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White Shadow

White Shadow

4.4 18
by Ace Atkins

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'Mesmerizing-a tour de force from one of the best crime writers at work today.'-Michael Connelly

White Shadow is a fistunning? (Lee Child) noir thriller based on real-life events.

1955: Tampa, Florida is a city pulsing with Sicilian and Cuban gangsters, cigar factories, sweet rum, and violence. The death of retired kingpin Charlie Wall?


'Mesmerizing-a tour de force from one of the best crime writers at work today.'-Michael Connelly

White Shadow is a fistunning? (Lee Child) noir thriller based on real-life events.

1955: Tampa, Florida is a city pulsing with Sicilian and Cuban gangsters, cigar factories, sweet rum, and violence. The death of retired kingpin Charlie Wall? the White Shadow-has shocked the city, sending cops, reporters, and associates scrambling to find those responsible. As the trail winds through neighborhoods rich and poor, enmeshing the innocent and corrupt alike all the way down to the streets and casinos of Havana, an extraordinary story of revenge, honor, and greed emerges. For Charlie Wall had his secrets-secrets that if discovered could destroy a criminal empire and ignite a revolution.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One of the major achievements of Atkins's fictional account of the murder of former mob boss Charlie Wall, the White Shadow of the title, is his mesmerizing recreation of the steamy, dangerous, pulsating city of Tampa, Fla., circa 1955. Surprisingly, Dufris, a veteran of more than 250 audiobooks, selects a straightforward, unaccented and bland approach to the atmosphere-rich novel. The book's protagonist and narrator, reporter L.B. Turner, referred to as a "Virginian," has a New England burr rather than an Old South slur. When it comes to Mafia and Cuban gangsters, Dufris rises to the occasion with an assortment of properly gruff and/or Latin accents. The audio package improves on the novel with a bonus disk, where Atkins eloquently outlines the events that triggered his interest in a nearly 50-year-old murder and offers anecdotes about his research. Just as fascinating are his interviews with former newsmen Bob Turner and Leland Hawes and retired detective Ellis Clifton, men whose voices and memories, presumably recorded during the last few years, seem as vital as they were back in the day. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, June 3). (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It's 1955, and the Ybor City area of Tampa is a melting pot of Cuban and Sicilian immigrants liberally laced with gangsters vying for control of the city's gambling, prostitution, drug, and liquor concessions. When vice don Charlie Wall, affectionately known as The White Shadow, is murdered gangland style in his home, all of Tampa takes notice. Atkins (Dirty South) has penned a compelling fictionalized history of the affair told from a variety of perspectives-those of the prime suspects, the investigating police detective, an investigative reporter for the Tampa Times, and an elusive Cuban girl who was a prime mover in the case. In a Tampa Confidential style, Atkins's latest cleaves close to the truth as revealed by police reports, court documents, newspaper articles, and interviews with those involved. Not your average whodunit, White Shadow is an intriguing expos of a crime-ridden city in the not-too-distant past. Recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/06.]-Thomas Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A wild ride back to south Florida in the mid-1950s, when reporters were boozy, women were floozies, cops were for sale and stone killers managed somehow to be colorful. On Monday, April 15, 1955, person or persons unknown severely punished Charlie Wall, king of the bootleggers in his time, with a baseball bat and then slit his throat-a homicide never solved. This is the pivotal, real-life episode Atkins uses to spin his tale of murder, betrayal and revenge in tempestuous Tampa, a city once dubbed "Little Chicago." Mob hits then were as integral to the scene as senior-citizen ex-pats are now. So who rubbed the old man out? Was it Santo Trafficante, operations boss of that busy crime triangulation-Sicily to Tampa to Havana-who might have arranged the deed simply because he could? Or how about Johnny Rivera, a hood's hood, sullen, reptilian, unburdened by anything resembling a conscience. Had he become convinced that the old man had grown loose-lipped with age? Detective Ed Dodge, the anomalous cop without a price tag, likes Johnny for it. But then he likes Johnny for just about anything that is vicious, cold-blooded and fatal. On the periphery as the drama unfolds, a kind of Greek chorus, are the reporters: 26-year old J.B. Turner, serving Atkins as alter ego and narrator; and smart, beautiful, endlessly enigmatic Eleanor Charles, chief among them-sniffing at the action, ever alert for byline material, seemingly safe behind the shield of their notebooks. Until suddenly they aren't. Atkins (Dirty South, 2004, etc.) mutes his Nick Travers series, benching the blues-loving ex-footballer, for something much more ambitious. This is a big-time crime novel crammed with violence, sex and somepretty good writing makes it hard to put down.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ace Atkins is the author of four Nick Travers novels: Crossroad Blues, Leavin' Trunk Blues, Dark End of the Street, and Dirty South.

William Dufris has been nominated nine times as a finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award and has garnered twenty-one Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which also named him one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century. He has also acted on stage and television in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

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White Shadow 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
nookaddictKR More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Always nice to get an education while being entertained!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
For years Charlie ¿White Shadow¿ Wall ran the Tampa, Florida mob. Now Charlie retired as he knows that being the kingpin is a young man¿s game with him finding it increasingly difficult to stay alive from the assorted rivals and employees who want to dethrone him. However, in April of that year, someone stabbed elderly Charlie killing him.----- Detective Ed Dodge and Tampa Tribune reporter Leland Hawes investigate the homicide that each assumes ties back to the White Shadow¿s mob days could someone have feared that Charlie knew too much and with Kefauver making noise in DC was about to reveal secrets. Dodge and Hawes travel the city to include the infamous Latin Quarter of Ybor City, Sunset Park and more before heading to Havana as they follow clues that look promising but seem to go nowhere with the mob watching every step they take just in case.----- Though a fine mystery based on the real homicide of Wall in 19555 Tampa, WHITE SHADOW feels more like a historical tale with a whodunit subplot as the story line contains a who¿s who of 1950s Florida and Cuba. The investigation is terrific, but it is the tidbits from the era and the persona like Castro who brings what seems now like ancient history (the Dodgers are still in Brooklyn winning their only world series while located there while L.A. is not even a strategic objective). True crime fans, the historical mystery audience, and readers who appreciate a look back at the ¿Happy Days¿ of the Eisenhower era will appreciate Ace Atkins ine ¿reenactment¿ thriller.----- Harriet Klausner
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