Death’s Silent Judgement by Anne Coates
Death’s Silent Judgement is the thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind, and continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge.
Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice.
With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend’s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer. But before long Hannah’s investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer…
I absolutely loved the first Hannah Weybridge novel and found the protagonist very likeable. I loved that Hannah has two sides to her, the robust and feisty journalist and the sensitive single mother. The author has a real talent of throwing Hannah into murky cases full of complexity. Which makes for great reading. That being said, this novel could easily be read as a standalone.
The novel opens in 1994 London, an era and a setting I absolutely love. Hannah learns of the death of her life-long friend Liz. Liz is the friend whom Hannah named her young daughter after and as the novel unravels, we learn more about their friendship over the years. Liz was working at a dental clinic with a local church, providing dental care and treatment to the homeless and those effected by poverty. Liz’s death is rather barbaric and we later learn that she was also 10 weeks pregnant. Who was the father? Why was she killed? Is there a link to Liz’s past? Hannah can no longer ignore her concerns and decides to investigate. But trouble may already be on the horizon for Hannah………….
Liz’s past is one of such amazing depth. She had recently returned from Somalia, having been party of a team of volunteers at a camp providing medical treatment. Her mother Lady Rayman requests that Hannah sift through Liz’s possessions and paperwork, asking her to investigate further. The police officer on the case DI Claudia Turner is convinced one of the ‘down and outs’ is responsible for the murder and when a local homeless man is pulled from the Thames her interest in the case almost ceases altogether. Hannah’s grief spurs her motivation to get to the truth and she begins by speaking to everyone with recent links to Liz. Discovering paperwork referencing codename Jonah, an adopted child in Somalia and links to the murky world of sex trafficking. Hannah has to question herself, what has she gotten involved in?
With the mounting pressure of the case and the continual unravelling of the facts. Hannah is feeling the pressure once again. But as always Hannah refuses to back away from a fight for justice. With the reappearance of Paul Montague, little Elizabeth’s father. We see this case will strike right to the heart of everything Hannah holds dear…………..
There are some brilliant themes within this case. But to state them here would be to provide spoilers. but I personally think the author has really excelled herself. These themes are relevant to the case, complex yet well researched and make for fascinating reading in this multifaceted crime fiction novel. A huge 5* from me!
Q) For the readers can you give a summary of your background and your new release?
A) Love to. I have been fortunate in that all my working life has been spent in some way working with books and words as an editor and a journalist. I was born in Clapham – not so far away from where I live now – and my parents moved to Harlow in Essex (no Essex girl jokes please) where I went to school. After university which included a year at Rouen University, I returned to London where I have lived ever since. If I were to move away I’d love to live by the sea.
Every now and again I force myself out of my comfort zone like singing in a church choir once a month. I am not a natural singer so I find the need to concentrate is brilliant for stressful times. My mind cannot stray to problems.
Similarly my crime thrillers drag me out of my natural habitat. In fiction I go to and investigate dark places and themes, often frightening myself. I find I am more careful about locking doors and windows now – and checking no one is following me!
My latest book Death’s Silent Judgement picks up Hannah’s life a few months after Dancers in the Wind finished. Hannah is still fragile from her experiences and then has to face the murder of her close friend, Liz Rayman. When Lady Rayman asks for Hannah’s help, she has no idea of the complications she will discover.
Q) Within this novel there are some really multifaceted themes and complex characters. What was the research process and where did the inspiration come from?
A) I have a vivid imagination, which takes me to some surprising places. I don’t start out with a plan for the whole book so a lot of the themes evolved as the writing progressed. One thought leads to another. What inspired me initially was the loss of friends/friendship. Two very close friends died a few years ago and I miss them but that is only part of the story.
Obviously I research some of the issues but I won’t add spoilers by saying which ones.
Q) When I read about the re-emergence of Paul Montague, I knew that we were getting a ‘baddie’ type character. What made you decide to feature little Elizabeth’s estranged father?
A) Was it the car that gave him away, Abby? Of course, Paul was only referred to briefly in Dancers in the Wind and he was not shown in a good light. I wasn’t sure how his role would develop in the sequel. He’s not a really bad guy but he cuts corners and the truth isn’t his close friend.
Q) Hannah has always dealt with dark cases of investigation, that make for fascinating reading. Will we see a Hannah Weybridge #3?
A) I sincerely hope so, as I am currently writing number three – as yet I am struggling with a title. I don’t want to give too much away but I can say that the murders are moving closer to home for Hannah and the first body is found in Peckham Rye Park, very near where she lives. Again she’ll be dealing with chilling and horrendous issues which are still current although the narrative is set in 1994, a few months on from the end of Death’s Silent Judgement.
Q) I often wonder if Hannah will ever find happiness or love. This would possibly change the development of her character. Is she destined for love or heartbreak?
A) Now that would be telling, Abby! But I am so thrilled that Hannah’s situation has got to you! Hannah is very much her own person and she has found deep contentment and happiness in being a mother. Whether this will extend to include a partner – I’m not saying. That doesn’t mean to say that she’s impervious to men – far from it. At the end of book one, Hannah is involved with DI Tom Jordan but as you know he is away for most of the action in book two. That is a dramatic device – Hannah has to be on her own for the plot and it opens the way for other possible romantic involvements!
Via Publishers: https://urbanepublications.com/book_author/anne-coates/
*Many thanks to Anne, for taking part in a Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your new release 🙂