I grabbed this book without reading the cover blurb and I thought I was going to be reading a book about Canada. Nope! Montana is a street in Santa Monica that divides the "haves" from the "have nots". The street figured in FBI Agent Ana Grey's early childhood when she lived just north of Montana with her mother and her LAPD officer grandfather.
Ana is ambitious at almost thirty, hoping for a big case to slingshot her out of robbery and into the elite kidnapping unit. As the book opens, she thwarts a daylight robbery of a bank she just happens to be doing a burglary report about. Thinking this has to be her big break, Ana is disheartened to find that not only is she not being promoted for a job well done, she's getting a black mark in her personnel folder for not following proper procedure. Uncharacteristically, her supervisor decides to give her another chance and assigns her to a very high profile case. Jayne Mason, fading middle-aged movie star, has come to the FBI accusing her personal physician of hooking her on painkillers and then supplying her from a secret stash in his office. Ana is assigned to get the dirt on the doctor and solve the case. Needless to say, things aren't as they seem and Ana keeps hitting deadends.
Woven through the basic and pretty good mystery story are subplots about Ana's puzzling family history and her feelings about her very married working partner. Ana's father was from El Salvador and left when Ana was a small child. She has all but forgotten she is part Hispanic. When a call comes that her cousin Violeta Alvarado has been killed in a drive-by shooting, Ana has to reassess the image she's formed of herself and who she is.
This book is written in present tense first person but is so well done that by the end of the first page I was comfortable with it. It's also the author's first book, and I didn't find any weaknesses I could attribute to that fact. The book ended as though it would be the first of a series. I want to know what will be next in Ana's life and how she handles the changes that this book brought to her. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes soft- to hardboiled mysteries.
This report prepared by Vicky Shultz