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North of Montana: An Ana Grey Mystery    by April Smith Amazon.com order for
North of Montana
by April Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2009 (1994)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

April Smith's North of Montana is the first in the Ana Grey series. Her subsequent books Be the One, Good Morning, Killer and Judas Horse are well worth the read. As is North of Montana.

Ana Grey, an FBI Special Agent, pulls off the arrest of a bank robber single-handedly and is reprimanded for it. A woman approaches her and tells her that her cousin Violeta has been shot down and that Violeta's two children need help. Ana didn't even know she had a cousin Violeta. Life just doesn't seem to be going the way it should.

A Hollywood movie star accuses her doctor of making her into a drug addict and Ana is put onto that case. Ana has a close relationship with her partner. Just partners. Sure! Ana's family only consists of a domineering grandfather. As Ana delves into Violeta's life, she sees comparisons to her own life as she has flashbacks of her childhood.

Ana is smart, a knowledgeable agent and worthy of a promotion that is being held from her. She has a good sense of humor and is able to look deeply into her own psyche, which makes for a very interesting character. The sharp contrast of living in Los Angeles - from the poorer side to north on Montana - sounds much like every other city, but seems poignant in this novel. The background of a Hollywood life makes for very interesting reading. As does the workings of an FBI office.

April Smith writes the way I like to read. She gets down to the story and her characters immediately and lets them carry the action forward at a good pace. Read her. You'll like her.

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