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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 (84 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: #14,461 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 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 10 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 7 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Medicine is a tonic April 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A flawed hero hell bent on self-destruction tangles with brutal lawmen and desperate bad guys in a heady brew of drugs, sex and violence. Who could ask for more?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Noir Meets Terrorism April 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was an interesting ride but mostly predictable. The twist of introducing Terrorism into the Noir genre was interesting, but the analysis of Terrorist ideologies and motivations was stilted and hackneyed.

On the whole I enjoyed the book, even if peppered with typos [for some reason 3/4 kept cropping up],but for a bit of Indie fiction it was quite good and worth the price and the time.

Recommended for Noir fans but others may wish to think twice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Down and dirty" takes on new meaning January 31, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
There's an awful lot to like about "Yellow Medicine." I always enjoy stories in settings that are new to me -- they are characters in their own right -- and southwestern Minnesota is one. The "fish out of water" back story for Billy meshed well with this, and Smith sets it all up with flavorful details. The plot is innovative and tight. And the action -- well, when a baseball pitch really moves, "filthy" is a term of respect. The same goes here. I'm looking forward to "Hogdoggin'" very much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and intense November 7, 2011
By Malixe
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got my first Kindle about a month ago, and after my purchase, the budget was tight for a couple weeks. So I was warily checking out some of the low-cost reading in the Kindle store, and this was my first purchase of Anthony Neil Smith's work. At the time I was also reading a neo-noir book by some british author who shall remain nameless (not least because I've already forgotten it); it was filed with not very interesting characters and glacial in plot development. Tedious reading.

So I set it aside for a brief moment (forever) and picked up "Yellow Medicine"-- just to see what this cheap novel with the vulgar yellow cover (not that you can see the color on a Kindle--yet--but you can see it here...) had to offer.


I've got a friend who goes out to the track and races his Porsche just for fun. He's a holy terror off the track too, a smart but very aggressive driver. When you slide into the passenger seat of his car, you're half a mile down the road before you can manage, terror-stricken, to fumble the seat belt on. Opening this book was something like that.

Smith's characters, including protagonist Billy Lafitte, are not always especially likable. But who cares? They're *interesting*. And since this is neo-noir, they don't have to be lovable, they just have to be a better choice than the people they're dealing with, and Billy passes that test...for the most part. There are plenty of other perfectly good plot synopses in other reviews here, so I'll skip that. I'll just say that this was a book that, when I opened it and got in, it peeled out, blew my hair back (pretty good since I don't *have* any hair) and kept me hanging on for dear life all the way to the end of the ride. And when it was over, I knew I'd been somewhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
And didn't finish it.
Published 3 months ago by Jill K. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars "The only way to fight the feds is keep living" -- best line in the...
The job of the writer-shaman is to act as a lightning rod for collective anxiety, and so act as a safety valve for society. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J.M. Porup
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ended rather abruptly.
Published 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 5 months 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 6 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 7 months ago by Emily McNeely
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow at times. Interesting ending!
Slow at times. Interesting ending!
Published 7 months ago by Wayne E. Becker
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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 latest novel, WORM, was published in January 2015.

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

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