Dancers in the Wind is published by Urbane Publications on 13th October 2016 and is available to buy here
SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER? Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge 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 recognisable, 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 realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.
I have a very soft spot for crime dramas set in our recent past. Dancers in the Wind brings the world of 1990s Kings Cross prostitution and corruption to the forefront. I read it over the course of a morning and was totally and utterly gripped!
It is the story of a journalist seeking answers in a corrupt and dangerous environment. Hannah is a freelance journalist, who is pretty desperate for work. She finds herself covering a story featuring Princess, a young working girl in King’s Cross. At the same time, prostitutes in Kings Cross are being murdered. There is a media blackout regarding the deaths. Tom Jordan is the new police inspector in the vice squad, that Hannah connects with and interviews for her story. Jordan is being tough on crime, trying to clean up a seedy area of the city and reduce the level of prostitution. When Princess finds herself in danger, she contacts Hannah again and this sets off a chain of events. Who would want to kill Princess? How far up does the corruption go? Is Tom Jordan to be trusted? Has helping Princess put Hannah in danger?
Anne Coates captures the spirit of the 1990s brilliantly. I was instantly catapulted back there, into the days before we became glued to our mobile phones. The setting is the dark, sad world of street prostitution. If anything I was reminded slightly of Lynda La Plante’s gritty Prime Suspect, set in the same time frame. This is something very alluring about dark subject matter covered this competently. I could believe in it all.
We have two strong protagonists in Hannah and Princess. A woman fighting to survive as a journalist and mother, in a tough world, in Hannah. Princess is the product of neglect and multiple sexual abuse, by those who should have cared for her. We see the contrast between the love and stability Hannah gives her child and the sad desperate upbringing of Princess.
This is the kind of book that can easily be read in one sitting. This does not detract from the seriousness and brutality, at times, of the subject matter. Coates gives us humanity and depth, in the back story of Princess. Princess is by no means a caricature; but a girl who has been through some horrific moments in life and survived. I truly hope that we get to catch up with Hannah again. Recommended.
Dancers in the Wind is available from 13th October 2016 and is published by Urbane Publications.
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