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North of Montana (Ana Grey #1)

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  416 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
When [F.B.I. agent] Ana Grey is given a high-profile case involving a Hollywood actress who claims that her doctor has hooked her on illegal drugs, Ana's own puzzling history collides with her investigation and she must face an uncomfortable truth about her family and herself."
A notably literate crim
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 29th 1995 by Fawcett (first published 1994)
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Staci Woodburn
Aug 13, 2015 Staci Woodburn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read outside my normal genre for the Ana Grey books on the recommendation of a friend. After one, I was hooked. This is the note I sent him while on the second book:

I was reading while waiting for the bus this morning. When it pulled up, I got on without looking up. Still on the bus 45 minutes later, it's pouring rain and hail and no one can figure out how to close the roof hatch that I'm sitting under. Which is of course when I finally stopped reading and noticed that not only am I getting p
Aug 27, 2011 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Is it wrong to complain that a book is just too derivative when it's genre fiction like a mystery? I mean, there are only so many plots, so many psychological drivers for the hero(ine), and so many red herrings and double switchbacks that the plot can follow. The answer is, yes, it's fine to complain, because the pleasure in a genre novel is the quality of the journey along those well-worn paths. In police procedurals that really work, character, setting, plot and neurosis converge time and time ...more
Josh Ades
Apr 13, 2009 Josh Ades rated it really liked it
April Smith barely squeezed out a 4-star rating on her first novel. The main plot itself was formulaic and fine, but nothing more than a nod to the great noir culture of Los Angeles. What kept the A plot from being compelling is that the protagonist never really faltered from her course. There wasn't much conflict. She hit a couple dead ends, had a semblance of a relationship with a movie star consider getting in the way, and was mildly distracted by the B plot, but none of these elements really ...more
When FBI agent Ana Grey is assigned to the case of a murdered young woman, she already knows information her peers don't know: this may be one of Ana's distant relatives. The crime procedural genre is tricky to write well; it is all too easy to use clichés based on audience expectations. But this author can write well enough to break that cage. This was a fun read. ...more
Ann Marie Haase
Jan 08, 2014 Ann Marie Haase rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with family issues
Recommended to Ann Marie by: -
I have just finished this book. April Smith involves a brash, uppity strong character, Special Agent Ana Grey with the FBI. She is out to prove that women can do it and she does. Working as a homicide and robbery detective for seven years, she is aching for a promotion. However, she faces a man who made a pact with the devil and he uses his position to block her advancement. With the head of the division, she finds herself working on a political case which involves many people pushing levers she ...more
Chris W Sears
Jan 22, 2014 Chris W Sears rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've lived in Los Angeles a long time and this, my friends, is it. North of Montana has the most beautiful, ugly, and honest view of this city that I've ever seen. It gets beneath the knotted freeways and make-up that we've seen again and again.

Ana Grey, I just want to give her a hug and tell her it will be all right. Like the view of the city, Ana Grey is an honest look at character. In a single scene, she is tough, vulnerable, disappointed, compassionate, and angry at the world. Such a mix of
It was okay.
I am still trying to desire if I liked this store. I feel that I am not really that interested in reading another in the series so I believe I really did not like it that much. It also took me too long to read which says it was not my cup of tea. There seems to be too much detail or description that takes away from the story line for me. The ending seems to leave too much up in the air so that you might feel you need to read the next. I would say read at your own risk. You might enjoy it.
Rogue Reader
Jul 31, 2011 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it
North of Montana (Knopf, 1994) is April Smith's first mystery, which I first read in 1994. It was a delight to renew my acquaintance with FBI Special Agent Ana Grey in anticipation of Smith's visit to Southern Oregon on Friday August 12, 2011.

Smith, and Ana Grey, are even better than I remembered. North of Montana plunges the reader into Los Angeles' cultural morass: merengue, en plein air and the celloid screen - the street and the wealthy, co-existing and parasitic, dysfunctional. Ana Grey is
April Smith is another author I’ve never read before and, as always, I am a little leery of reading new authors because I never know what I’m going to get. Will it be a winner or a loser?

North Of Montana had a long build-up to the main plot line – investigating a movie star’s claim that a doctor hooked her on prescription drugs. While this often slows the pace of the story down, it seems to be more and more common these days. Several sub-plots that only tangentially touched on the main one slowe
Jun 05, 2008 Maurean rated it liked it
This is Smith’s first novel and it centers on Ana Grey, an ambitious, FBI agent with 7 years at the L.A. field office, who is looking to move up in her career after her recent “perfect bust” of a local bank robber. However, instead of the transfer she expects, she is assigned to a high-profile case involving an aging actress and her claims against a local doctor that he got her addicted to drugs.

Meanwhile, Ana receives what she believes is a scam call, asking for her help of the children of a re
May 20, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
actual book, n ot on tape.
Weird of me.... the title confused me "what is north of montana?"
but the novel is set in LA and santa monica.... oh year, north of montana, where the hero and I rarely go.

this book came HIGHLY recommended while at the Festival of Books.
I just finished this book and good morning killer on book on tape.
I found good morning killer to be part FBI story and 2 parts soap opera on his personal life.
I liked the character of ana but i wanted more time on the pot and not on her l
I got this book for free via Facebook. Seriously! There was an ad on the side of the page saying, "Want a free thriller or mystery novel?" I thought "Sure!" and clicked immediately, expecting some sort of catch. There wasn't one. A few weeks later I got the new edition of the book with a nice note from Vintage. Lesson: not all Facebook ads are annoying, and/or lies, and/or scams. Just most of them are.

Anyway! To the book itself.

It wasn't terrible. It opens well -- I thought the writing was fairl
April Suter
FBI Agent Ana gets a case that becomes personal when a person of interest in the case happens to be related to her and is dead. Someone is responsible for giving the famous atress drugs and really she isn't sure it is the doctor that is accused. The novel is a trip that helps define her past but drops many important pieces along the way.
Apr 28, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thought it was north of Montana, the state, but it is north of Montana, a street in LA.
FBI agent Ana Grey works on a case involving a famous movie star a la Elizabeth Taylor.
Learns about the past she had repressed.
Lots of meat in the story.
Well done.
Oct 01, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a whole lot. I didn't find it predictable and enjoyed Ana's relationship with her coworkers. I thought it moved at a good pace and that the characters were well-developed, not hastily drawn. I will definitely seek out more books by this author.
Jun 18, 2012 Sue rated it liked it
this was not what i expected, Montana being a street in California that divides the "haves" from the "have-nots"-but it was an ok book. Ana seemed to jump around a lot as far as her emotions, i have to wonder why she became an agent since she seems a little unstable at times (you would think with all the psychological checking that people in that position would need to go thru, they would maybe have noticed something about her?) BUT it turns out she really has a bunch of skeletons in her closet. ...more
Barbara Zimmerman
one dimensional, boring characters -takes forever to develop a plot. I didnt finish it because I just couldnt get into it. this book sucks especially after one reads a really excellent writer of crime fiction such as Ann Cleeves
Apr 24, 2012 Beth rated it liked it
I'm thinking North of Montana is about, uh, what state is north of Montana? But no, it refers to a section of Los Angeles, the fancy dancy section, where the movie stars and doctors live. The main character, Ana Grey, is an FBI agent and pretty looney. She wants out of her bank robbery section so badly that she is willing to work on a fluff job, investigating the claims of an actress desparately trying to keep from going to seed. The side story of her (possible) long lost distant cousin, gunned ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fbi-crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Robinson
This was the first in a series featuring a Latino female detective and is pretty well done. Not enough depth or humor or uniqueness to keep me going on series though.
Jan 14, 2016 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy books with a rugged it is a woman FBI agent crime fighter with a little romance thrown in to spice it up! Fast pace, good humor
Erica Hudson
Dec 23, 2014 Erica Hudson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Aug 16, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat out-of-control female FBI agent in Los Angeles runs wild, causes innocent suicide, doesn't bother to look back,
Kari Gulbrandsen
Dec 26, 2015 Kari Gulbrandsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one a lot. Will definitely look for the next in the series.
Jan 28, 2014 Allyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun, speedy L.A. mystery with a feisty, but wounded female narrator/FBI agent with some scary blind spots. Much of the suspense involves trying to figure out if/when she'll realize she has been too confident in her detective work or that she's been played.
Mar 16, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok
New mystery, okay book.
Eileen Engel
It did not go anywhere
Aug 27, 2012 Mick rated it liked it
I felt FBI agent Ana Grey was immature and unpredictable. Did she really take a transmitter to a doctors exam room without official authority and no under wear? Why did agent Grey risk screwing around in the early hours with a married man in the strawberry fields? Does she want a promotion or a reprimand? Maybe she just likes living on the edge. This is an interesting read, the characters are well developed, strange and believable.
Jun 11, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 1st of the Ana Grey series...Ive read 2-4 and enjoyed them...pedestrian crime novels, but I like the character development of Ana...North of Montana references neighborhoods that are less than the upper crust LA this one she's sucked into a high "Juju" case involving an aging A-list entertainer's accusations ruining a doctor as well as the murder of a young woman who may be distant relation...Like the series!
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Here's the down and dirty: grew up in the Bronx, went to college in Boston, graduate school in California, back to Cambridge to write a first failed novel and learn how the world works by writing ad copy,west to Los Angeles in 1976 for a career writing and producing TV, until the writer's strike of 1988 when I wrote my first novel on spec, North of Montana. Two wonderful grown children and the bes ...more
More about April Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Ana Grey (4 books)
  • Good Morning, Killer (Ana Grey, #2)
  • Judas Horse (Ana Grey, #3)
  • White Shotgun (Ana Grey, #4)

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