Atkins, Ace


White Shadow White Shadow (2006)
From Booklist
Atkins, who wrote an award-winning series of Tampa Tribune articles on real-life gangster Charlie Wall, uses the Mob boss' 1955 murder as a launching point for an atmospheric tale of turf war between Sicilian and Cuban gangsters in Tampa's Latin Quarter. The murder of the aging, semiretired Wall begins the story, which follows the efforts of a cynical reporter and a determined cop to peel away a multileveled cover-up and expose the truth. Atkins layers on the plotlines and the historical detail--scenes in Tampa's legendary cigar factories, even a road trip to Havana--and, despite a subplot or two too many, it all holds together just fine. The real appeal here, though, is the Latin Quarter itself--white suits, cafe con leche, bebop in sultry bars, and that heady aroma of cigar smoke mixed with corruption. James Ellroy's Black Dahlia hits some of the same notes on the opposite coast, but Atkins, also author of the Nick Travers mystery series, plays his own tune, and it puts Tampa on the crime-fiction map. Bill Ott
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