Yellow Medicineby Anthony Neil Smith
Anthony Neil Smith's acclaimed 2008 novel about bad cop gone worse Billy Lafitte is now available on Nook. Lafitte bends the rules a bit too much as a cop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and after Katrina hits, his luck runs out. He's given a second chance in rural Minnesota thanks to his ex-brother-in-law, Sheriff of Yellow Medicine County. Immediately, Billy starts working the system--protecting meth dealers for a slice of the profits, drinking too much, intimidating civilians, and coercing the women to see things his way. But when some wannabe terrorists start moving in on meth money to help fund their operations, Billy has to choose between those closest to him and his own self-interests. The choices he makes will determine who lives and dies.
- Big Earth Publishing
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Anthony Neil Smith is the author of PSYCHOSOMATIC, THE DRUMMER, YELLOW MEDICINE, HOGDOGGIN', and the e-original CHOKE ON YOUR LIES. He's the publisher of the noir e-zine PLOTS WITH GUNS, and Director of Creative Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University.
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No matter what type of book you normally read, a good crime novel will hook you every time. What is it about them that draws us in? The struggle between good and evil? The ability to root for the underdog? Complex plot turns? I believe it is the characters. And no genre is more dependent on a winning character than the crime novel. I am not normally a crime novel reader but I can tell you that I have read every James Lee Burke novel featuring Dave Robicheaux. I'm not sure what it is about Robicheaux that fascinates me so. He's a very complicated human being with skeletons aplenty in his closets. Each Burke novel takes Robicheaux into a struggle with evil, villainous characters, for certain, but he spends a lot of time struggling with the feelings and gut reactions he has, always trying to be a better man. Anthony Neil Smith's "Yellow Medicine" has hooked me just as solidly as Burke. In it, Smith offers a beautifully crafted plot with all the twists and turns a crime reader loves and fine, natural dialogue that is essential to any novel but, perhaps, is even more critical in the case of the crime novel. For in the dialogue, both internal and external, we experience the characters as they are, as they live and breathe and speak to one another. But, these excellent qualities are not the root of my love of "Yellow Medicine". I felt completely drawn to Smith's main character, Deputy Billy Lafitte. And, honest to God, I don't know why the bastard is so likeable! Complicated and self-struggling? Lafitte makes Dave Robicheaux look like a Mormon Eagle Scout! Like Robicheaux, Lafitte is working at a job that he took after losing (getting fired!) a much bigger, better job. Instead of being relegated to the New Iberia Sheriff's Department, which is at least near Robicheaux's home, Lafitte finds himself a deputy in the frozen moonscape of Minnesota, a place about as far-flung from steamy Gulfport, Mississippi as is possible. And he hates it. Passionately. Where Robicheaux is always trying to bring back a time he sees as glorious, when men were gallant and women were fair and, well, not so chaste, Lafitte has said screw it. He sleeps with the entire female population of the county, often just to see what they look like naked, or to see some interesting body characteristic (like a breast much, much bigger than its partner). There seems to be nothing he would not do to turn advantage his way. He's self-centered, soul-challenged and, possibly, deranged. But I could not help but like him. A lot. After some thought it may be because his cruel, cold and calculating ways are his manner of protecting his soft spots. Robicheaux does the same but not in the balls-to-the-wall, damn the torpedoes, no-one-gets-out-alive vein as Lafitte. Billy Lafitte is a man's man, a ladies' man and his own man. So how is it that we're never quite sure of who he is? I recommend "Yellow Medicine" to all readers, regardless of their favorite genre. Smith has accomplished true feat of writing, he's created a real, living, breathing, troubled human being using only words. Read it! Seriously!
Going into one of these books I always leave my disbelief in the other room before I dig in. That's not a criticism either -- a lot of the stuff I love most requires a pretty stout suspension of disbelief. You know, like shoot 'em up action movies. And that is essentially what this thing is. Lots of violence. Lots of people doing really stupid things and making horrible choices. More violence. Some quiet moments of self-reflection that end with a bang when something blows up. That kind of thing. Smith handles this stuff as well, or better, as anyone. I plowed through the book, eager to see what happens next. That's the good part; it was a lot of fun and held my attention very well. Our hero, Billy Lafitte, is a good character, even as he's pretty reprehensible. The only knock I have on the book is that Lafitte doesn't live up to some of the classic characters Smith has created in other novels (Like "Choke On Your Lies" and "Psychosomatic"), but the man has set some high bars with those standalone books. Ultimately, though, I'm pretty stoked that there is another Lafitte novel waiting in the wings for me to read. And that says it all, doesn't it?
Way to many swear words....did not read passed the second chapter.