Sunday, May 4, 2008

Review of Yellow Medicine

Deputy Billy LaFitte is a bad cop. He was run off the police force in his hometown of Gulfport Mississippi, and has taken a job working for his brother-in-law, who is the sheriff in the godforsaken hinterlands of Minnesota. Separated from his family, LaFitte, keeps up his old tricks, and trouble follows him in Anthony Neil Smith’s new novel Yellow Medicine (Bleak House Books, 2008).

Yellow Medicine, which is named after a real county in Minnesota, is well written. Smith is a tight writer, and he draws a sharp portrait of his antihero, LaFitte. The man is a mess of contradictions and a hopeless, lecherous screw-up, but he’s not unlikeable. The novel’s first half, which involves LaFitte trying to find a local meth dealer, cruises along quite nicely. The second half, which involves would-be Islamic terrorists and a rogue federal agent, is not as satisfying, mainly due to the fact that Smith never adequately explains why these would-be terrorists take a huge risk of exposure trying to get at a small town cop.

Still, Smith doesn't pull any punches, and Yellow Medicine is worth checking out for those who like their characters bad, their violence unflinching and their endings bleak.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)