Friday, January 18, 2008

Yellow Medicine -- Anthony Neil Smith

Yellow Medicine might be the name of a county in Minnesota, but it sounds downright nasty. What else would you expect from the author of Psychosomatic and The Drummer?

Deputy Billy Lafitte (nice piratical ring to the name) could be a distant cousin of Jim Thompson's Lou Ford or Nick Corey. Billy has relocated (thanks to a little storm named Katrina) from Mississippi to Minnesota. The circumstances of his life have changed and he's separated from his wife and kids (they're back with her bible-thumping parents), but he's the same kind of lawman he always was, the kind you really don't have to be arrested by. You don't even want him to try to help you.

That's what kicks off the action. Billy tries to help Ian, the boyfriend of a singer named Drew, with whom Billy has a complicated relationship. Things don't work out so well for Ian, and before long Billy is mixed up with druggies, killers, the Feds, and (yes, even in Minnesota) terrorists. Plenty of action and the usual Smith weird take on things make this one something you'll want to grab as soon as it's in print and take your medicine.

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