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“White Shadow ”

Written on: 09/03/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

White Shadow

Ace Atkins

Putnam, May 2006, $24.95

ISBN 0399153511

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 1955 Tampa, WHITE SHADOW feels more like a historical tale with a whodunit subplot, as the storyline contains a who's who of 1950's 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 fine "reenactment" thriller.

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