Songs of Innocence Anne Coates

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Hannah Waybridge is back in this great series set in the 1990’s

The London based investigative journalist has had some success with recent investigations, but when she stumbles across the Police recovering a body from a local pond she doesn’t realise she is about to be thrown into another.

The body is of a young Asian girl. Although the Police originally think the death is an act of suicide her family are convinced it is anything but that.

They attempt to hire Hannah to investigate the death but as a journalist she insist on doing it as research for an article, and refuses payment.

From then on she is thrown into the murky world of “honour killings” within the Indian community. The story looks at the expectations and limitations placed on some Asian girls, and their families. She identifies the fact that girls in their early teens are sometimes sent to India to marry much older men, often under false pretences.

But what happened to the girls that refused, or who were married but failed to meet the in-laws expectations of a wife.

As Hannah begins her investigation  more bodies are found. Young girls start to come forward with their own accounts and worries.

As Hannah digs deeper problems start to surface in her private life. The father of her child is in prison having been arrested as part of a people smuggling ring Hannah helped uncover in a previous investigation. As he tries to contact her it becomes apparent that she is being followed.

Is it something to do with her current investigation, or something to do with the pervious one. Is this why her ex is trying to reach out to her?

The story has plenty of twists and turns, both in the investigation into the deaths of the Asian Girls, and in Hannah’s private life. As the book races to an end the Hannah is in increasing danger. The end is brilliant.

This book highlighted problems within some sections of the Indian community in the 1990’s. These problems didn’t go away, and throughout the of the 2000’s I  have worked on numerous investigations involving Honour Killings, arson attacks, and Suicides linked to the problem. Anne Coates has painted a very realistic picture of the issues faced by some of the girls, and young women, in that community. She has captured the terror felt by some girls, and their families, and the very real dangers they faced from within the community and their own extended families.

The story is stunningly realistic.

Pages: 320

Publishers: Urbane Publications Ltd

Publishing Date: 24th May 2018. Available to pre-order now on Amazon

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Deaths Silent Judgement Anne Coates

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Deaths Silent Judgement    Anne Coates

What a fantastic read.

Set in the 1990’s, an era which is rapidly becoming my favourite for crime fiction, the story in this book is realistic, and frighteningly believable

Journalist Hannah Weybridge is back, and the story starts a short time after the end of Anne Coate’s previous book Dancers in The Wind.

When Hannah finds her best friend murdered in a church life begins to take an interesting and dangerous turn.

Her friend Liz was a dentist. She had a successful practice in the City, but since returning from carrying out charitable work in Somalia, she has also worked in the church roviding dental care to vagrants.

This opens a whole list of characters who Hannah meets.

Liz’s Mom, Lady Celia Rayman, is not happy with the Police investigation into her daughter’s murder and asks Hannah to have a look at the case.

As Hannah starts to dig she meets the vagrants who live in the Bull Ring, a cardboard city at one of London’s Train Stations. Finding out that Liz had Biblical knick-names for these patients she ponders  if the names have any significance.

She digs into the charity that Liz worked for in Africa, uncovering the uncomfortable truth surrounding Female Genital Mutilation, kidnapping, and trafficking, but has this got anything to do with Liz’s murder.

Then there’s the clergy. Liz was killed at a church working for one of the local Priests projects.

When the priest goes missing and turns up a few days later, in intensive care, Hannah becomes concerned that the church is trying to cover things up.

Hannah Weybridge is one of those characters that it is easy to fall in love with. Still traumatised by the events which took place in Dancers in the Wind. Living at home with her 14-month old daughter she is paranoid about most things. Her daughter is looked after by her Nanny, allowing Hannah to carry on her work as a journalist, but that career has been hampered by the earlier events. The story she submitted was spiked and Hannah has been shackled by a contract that allows her very little scope to write.

With her personal life falling apart, or at least becoming very complicated Hannah starts to piece together the jigsaw that was Liz’s life.

Did it involve her work with the Vagrants?

Was it something to do with the charity work that Liz had been working on?

Has it got something to do with the church?

Is Liz’s family history anything to do with her death?

All of these strands are possible right up till the last couple of chapters when things start to become resolved.

Right at the very end there’s a nice little twist. A cliff hanger which will have you waiting for the next Hannah Waybridge story just as much as I am.

Pages: 244

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Publishing Date: 11th May 2017.

Pre-order available on Amazon

Dancers in the Wind Anne Coates

Dancers in the Wind    Anne Cates

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When I requested this book from Urbane Publications I did not realise what a treat I was in for.

I had never heard of Ann Coates before, but I don’t think I’ll forget her. In fact, I think we’re going to be hearing a lot from her. This book is great.

The main protagonist for this story is the single mom, and freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge.

Hannah is struggling to make a living since the birth of her daughter, but is given a job interviewing one of the street walking prostitutes of London, and one of the police officers tasked with sorting out the prostitution problems of the capital city.

The prostitute she interviews is “Princes” the second protagonist of the story. A young girl who has run away from home and ended up on the streets of London.

The Police Officer, and third protagonist, is Detective Inspector Tom Jordan. What Hannah doesn’t know about DCI Jordan is that he is leading an enquiry into the disappearance, and possible murder, of at least three young prostitutes, all from the same area that Princess works in.

Anne Coates has given this story an extra sense of threat and realism by setting it in the mid 1990’s. An era when old school policing was still in the minds of the public, and when there was still a few “old-school coppers” running things how they wanted to, and not necessarily within the bounds of the law.

When Princess turns up at Hannah’s house having suffered a severe assault, she begs Hannah not to get the police involved.

The story the takes a path that finds Hannah getting conflicted by her own moral compass. Does she allow Princess to stay with her and her infant daughter; does she involve DCI Jordan, and it doesn’t help that she is beginning to find him more interesting than she expected but is still unsure of whether he can be trusted.

From her own aspect Princess is not sure how much to trust Hannah. She has to stay off the streets but she also has to make money. What she doesn’t want is to bump into any of her old clients. What she does do is keep journals in notebooks.

The more the story goes on the more intriguing it becomes.

I don’t want to give anything away, so no more about the storyline, but I can say I enjoyed every page from beginning to end. The pace never stops.

Anne Coates has picked a great era to set this story in. It is given more credibility being set in the 90’s than if it was set in the modern day.

Not only that, but when you finish the book you will understand what I mean when I say the storyline is given even more credence by what we now know happened in those times, and who was involved.

An absolute treat of a book. The last few pages are a preview her next book. God it’s going to be a long wait.