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White Shotgun: An FBI Special Agent Ana Grey Novel    by April Smith order for
White Shotgun
by April Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2011 (2011)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Special Agent Ana Grey returns in White Shotgun on another mission for the FBI. Just at the time when the drug trade in Italy should be monitored, someone claiming to be a relative of Ana's in Siena, Italy, contacts the Washington office asking for her. Serendipity. Ana is sent to Siena to locate this possible relative and to nose around to find out what she can about illicit drugs passing through Italy on the way to the United States.

What she uncovers will stand your hair on end bodies dissolved in lye, a boy almost beaten to death, kidnappings accepted as the norm, kids hooked on drugs, mistresses as a way of life and tolerated by wives, and any trust in your fellow man dead long ago. Then there is the Palio. A ninety-second bareback horse race around a perilous racetrack brings out the worst in the spectators as well as the participants. Each division of the city, contrada, has its enthusiasts who will stop at nothing to win. The loser may be beaten, severely.

Ana's nephew is stabbed, almost to death. Then the boy's mother, Ana's half-sister, is kidnapped. Action never stops. The beauty of Tuscany is undeniable and author April Smith does it justice. Using this area makes the crimes committed there seem even more heinous. The plot is tightly written with fully fleshed out characters. The pace moves smartly through the countryside while the story points out that government offices in almost any country need to confer with one another to achieve what should be their joint goals.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, as well as spending some time once again in Siena and the Palio course. Spent a little time there and fell in love with the piazza, and also with porcini mushrooms. White Shotgun is an exciting book, well written.

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