Anne Coates’ intriguing novel centres around the investigations of journalist Hannah Weybridge, whose article on the red light district in Kings Cross spirals wildly out of control when a source is left battered on her doorstep and evidence points towards a conspiracy and police corruption.
The novel has all the elements of a classic thriller, with the twin twists that the protagonist is both a woman and a journalist. As a single mother Hannah is able to empathise with the victims and her outrage and vulnerability throughout the book allow readers to see both sides of her, presenting an interesting character readers are actually invested in as opposed to some of the one dimensional thugs set up by more conservative thrillers.
Dialogue is where the novel is let down- there just isn’t enough punch to keep up with the heart stopping plot and the gritty characters. Characterisation across the board is strong, and there are some real nasty pieces of work to watch out for, as well as some great secondary characters. The change in perspective across the chapters makes for a multidimensional read with intriguing layers of danger as the reader frantically tries to weed out the reliable from the villainous.
Fundamentally a strong thriller with great characters and an innovative narrative that presents moral challenges to the reader, this is a great read for anyone looking for an unconventional thriller that packs a punch. A combination of police procedural, private investigative thriller and dark gritty crime drama, Dancers in the Wind has something to keep everyone enthralled.