Dancers in the Wind – Anne Coates
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.
My thanks to Urbane Publications for my review copy which I received through Netgalley
Journalist Hannah Weybridge is working for one of the national newspapers who are running a feature on the prostitutes of Kings Cross. The assignment appears to be a bit of an eye-opener for Hannah who finds that she is extremely uncomfortable learning about the lifestyle some of the girls are living.
What Hannah does not realise is that some of the working girls have been going missing – their battered bodies turn up a few days later but the nature of their occupation means that it has not been widely reported. One of the girls that Hannah interviews (Princess) seems to have had a particularly tough childhood – Hannah has paid for her story and they spend some time together while Princess tells the story of her path to prostitution.
When Princess turns up badly battered and bloody at Hannah’s door, Hannah finds she is compelled to get urgent help for Princess and also agrees to the girl’s request not to involve the police. Hannah takes Princess into her home for a few days but these days stretch on as Princess recuperates and Hannah tries to encourage her to stay off the streets.
The pair have a somewhat troubled relationship, their very different backgrounds lead to some feisty clashes but both seem to realise that Hannah just has the best interests of Princess at her heart. Problems arise, however, when it becomes clear to Hannah that Princess has a few dark secrets and that some people will do whatever it takes to ensure Princess never gets a chance to share her knowledge with the “wrong” people. Can Hannah keep her young friend safe?
Dancers in the Wind comes under the dark and gritty tag. The nastier side of London prostitution is laid out and we learn that Hannah simply cannot trust anyone. The police do not appear to be handling the prostitute murders with any sincerity, the newspaper Hannah works for is editing and spinning her stories and Princess is dropping mysterious hints about the past actions of several characters that Hannah encounters. The story keeps you on your toes, the only person you are reasonably sure is not keeping secrets is Hannah herself!
Take a great deal of suspicion, add in some cleverly edited story jumps which keep the reader off guard. Liberally apply some great end of chapter cliff-hangers (always guaranteed to keep me reading late into the night) and we have a nice wee thriller for readers to get their teeth into.
Dancers in the Wind is published by Urbane Publications and is available in paperback and digital format here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancers-Wind-gripping-crime-thriller/dp/1911129635/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476484752&sr=8-1&keywords=dancers+in+the+wind