Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used against You: Stories

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This riveting debut collection of short fiction about women cops comes from the author's real–life experience as a Baton Rouge police officer. In an entirely fresh and unique voice, these stories reveal the humanity, compassion, humour, tragedy and redemption hidden behind the "blue wall."

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You centres on the lives of five female police officers. Each woman's story–like each call in a police officer's day–varies in its unique drama, ...

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Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used against You: Stories

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Overview

This riveting debut collection of short fiction about women cops comes from the author's real–life experience as a Baton Rouge police officer. In an entirely fresh and unique voice, these stories reveal the humanity, compassion, humour, tragedy and redemption hidden behind the "blue wall."

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You centres on the lives of five female police officers. Each woman's story–like each call in a police officer's day–varies in its unique drama, but all the tales illuminate the tenuous line between life and death, violence and control, despair and salvation. Because the stories come from the author's own experience, they open a curtain on the truth behind the job–how officers are trained to deal with the smell of death, how violence clings to a crime scene long after the crime is committed, how the police determine when to engage in or diffuse violence, why some people make it from the academy to the force and some don't, and all the friendships, romances, and dramas that happen along the way. It illuminates not only how officers feel while they are in uniform, holding their guns, but also what they feel after they go home and put those guns aside.

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Editorial Reviews

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Stories that [put Drummond’s] insider’s knowledge to work, offering fresh insights into the lives of police officers and women.”
Time Out New York
“Drummond’s clear voice shuns distracting, overtly literary first-book flourishes. The author’s mapping of complex terrain ...keeps the pages turning.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune
“…Elegant, graceful, unexpected and completely haunting. Drummond brings a major new talent to the crime fiction scene.”
Cincinnati Enquirer
“Unflinching in its portrayal of [female officers’] lives.”
San Antonio Express-News
“Unforgettable stories. . . that will make readers suck in their breath.”
Portland Tribune
“A brilliant debut carries the flash of fact.”
Daily News
“For readers who like their crime fiction raw and flavored by moral dilemmas, these stories are intriguingly fresh.”
Entertainment Weekly
“So compelling that it’s difficult to stop reading.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Fresh and engaging. [Drummond’s] stories hold pleasures beyond those of a standard whodunit.”
New York Daily News
“For readers who like their crime fiction raw and flavored by moral dilemmas, these stories are intriguingly fresh.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Strong and wise ...like the memory of a loved one passed, these stories linger long past their last breath.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“This astonishing debut collection makes it clear that Drummond was a writer long before she was a police officer.”
Contra Costa Times
“Searing…eye-opening…[Laurie Lynn Drummond] is a deft storyteller.”
The Oregonian (Portland)
“The stories are sure-footed and fascinating in their insight into the specifics of a cop’s reality.”
Bellingham Herald
“Sincere praise from Elmore Leonard is the equivalent of striking literary gold, and that’s just what Laurie Drummond has done.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060561635
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Lynn Drummond's fiction has appeared in such journals as Southern Review, Fiction, and Story, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in fiction. Formerly a uniformed officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department, she grew up in northern Virginia. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her dog, Rumi, and cat, Smilla, and is an assistant professor at St. Edward's University.

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Read an Excerpt

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You Absolutes

This really happened, this story. I've never told anyone, not the whole story. When civilians ask, I say, "No, never killed anybody." Almost apologetically because I know they want me to say yes. Because then they can ask more. Because then their minds can twist the various elements of a-woman-with-a-gun-killing-a-man into their own vicarious masturbation of fact.

This will be just the facts: I killed a man. I shot him at 1:33 A.M. He died at 1:57 A.M. That's when I couldn't get a pulse, a heartbeat. That's when the EMS boys got there and took over CPR. When they said, "Shit, sister. You fucking flatlined him." I didn't have to look at the fist-sized hole in his chest where my own hands had just been, massaging his heart, swearing at the goddamn sonofabitch to come back to life goddamnit. I knew he was dead.

This really happened; it's the absolute truth. He was twenty years old. His name was Jeffery Lewis Moore. He had a gun, and I shot him. My job is to enforce the law and protect citizens. Our departmental handbook stipulates: A police officer may use deadly force when her own life or the lives of others are in mortal danger. So it must be true.

Every night when I go home after shift, I run my hands lightly over my body as I undress. The tips of my fingers catch the new scratches on my hands and arms, tiny red vines, an unreadable map. The burn from the teeth of the cuffs, I remember it catching my skin only now; the new welt on my side, unexplainable; the constant, steady bruise on the hipbone where my gun caresses the skin a deeper purple day afterday; the red mark, raised and uneven and mysterious on the back of my knee. The knot on my arm from the night before is smaller, less painful; the flesh is stained a darker green, a more vivid yellow. My breasts are sore and tender from the bulletproof vest. I unbraid my hair and shake it loose. One of my fingernails is torn and bleeding; my tongue glides quickly over the rusty sweetness. I taste others' sweat.

I stand under the shower. I place both hands on the wall and lean into the water, stretching out the muscles, pulling them long the length of my body.

Okay, I tell myself. Every night I tell myself, okay.

In the newspapers, they don't refer to us by name. Not at first. I am "the uniformed police officer"; he is "the alleged suspect." The official forms list us as Officer Joubert and Perpetrator Moore. Only in his obituary do they print the full name of Jeffery Lewis Moore. He is survived by his mother, two brothers and a sister, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He graduated from Roosevelt High, liked to skateboard, sang in his school choir. Both of his brothers will serve as pallbearers. No cause of death is mentioned.

In the newspapers, there are editorials about rising crime: armed robberies, burglaries, carjackings, murders. Reporters call the precinct. They call my home. "Do you believe your actions were justified?" they ask. "How did it feel to shoot someone? Was there anything else you could have done?" One reporter wants to write a profile on female police officers; she says it's a chance for me to tell my story. "Which story?" I ask her.

In the newspapers, they print statistics about the use of deadly force: how many civilians have been killedby police officers in Baton Rouge in the last year, the last twenty years. How many were "clean" shootings, how many weren't. They compile a series of articles, In the Line of Duty -- When Cops Kill, and linger over the details of my shooting. They print my age, twenty-two, and my time on the job, fifteen months. My boyfriend, Johnny, says, "Notice they don't say how many police officers have been killed or almost killed, Katie." I point out that I'm still alive. "Exactly," he says.

In the newspapers, they say I was in the right. "Officer Katherine Joubert handled the situation correctly, absolutely within departmental procedure," the chief of police says. "An unfortunate incident," he calls it. In private he tells me about a man he killed. "The guy was crazy," he says. "The impact of the bullets flipped him over backward. Amazing. Never seen anything like it." He tells me counseling is available if I want it.

The woman across the street from my house is sweeping her porch. She sweeps all the time -- the porch, the walkway, the driveway, the sidewalk. Sometimes even the street. I've lived here over a year, and every day, except when it's raining, Miss Mary sweeps. She's almost seventy and as black and shiny as a plum. "You jist a baby, be doin' this kinda thing," she's always telling me. I laugh when she says this. She's told me I remind her of her daughter, the one in California; she says we have the same toothy smile. I help Miss Mary pick the figs she can't reach from her tree out back, and she always lets me carry some home, warm and sweet from the sun.

After the shooting, I sit out on my front steps, like I do most every day after shift, drinking a rum and coke,fingering the small St. Michael's medallion that Johnny gave me, and watch her sweep. She won't meet my gaze those first days after. She sweeps fiercely -- short, sharp strokes.

I like this neighborhood, my street in particular. The live oaks are old and heavy with ball moss, the crape myrtles fighting with them for room and light. When the wind comes through here, you know it; the trees sing to you ...

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. Copyright ? by Laurie Drummond. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
Stories

Absolutes

This really happened, this story. I've never told anyone, not the whole story. When civilians ask, I say, "No, never killed anybody." Almost apologetically because I know they want me to say yes. Because then they can ask more. Because then their minds can twist the various elements of a-woman-with-a-gun-killing-a-man into their own vicarious masturbation of fact.

This will be just the facts: I killed a man. I shot him at 1:33 A.M. He died at 1:57 A.M. That's when I couldn't get a pulse, a heartbeat. That's when the EMS boys got there and took over CPR. When they said, "Shit, sister. You fucking flatlined him." I didn't have to look at the fist-sized hole in his chest where my own hands had just been, massaging his heart, swearing at the goddamn sonofabitch to come back to life goddamnit. I knew he was dead.

This really happened; it's the absolute truth. He was twenty years old. His name was Jeffery Lewis Moore. He had a gun, and I shot him. My job is to enforce the law and protect citizens. Our departmental handbook stipulates: A police officer may use deadly force when her own life or the lives of others are in mortal danger. So it must be true.

Every night when I go home after shift, I run my hands lightly over my body as I undress. The tips of my fingers catch the new scratches on my hands and arms, tiny red vines, an unreadable map. The burn from the teeth of the cuffs, I remember it catching my skin only now; the new welt on my side, unexplainable; the constant, steady bruise on the hipbone where my gun caresses the skin a deeper purple day after day; the red mark, raised and uneven and mysterious on the back of my knee. The knot on my arm from the night before is smaller, less painful; the flesh is stained a darker green, a more vivid yellow. My breasts are sore and tender from the bulletproof vest. I unbraid my hair and shake it loose. One of my fingernails is torn and bleeding; my tongue glides quickly over the rusty sweetness. I taste others' sweat.

I stand under the shower. I place both hands on the wall and lean into the water, stretching out the muscles, pulling them long the length of my body.

Okay, I tell myself. Every night I tell myself, okay.

In the newspapers, they don't refer to us by name. Not at first. I am "the uniformed police officer"; he is "the alleged suspect." The official forms list us as Officer Joubert and Perpetrator Moore. Only in his obituary do they print the full name of Jeffery Lewis Moore. He is survived by his mother, two brothers and a sister, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He graduated from Roosevelt High, liked to skateboard, sang in his school choir. Both of his brothers will serve as pallbearers. No cause of death is mentioned.

In the newspapers, there are editorials about rising crime: armed robberies, burglaries, carjackings, murders. Reporters call the precinct. They call my home. "Do you believe your actions were justified?" they ask. "How did it feel to shoot someone? Was there anything else you could have done?" One reporter wants to write a profile on female police officers; she says it's a chance for me to tell my story. "Which story?" I ask her.

In the newspapers, they print statistics about the use of deadly force: how many civilians have been killed by police officers in Baton Rouge in the last year, the last twenty years. How many were "clean" shootings, how many weren't. They compile a series of articles, In the Line of Duty -- When Cops Kill, and linger over the details of my shooting. They print my age, twenty-two, and my time on the job, fifteen months. My boyfriend, Johnny, says, "Notice they don't say how many police officers have been killed or almost killed, Katie." I point out that I'm still alive. "Exactly," he says.

In the newspapers, they say I was in the right. "Officer Katherine Joubert handled the situation correctly, absolutely within departmental procedure," the chief of police says. "An unfortunate incident," he calls it. In private he tells me about a man he killed. "The guy was crazy," he says. "The impact of the bullets flipped him over backward. Amazing. Never seen anything like it." He tells me counseling is available if I want it.

The woman across the street from my house is sweeping her porch. She sweeps all the time -- the porch, the walkway, the driveway, the sidewalk. Sometimes even the street. I've lived here over a year, and every day, except when it's raining, Miss Mary sweeps. She's almost seventy and as black and shiny as a plum. "You jist a baby, be doin' this kinda thing," she's always telling me. I laugh when she says this. She's told me I remind her of her daughter, the one in California; she says we have the same toothy smile. I help Miss Mary pick the figs she can't reach from her tree out back, and she always lets me carry some home, warm and sweet from the sun.

After the shooting, I sit out on my front steps, like I do most every day after shift, drinking a rum and coke, fingering the small St. Michael's medallion that Johnny gave me, and watch her sweep. She won't meet my gaze those first days after. She sweeps fiercely -- short, sharp strokes.

I like this neighborhood, my street in particular. The live oaks are old and heavy with ball moss, the crape myrtles fighting with them for room and light. When the wind comes through here, you know it; the trees sing to you ...

Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
Stories
. Copyright © by Laurie Drummond. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

Anything You Say Can And Will Be Used Against You is a no-holds-barred account of the lives of five female police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each woman's story -- like each call in a police officer's day -- varies in its unique drama, but all the tales illuminate the tenuous line between life and death, violence and control, despair and salvation.

These stories reveal how officers are trained to deal with the smell of death, how violence clings to a crime scene long after the crime is committed, how the police determine when to engage in or diffuse violence, why some people make it from the academy to the force and some don't, and all the friendships, romances, and dramas that happen along the way. In an entirely fresh and unique voice, these stories reveal the humanity, compassion, humor, tragedy, and redemption hidden behind the "blue wall." This is fiction at its most true-to-life.

Topics for Discussion

  1. If you made an emergency call, would you want a man or woman on the scene, or would it depend what was going on?
  2. Police officers perform a vital service for all of us, every day. But in "Katherine's Elegy," Drummond hints at reasons other than altruism for becoming a police officer. Why do you think people become police officers?
  3. From reading her stories, do you think Laurie Lynn Drummond thinks that women approach the job of being a police officer differently than men do?

About the Author

Laurie Lynn Drummond's fiction has appeared in such journals as Southern Review and Fiction and Story, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She is an assistant professor at St. Edward's University, where she has taught creative writing for the past eleven years. She was formerly a uniformed police officer with the Baton Rouge City Police Department. She grew up in northern Virginia and now lives in Austin, TX.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    I hope there are more books to come.

    In a nutshell? Interesting, complex, compelling characters. Wonderful writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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