on, blurring the lines between good and bad. Other characters seem to be likable, but Anne Coates manages to inject an element of uncertainty into many of them, so that as the reader we’re unsure who can really be trusted… even the police! This made the book even more interesting.
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a crime read that’s a little different – and one which takes the reader back to the days before mobile phones, social media and the cutting edge crime-scene technology that we rely on today! I hugely enjoyed it and can’t wait for book 2.
Many thanks to Urbane Books and Love Books Tours for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.