I have been to Siena numerous times, but never with F.B.I. agent Ana Grey. In the past when I’ve visited this beautiful city I’ve been nothing more than a naïve tourist, but April Smith’s book, White Shotgun, showed me people, places and things in an exciting and far more interesting Siena.
While on vacation status in London with boyfriend Sterling McCord, Grey is witness to a brutal shootout. Before she can wipe off the debris, Grey is being sent by the bureau to Italy to gather intel on the husband of her recently discovered half sister, Cecilia Nicosa. Everything in Ana Grey’s world is deep and complex — from friends, family and lovers to the bars she visits and we are continually exposed to both the beauty and ugliness of Siena and its people.
April Smith’s characters are superbly crafted and her research is spot on. She introduces us to a mafia that no doubt exists and I hope to never encounter. The leader is known as “The Puppet,” and I’m not going to reveal why, but I assure you it has nothing to do with weakness.
I spent a few years of my life reading and reviewing crime fiction on a weekly basis and I love the genre. I always enjoy a well-written story about a tough cop or P.I., but Ana Grey is much more. She’s a complex, believable and ultimately far more compelling character than usually found in even the best thrillers and crime novels. As a narrator, Grey shares her love life, professional expertise, sense of smell and wry wit with her readers, who she steadily draws in to a realistic and desperate world.
This is Smith’s fourth (and definitely the best) book in the Ana Grey series and my only grievance is that I wish she wrote more frequently.