From 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.
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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 OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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