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Special Agent Ana Grey—intense, unpredictable, brilliant—returns in an electrifying new novel of suspense.<br><br>Even on leave from the FBI, Ana can’t kick old habits: when she witnesses a drive-by shooting at an Italian restaurant in London, she helps the injured and gives testimony to the police. Still, it comes as a shock when, soon after, the Bureau contacts her—not because they want her to investigate the shooting, but because they want her to investigate the half sister she never knew she had, Cecilia, who lives in Siena and is married to Nicosa, a coffee mogul with some suspicious connections. Settling into their home under false pretenses is the least of the complications Ana encounters. The entire city of Siena is gearing up for its legendary horse race, the Palio—the dazzling annual culmination of ancient rivalries between the city’s many wards. But when her nephew is stabbed and her sister goes missing, Ana understands with painful clarity that there’s more than a horse race at stake here. And for Ana herself, it will mean an almost impossible choice between duty and family.
<span class="h1"><strong>Robert Crais Reviews <i>White Shotgun</i></strong></span> <p>In the language of the mafias, a murder where the body is never found is called <i>lupara bianca</i>, or white shotgun. To disappear with no one knowing how they killed you is a terrible warning, as it haunts the souls of those left behind. April Smith’s <i>White Shotgun</i> will haunt you.</p> <p>Let’s cut to the chase: I love Smith’s work. She is one of the finest, smartest, most gifted writers working in crime fiction today, and <i>White Shotgun</i> is her best novel since the justifiably celebrated <em>North of Montana</em>, the novel that introduced FBI Special Agent Ana Grey. <i>White Shotgun</i> is an edgy, realistic, personal trip down the rabbit hole of an FBI undercover operation into one of the ‘mafias.’ Note the plural. This ain’t your daddy’s mafia. The new mafia is called the mafias. Forget Sonny Corleone, what you think you know from <i>The Godfather</i>, and rehashed <i>Sopranos</i> tropes straight outta Jersey--what you will read here in Smith’s thoroughly researched and realistically portrayed thriller is the way its done, now, today, straight outta Italy.</p> <p>This is the real deal.</p> <p>These days, the ‘Ndrangheta clan of the mafias occupy “the sh-t-caked bottom of Italy’s boot, a multibillion-dollar crime syndicate made up a hundred tribal families with blood ties, six thousand strong, holed up in remote mountain villages,” exactly like the Taliban operates in Afghanistan. Cracking the scores of families that operate out of inaccessible fortress towns, from where they run heroin from the poppy fields of Afghanistan (feeding cash to Taliban warriors) to the port of Naples, and eventually to my home town, and yours, here in the U.S. of A., is of prime concern to the FBI--and Special Agent Ana Grey.</p> <p>Grey has little choice. It turns out Nicoli Nicosa, a new breed mafia associate who operates as a coffee magnate, is a primary person of interest for the FBI. When it becomes known that Nicosa’s wife, Cecilia, is a half-sister Ana never knew existed, and has reached out to Ana for an unknown reason, the FBI brass force Grey into a deep-cover op to gather intelligence. But when Cecilia is kidnapped, Ana finds that a rekindled sense of family inspires her to step outside the FBI and risk her career by working “off the books” with her sister’s mobster husband to bring Cecilia home. Enlisting the help of her ex-Delta-Force boyfriend, Sterling McCord, and a tactical force of recruited mercenaries, Ana hangs her life and career over the edge to recover her sister, dead or alive.</p> <p>Smith renders the southern Italian setting with such honesty and care you will feel the touch of ancient stone and smell espresso as you read. Similarly, Ana Grey is evoked with such authenticity and realism you can feel her body heat.</p> <p>This is Smith, the writer, showing us how it’s done.</p> <p>This is Smith’s talent and skill at work (and the work is difficult, believe me), creating not only a balls-to-the-wall crime thriller, but a full-blown novel of depth and richness (and, for the action prone among you, both the best sniper scene and best rendition of a hostage-recovery assault I’ve read, period, bar none.)</p> <p>But, ultimately, after the smoke clears and the bodies are counted, April Smith has given us more.</p> <p><i>White Shotgun</i> is a novel about redemption and growth, and the healing power of love and acceptance, and the acceptance of love. Hard won lessons to learn, but worth learning.</p> <hr noshade="noshade" size="1" class="bucketDivider"/>