Sunday, May 1, 2011

YELLOW MEDICINE by Anthony Neil Smith

"That's what you remember when you chop up your friend, the weird noises and the surprise at finding just how well we're put together."  
                                     Deputy Billy Lafitte

In Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith, we find Deputy Billy Lafitte starting a new life in Minnesota after Hurricane Katrina left him not only homeless, but without a family and a job when he decided to take advantage of other victims in the area by securing fees in exchange for his Good Samaritan-like behavior.

Even with the second chance provided to him by his brother-in-law, Deputy Lafitte manages to take kick-backs from the meth dealers that have set up shop throughout Yellow Medicine County, and finds himself in serious trouble when the past that he was supposed to be leaving behind in the South catches up with him in the Minnesota backwoods.

When one of the local kids, Ian, gets into trouble and goes into hiding from a group of outsiders that are wanting to move into their territory, Deputy Lafitte is asked by Ian's girlfriend,  Dawn, to help out.  From there things go from bad to really, really bad in a matter of minutes when Ian goes missing and the severed head of a blond beauty is found at one of Ian's hideouts.   After refusing a bribe from the group, it doesn't take long for Deputy Lafitte to realize that the new locals are more than just dealers looking for easy money, but are a group of terrorists wanting a quiet place to start their operation.

Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith, takes you on a wild ride of corruption and crime with a protagonist more than capable of finding his way in and out of the mess.  Deputy Billy Lafitte, although despicable and unethical, not to mention sleazy, is an amazing character in that he still manages to garner sympathy from the reader. His skills from his early days during Hurricane Katrina has actually helped him prepare and even possibly win a fight against a ruthless group of terrorists.  Not only is he quick to respond to each situation, he seems to have a clever ability to convince others to break the rules right along with him... seriously, there is no shortage of solutions for this one-man team fighting terrorist extremists. You might not like Deputy Lafitte most of the time, but you will learn to appreciate his character because he leads you to believe that he only cares about himself and that he's willing to do whatever he can to get what he wants, but towards the end of the book... well, the guy actually has a heart. And believe it or not, there  really is a good explanation for dismembering, burning and scattering the remains of his friend.

Yellow Medicine is the third book I have read this year written by Anthony Neil Smith, and just like the others, Yellow Medicine does not disappoint. Well written and highly-entertaining, the plot moves quickly and never loses its pace.   Anthony Neil Smith used the words "bat shit crazy" the other night on Twitter in reference to this book and I thought it was a great description. Yellow Medicine is definitely "bat shit crazy" in the best way "bat shit crazy" can be.  It's a must have for any fan of the noir / crime genre.

Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith is available for $0.99 on both the KINDLE and the NOOK.  And since I'm not sure how long this price is going to last, it's best you snatch a copy  now.  Don't have a Kindle?  You can download a free application for your computer HERE.

Anthony Neil Smith is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University. He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers in 2002. Other novels by Dr. Smith include Psychosomatic, The Drummer, and Hogdoggin’. He has also published over forty short stories. Dr. Smith is also co-creator and editor of the internet noir zine Plots With Guns. To learn more about Anthony Neil Smith you can give visit him on his website, Herman's Greasy Spoon.


David Cranmer said...

A spot on review of a terrific book.

nigel p bird said...

my mouth's watering. throw me a napkin. thanks.

Elizabeth said...

Nice review. This one's in the on-deck circle for me.