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

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

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by Laurie Lynn Drummond

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Charity Vogel
If you like short fiction and you've been hunting for something that's different - really different - in the genre, then pluck this new collection off the shelf and settle in for some gripping reading.
Buffalo News
Publishers Weekly
Combining Southern grace and urban brutality, ex-cop Drummond debuts with 10 short stories grouped into five blistering fictional portraits of Baton Rouge policewomen. Each lady is tough even without her bulletproof vest, and all are plagued by death and corruption as they undertake the bracing, dehumanizing enforcement of justice. In the three "Katherine" stories, the protagonist relates in her own dispassionate voice how she fired two shots into a robbery suspect's chest and then massaged his heart through the gaping bullet wound. She possesses a keen talent for detecting danger and the gruesome gift of determining cause and time of death-a few hours, a day, a week-from the first pungent whiffs of a corpse. In "Liz," a haunted traffic officer recuperates from a car accident, dredging up grisly memories from her days on the force; in "Mona," the burned-out protagonist struggles not to lose control in her professional and personal life. On her first day at work in Victim Services, another policewoman ("Cathy") responds to a stabbing, the knife still sticking out of the woman's chest when she arrives. Years later, after Cathy has married one of the investigators, the victim returns to ask her to reopen the case, accusing Cathy's husband of misconducting the investigation. And in "Sarah," the protagonist escapes to New Mexico from the moral morass she lands in when a group of policewomen take justice into their own hands in a Louisiana swamp. Choosing original characters over clich s and gritty detail over simplification, Drummond continually surprises with her profiles in courage, which focus on a captivating minority on the force. Agent, Jandy Nelson. 8-city author tour. (Feb. 6) Forecast: Drummond, a former cop, works with the same source material as many thriller writers, but comes up with something quite different. Readers of literary fiction are the likely audience, but booksellers might have success offering this to adventurous fans of police procedurals and true crime. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In very few words, a short story must convey a sense of place, character identity, and plot. The five tales in this debut collection by a former Baton Rouge police officer do these things successfully. The female cops profiled share the same basic core values, instincts, and personal integrity, but they meet the life-and-death challenges of their jobs in different ways. Their stories also reveal the terrible personal price that officers have to pay to keep us safe. Cathy must judge the work of fellow officers as a cold-case investigator, while Katherine loses the one she loves in a routine arrest. Then there's Mona, who has issues with her abusive father, also a cop, and almost allows those angry feelings to erupt into violence at a murder scene. Liz must go on after an accident that leaves her physically damaged. Yet it is Sarah's story that lingers after the book is finished. She belongs to a group of women officers who pray for female victims who have been tortured, brutalized, raped, and murdered. Trying to do good sometimes has the opposite effect, and Sarah, who has blamed herself for the death of a man she could not save, finally learns to live with herself in a way that readers will find emotionally satisfying. This is an exceptional body of writing; highly recommended for most collections.-Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights- University Heights P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From a former uniform with the Baton Rouge PD, a superb debut sheaf of procedurals about policewomen. With a marvelous command of fear and sensuous involvement, Drummond sucks us into ten stories about five policewomen in Baton Rouge, stories that hint at only the faintest suggestion of fiction. In "Absolute," Officer Katherine Joubert, then 22, tells about how, in the Garden District, she had to kill a very young robber, 22, who'd just held up an all-night restaurant. She chased him on foot into the dark until he came at her with a gun and knife. She shot him twice in the chest, then reached into his chest to massage his heart, but failed to bring him back to life. "I'll be washing the dishes, look down, and my hands will have become his hands, even the cut between his knuckles on his right hand will be the same. The texture of the air shifts, and all the molecules in my body separate from skin, tendon, bone, fluid, and dance out into the room, rearrange themselves, weaving between then and now before they return, reshape into me as I stand here drying my hands." In "Taste, Touch, Sight, Sound, Smell," the same character describes the dozens of rotting bodies she's investigated whose smell, invading her hair and uniform, won't depart for days despite endless showers, shampoos, dousings with perfume, and double cleanings at the cleaners. "Katherine's Elegy" is about the death of Johnny Cippoine, Katherine's husband and a good cop, then about her own seven years on the force without him, including her young lovers from the police academy-until she, too, goes down, stabbed by a perp. The longest and best stories belong to Cathy ("Something About a Scar"-both visible and hidden-"buried deepbeneath tissue and muscle and bone, in that ethereal place that makes us who we are") and to Sarah ("Keeping the Dead Alive"). Prose that weighs like a gun in your palm. Agent: Jandy Nelson/Manus & Associates Literary Agency
Entertainment Weekly
“So compelling that it’s difficult to stop reading.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune
“…Elegant, graceful, unexpected and completely haunting. Drummond brings a major new talent to the crime fiction scene.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Strong and wise ...like the memory of a loved one passed, these stories linger long past their last breath.”
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.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Stories that [put Drummond’s] insider’s knowledge to work, offering fresh insights into the lives of police officers and women.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“This astonishing debut collection makes it clear that Drummond was a writer long before she was a police officer.”
New York Daily News
“For readers who like their crime fiction raw and flavored by moral dilemmas, these stories are intriguingly fresh.”
San Antonio Express-News
“Unforgettable stories. . . that will make readers suck in their breath.”
Portland Tribune
“A brilliant debut carries the flash of fact.”
Cincinnati Enquirer
“Unflinching in its portrayal of [female officers’] lives.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Fresh and engaging. [Drummond’s] stories hold pleasures beyond those of a standard whodunit.”
Daily News
“For readers who like their crime fiction raw and flavored by moral dilemmas, these stories are intriguingly fresh.”
Bellingham Herald
“Sincere praise from Elmore Leonard is the equivalent of striking literary gold, and that’s just what Laurie Drummond has done.”
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.”

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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.

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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Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used against You: Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a nutshell? Interesting, complex, compelling characters. Wonderful writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago