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Yellow Medicine (Billy Lafitte Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Neil Smith , Craig Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Deputy Billy Lafitte is not unfamiliar with the law—he just prefers to enforce it, rather than abide by it. But his rule-bending and bribe-taking have gotten him kicked off the force in Gulfport, Mississippi, and he’s been given a second chance—in the desolate, Siberian wastelands of rural Minnesota. Now Billy’s only got the local girls and local booze to keep him company.

Until one of the local girls—cute little Drew, bassist for a psychobilly band—asks Billy for help with her boyfriend. Something about the drugs Ian’s been selling, some product he may have lost, and the men who are threatening him because of it. Billy agrees to look into it, and before long he’s speeding down a snowy road, tracking a cell of terrorists, with a severed head in his truck’s cab. And that’s only the start.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Deputy Billy Lafitte's ethically-flexible approach to law enforcement has led to his dismissal from the force in Gulfport, Miss., and the break-up of his marriage in this well-written if grim contemporary noir from Smith (The Drummer). Through the intercession of his brother-in-law, Lafitte has found a new job in remote Yellow Medicine County, Minn., but his continuing corrupt ways land him in all sorts of trouble, with a trail of bodies following in his wake. His involvement with some meth dealers leads him to cross paths with some Malaysian terrorists, who are plotting to strike at America's heartland. The terrorists frame Lafitte for some gruesome murders, using the knife he'd gotten from his father to decapitate some of their victims. Smith deserves credit for taking a risk by creating a character like Lafitte, whose private code of honor-if any-is far more obscure than an antihero like Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a wiseacre southern deputy with vigilante overtones got himself transferred, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, to the frozen wastes of the Minnesota prairie? Probably not, but Smith, himself a Gulf Coast migrant to the northern flatlands, is determined to find out in this series debut that stars Deputy Billy Lafitte, a troubled transplant with a plethora of personal problems. His ex-wife and two kids, whom he professes to love devoutly, are sequestered by his in-laws Down South, leaving him no choice but to dally with a singer named Drew, who is unhappily but madly infatuated with a boyfriend of her own. That boyfriend ends up not only murdered but decapitated, and the last person with whom he can be placed is the deputy himself. Intent to clear himself, Deputy Billy is soon tangling with a drug mob and—not again!—terrorists (in Minnesota!). All in all, though, Smith has a powerful voice and delivers quite a romp, offering along the way a sort of Tony Hillerman glimpse into a part of the country that is not often the subject of crime fiction. --Steve Glassman

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XWQ0DC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,090 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough medicine that's good for you. December 13, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
As a life-long resident of southwest Minnesota, where Yellow Medicine is largely set, the first thing I looked at was the details of the setting. An author gets them wrong, and his credibility suffers. But Smith gets them right, sometimes hauntingly right, not just in the physical feel of the area but in people's attitudes and actions as he lifts the lid off what is, in truth, an often calm rural area to show us another truth: This drug use and a sometimes-nasty underside to people's behavior.

Then, of course, the rest of the novel explodes into well-crafted action and violence that is not gratuitous but is a natural extension of the sort of behavior by the sort of characters that populate the book. The central character is a flawed, relocated detective trying to make sense of his new life, post-Katrina, post-old-mistakes, in the cold and sometimes impersonal plains of southwest Minnesota. The heart of the book comes in Smith's ability to put us inside the mind of his detective so we can see his skills as a cop unfold as he breaks the case, but also be there as failures as a person keep bringing destruction to him and those around him, sometimes with extreme consequences. He's trying to learn, be better, but he sure has a hell of a hard time doing so ... and Smith conveys this so well that, as a reader, you want to take LaFitte for a walk and cuss him out every way you can: Not everyone gets a fresh start, even if they don't exactly want it. But when you get one, make the best of it.

In the end, there is redemption and one of the hallmarks of enduring, powerful literature: Change, growth, self-realization of the main character. The novel has tough language, some hyper-violence and, yes, takes southwest Minnesota's drug sub-culture to an extreme level.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Neil Smith does it again!! June 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A dirty cop runs afoul of terrorists in Minnesota.

That's the easy line. The hook. But the book is so much more. If you've read Anthony Neil Smith before, you have a good idea what you're getting into. If you haven't, you're in for a treat.

Billy Lafitte is the dirty cop. Tough, mean, trying to get by. As he gets mixed up with these terrorists, things go from bad to worse. The novel is visceral, propelling you along, forcing you to keep going to find out what happens next. It's funny, it's brutal, and overall it's a heck of a story.

Pick this one up, you won't regret it. A great, dark, gritty, hardboiled thriller. Worth every penny.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Yellow Medicine starts with one of the most memorable and engaging anti-heroes in recent memory. Mix in bent cops, a psychobilly band with a cute female bass player, terrorists in the heartland, and plenty of guns and explosives lighting up the cold dark Minnesota landscape. Tell it all in Anthony Neil Smith's lean, mean prose. You're going to love this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychobilly Madness Coming Your Way! June 13, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's no secret that I am a big fan of Anthony Neil Smith's YELLOW MEDICINE, and a fan of his other novels and stories, too. And then there's the PLOTS WITH GUNS online noir fiction zine he edits...

Face it, the dude simply does not disappoint.

With this, his third novel, Smith delivers what I've come to expect from him, and then amps it up some more and drives it home with this slambang full-throttle tale of crime, corruption, wannabe terrorists, and psychobilly madness.

Deputy Billy Lafitte, in many ways, is like a character outta a Harry Crews novel, except Neil takes Lafitte outta the South, drops him into the frozen wastelands of rural Minnesota, and then lets this guy speak for himself. It quite a ride. One every lover of crime and noir should want to take.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, dark crime fiction at it's best. September 6, 2009
Many protagonists have straddled the fence between good and bad guy but none so much or so well in recent years as Anthony Neil Smith's Deputy Billy Lafitte. Not exactly amoral, Billy cares about what he wants and does what he has to do to get it. But, in the end, even he has a moral line that he will not cross.

One of thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Billy sowed the seeds of his own destruction in a few dicey games of bad cop, worse cop. Displaced from the warmth of the Bayou to the cold Minnesota tundra, he is separated from all he once cared about (ex-wife and kids). All that draws him to action is affection for a
Psychobilly singer named Drew. When he tries to "help" Drew's boyfriend, Ian, a slow and powerful chain of events is set off. This isn't just meth mixing madmen. This isn't just a psychotic man with a fast draw. This is bad guys gone international. And Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota is just as good a place to start a jihad as any.

When it comes to fiction, Smith does it cleaner, darker and harder than anybody. He creates a story that runs to extremes and is utterly real. A character that seems despicable is not lovable nor empathetic yet utterly engrossing. And a book that has you racing to the end, regretting having read it so damn fast when you're done. Can't wait for the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Smith January 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
YELLOW MEDICINE is the first book in the story of self-destructive, corrupt-but-complex, loser-hero Deputy Billy Lafitte. After irrevocably messing up his life in Louisiana, Billy is now a cop in a back-water burg in Minnesota. In a short period of time, he's managed to establish himself as King of the Hill, controlling the county's criminal element by force, intimidation, and shady dealings. But it's a precarious perch he's on, and when sexy Drew (bass player in a psycho-billy band) needs his help pulling her boyfriend out of a bad situation, Billy's position starts to crumble. His past begins to catch up to him, and next thing he knows, he's caught up in an epic struggle against backwoods meth cookers, a government agent who wants desperately to bring him down, and... wait for it... Islamic terrorists. Billy is an absolute gem of a character, so real you want to punch him in the face with every crap decision he makes, and yet still hope against hope that he can somehow prevail as his situation gets steadily worse and worse. This is vintage Smith, right here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ended rather abruptly.
Published 6 days ago by Bob
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't, t get past the first chapter!
Couldn't,t get past the first chapter! Ugly with no redeeming literary quality
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoy reading and really like different types of books and this book I loved.
Published 22 days ago by bdrema
3.0 out of 5 stars ... books that I have read this is my least favorite. I did finish...
Of the last forty or so books that I have read this is my least favorite. I did finish reading it. The plot was fine I just got tired of the rebellious nature of our... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Bill Lanigan
3.0 out of 5 stars No Billy Lafitte fan here
Not my preferred type of story, no matter who might endorse it. The "hero" is not very like able as a crooked law enforcement officer and basically a murderer with a badge... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Terror in the Heartland
Billy Lafitte is not a good man, but he is one hell of a protagonist. Great action, great suspense, and terrific characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by johnchris
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Mess With Billy Lafitte!
At his new home, Lafitte continues his corrupt ways and finds himself caught in a web of violence and insanity involving a drug mob and terrorism. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emily McNeely
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow at times. Interesting ending!
Slow at times. Interesting ending!
Published 3 months ago by Wayne E. Becker
5.0 out of 5 stars Was hooked after a few pages
I went to college at SWSU and lived in Marshall for four years. I loved that the story took place in familiar places. It was violent but then I tell myself it's fiction.
Published 5 months ago by Kathy Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so
It was suggested as a substitute to Longmire but it is not. Much darker and not as complex a storyline.
Published 5 months ago by Larry E. Hayes
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More About the Author

I write crime novels. PSYCHOSOMATIC, THE DRUMMER, plus the Billy Lafitte series--YELLOW MEDICINE, HOGDOGGIN', and THE BADDEST ASS--and the Mustafa & Adem series--ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS and ONCE A WARRIOR.

My e-original CHOKE ON YOUR LIES was published in January 2011.

My entry in Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin's DEAD MAN series, COLDER THAN HELL, was published by 47North in January, '13.

I'm the Chair of the English Department at Southwest Minnesota State University.

I like tacos. I like red wine. Usually cheap red wine.

Check out my website at
Follow me on Twitter: @Prof_Neil_Smith


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