Maverick FBI agent Ana Grey is back in a suspense-charged new novel, going undercover into the volatile core of a terrorist cell.
Emotionally vulnerable after a shooting incident, Ana has just returned to the job when she learns that a fellow agent has been murdered by a group of hard-core anarchists operating behind the façade of FAN (Free Animals Now). Dispatched to the FBI’s infamous undercover school to learn the art of deceit, Ana takes on the identity of a down-on-her-luck animal lover determined to save the wild mustangs of the West. Now she’s ready to work her way into the inner circle of Julius Emerson Phelps, the unstable, charismatic leader of a “family” of outcasts who live on an isolated farm in Oregon, and who are preparing an act of terrorism Phelps has dubbed “the Big One.”
The stakes increase significantly when Ana learns that Phelps is playing his own game of dangerous deception, and that he possesses a stockpile of dirty secrets about the Bureau sufficient to blow it sky-high.
With razor-sharp realism, Smith renders the psychological vise of a deep-cover agent living a lie 24/7. Negotiating a minefield of loyalty and betrayal, under constant threat of discovery, Ana is forced to commit the very crime she’s determined to stop.
“A genuinely scarifying thriller with a consistently vertiginous, through the looking glass mood. Every character is a hologram of sorts and every episode has the momentum of a theme-park ride. One of Smith’s cleverest tricks here is her unsettling depiction of unlikely alliances: Ana turns out to have more in common with the villain, Stone, than she might ever have imagined.” (Los Angeles Times)
“A runaway but cagey novel that never lets up...The incidents with which Ana must deal [at FBI undercover school] are so fast, harrowing, and breathtaking that they are like skiing down the expert slope while juggling vials of nitroglycerine.” (Otto Penzler, New York Sun)
“A feverishly pitched adventure...With every dynamic scene, including a wild mustang roundup that thunders right off the page, the reader, like Ana, is reminded of the lost ideals and divided loyalties that make these mortal conflicts so bloody - and so sad.” (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)
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Great story, appalling narration
Engaging story of the training and experiences of an undercover FBI agent. Hard to believe that anyone could survive the orientation, let alone the field experience. And quite fascinating to see the way the agent Ana starts to identify with the anarchists whose cell she has infiltrated. But why, oh why, did anyone allow author April Smith to read her own book? Her voice is whiney and monotonous, her diction is terrible and it's often hard to tell which character is speaking because there is no modulation in her narrative. I'm giving this book a good rating because the story transcends the narration, but I came pretty close to giving up before I could learn that. Good narration is a talent and a skill -- it's an insult to audiobook listeners to subject them to an autnor's vanity project.
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