Friday, July 17, 2015
Review of In The Wind by Barbara Fister (St Martins Press, 2008)
There is lots to like about Barbara Fister’s In The Wind - a strong, likeable lead character in Anni Koskinen, nice historical contextualisation, its social commentary on policing in the US post 9/11 and tensions around civil rights, and its engaging storyline. This is a novel very much of its time, capturing the social and racial divisions of American society and the divided geographies of a US city. And whilst it’s a crime thriller it takes a different path to most by portraying an alternative perspective from the typical cop or federal agency point of view. The result is a subtle but stinging critique of heavy-handed, strong-arm, politically motivated policing, and series of interesting connections to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. From the very start Fister ratchets up the tension and then keeps it taut throughout as Anni pings from one crisis to another, tries to track down clues, and to maintain fraught relationships. Whilst the solution to the puzzle is telegraphed from a very long way out, the tale remains gripping and the pages kept turning. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable, politically inflected and thought provoking, crime thriller and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Through the Cracks.