Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith

Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil SmithIf you want respect from the badasses and psychos, become a cop. Then that’s who your colleagues are. – Billy Lafitte

Most people don’t take bribes or go out of their way to abuse their authority. Most people don’t routinely violate their oath of office or take advantage of people who are down. Most people wouldn’t dream of exploiting a natural disaster of historic proportions for their own gain.

Most people aren’t Billy Lafitte.

And thank god for that, because Billy Lafitte is not a nice man. Billy Lafitte is the type of thieving, exploitative, brutal thug people expect the police to protect them from. Good luck with that…Billy Lafitte is a cop.

Lafitte’s antics finally got him kicked off the Gulfport, Mississippi police force when he stooped to exploiting residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, commandeering supplies and charging scalper’s prices for things people needed just to survive. Adding insult to the injury of losing his job, his wife also decided to call it quits, taking their kids and leaving him. Most people would have taken this as a serious wake-up call to get their life in order.

Most people aren’t Billy Lafitte.

So when Lafitte gets a second chance at policing courtesy his ex-brother-in-law, Sheriff of Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, it isn’t long before Lafitte falls back into his old ways. Bored out of his mind in the remote, rural locale, Lafitte entertains himself by charging meth cookers protection money, bullying the locals, and drinking too much. Not entirely unaware of how pathetic his life has gotten, an occasional round of Russian Roulette often ends Lafitte’s evening.

Things get really interesting, really fast for Lafitte when he’s asked by a female friend for help with her boyfriend. Seems he’s gotten in over his head with some drug dealers, lost some of their product, and fears for his life. Lafitte agrees to look into the matter, and before he knows it he’s up to his ass in decapitated bodies, at odds with his own police department, the target of terrorists looking to start their own little jihād in Minnesota, and square in the cross-hairs of one very mentally unstable federal agent. Most people would breakdown and give up under that kind of pressure.

Most people aren’t Billy Lafitte.

And thank god for that, because Billy Lafitte is one of the most interesting anti-heroes I’ve had the pleasure of reading in quite some time. There’s no question Lafitte is a sleazy bastard, yet as the book progresses it also becomes clear that there’s no question he does have a personal moral code he operates by…it just doesn’t happen to jive with the law more often than not. He may get in bed with drug dealers and take payoffs from them, but he also religiously sends that money to his wife for child support. He may have engaged in despicable acts of opportunism in Gulfport, but he refused to rat out fellow cops when his feet were put to the fire. Yes, in Billy Lafitte author Anthony Neil Smith (aka Doc Noir) has created the ultimate “love to hate him” character.

And in Yellow Medicine Smith gives Lafitte plenty of opportunities to put his personal moral code to the test. Packed tight with action, Lafitte is constantly scrambling to stay one step ahead of the avalanche of hurt threatening to engulf him, having to choose between doing what he knows is right, or what’s right for him. Rarely in the real world are circumstances and decisions clearly black and white, and Anthony Neil Smith has seized upon that uncertainty by painting Yellow Medicine in a thousand glorious shades of grey.

No matter what ails you, I guarantee Yellow Medicine is just what the Doc ordered.

Yellow Medicine is now available on Kindle and Nook.

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. In addition to Choke On Your Lies, he is also the author of the novels Psychosomatic, The Drummer, Yellow Medicine, and Hogdoggin’. Smith is also co-creator and editor of the internet noir zine Plots With Guns. To learn more about Anthony Neil Smith, visit his website.

Be sure to check out Anthony’s guest post, “Choke On Your Lies: The Cover.”

1 Comment

  • Sabrina Ogden

    May 18, 2011 - 11:47 AM

    Love this review and I love this character!