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White Shadow Mass Market Paperback – April 3, 2007

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425214907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425214909
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Very well written and very atmospheric.
Ace Atkins writes in a style that holds your interest...a non-fictional story written in fictional style...This book is definitely worth reading!
Too many unimportant characters that do not really add anything.
Russ Spangler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
WHITE SHADOW is a very different work for Ace Atkins, who has garnered critical and popular acclaim with his Nick Travers novels, a very readable series featuring a protagonist who is by turns a music professor and a somewhat reluctant private eye. What we have here is a more serious, much darker worldview.

It is a fictionalized account of the infamous and unsolved Charlie Wall murder, which occurred in Tampa, Florida in 1955. Wall, a one-time criminal kingpin specializing in the areas of bootlegging and illegal gambling, was found bludgeoned to death in his home, putting the city in an uproar and causing the ethically challenged police department to shift into overdrive to determine who was behind the deed. There was a surfeit of suspects, given that Wall had made a number of enemies, particularly among the Cuban and Sicilian gangsters who maintained a de facto control of the streets of Tampa while warily vying with and eying each other.

The narrative of the crime and its subsequent investigation are presented from different points of view. The primary of these are L.B. Turner, a reporter for The Tampa Daily Times, and Ed Dodge, a tough city detective who clings to ethics and truth in a sea full of sharks. There are others, however, including a beautiful young woman with a quiet, smoldering passion for revenge, and criminals who have various reasons for rejoicing in Wall's death, even as they work at cross-purposes. For even as Wall's murder is investigated, it has repercussions that quietly but surely affected events on an international scale --- even to this day --- among people and within places that did not even know of Charlie Wall's flamboyant existence and brutal end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rob Smith on November 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
WOW! Whattabook! It's hard to grab all of the adjectives needed to praise this novel. Just read it!

This could be the best fictionalized non-fiction telling of more recent Florida History since `A Land Remembered' by Patrick Smith.

It covers Tampa, Ybor City and Gibsonton history. Most of the figures in the story are real: Charlie Wall, Santo Trafficante, Hampton Dunn, George Raft, Fidel Castro, etc. Ace Atkins ties all of this together with a narrative that puts you at the scene in `54. It's a terrific book!

Many folks do not know of Florida's rampant ongoing crimewave that goes back to the 1500s and that thief Desoto. Mob activity has been but a small part of it all. Atkins really brings it alive. There are no flamingos on the beach in this novel. Then again there are no flamingos on any beach in Florida. Here's an opportunity to visit the REAL Florida, circa 1954.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on September 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a crime story set in Tampa, Florida, in 1955. It is a transition period. The older crime bosses are aging and noting that the ways of doing business are changing. Events are coming to a boil in Cuba. The story is based on real incidents and involves news reporters, police, criminals, and Cubans. There are some scenes set in Havans. Fidel Castro makes an appearance late in the story.

A retired crime boss has been murdered in his home. The police seek a motive and a killer. He had information that could be damaging to many people. There are questions about what happened to the information and about who he was talking to. It can be dangerous if an old man gets drunk and rambles on about what he knows.

The story moves back and forth between news reporters, police, criminal elements, and the Cubans (particularly a young woman refugee). Some of the police are on the take, and some of the criminal elements are not playing by the rules. News reporters investigate at their peril, and Cubans form their own society.

Some people get what they deserve. others walk away clean, and there are questions about betrayal of establishments and betrayal of ideals. The retired crime boss leaves behind some messages.

The novel was a nominee for the 2007 Barry Award for best mystery novel.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 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 fine "reenactment" thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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More About the Author

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of seventeen novels, including the forthcoming The Redeemers and Robert B. Parker's Kickback, both out from G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2015.

One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he's friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Find out more about Ace and his novels on his official website: aceatkins.com, on Facebook Ace Atkins, and on Twitter @aceatkins.

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