Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quick: "The Baddest Ass" by Anthony Neil Smith

Quick: The Baddest Ass by Anthony Neil Smith, 2013, 978-1490523156 (paperback, not e-edition).

Pretty damn good.  Surprisingly good.  Not surprising because I doubt Smith, but because I've been reading some decent stuff lately and this was even better.  Not a novel for readers that avoid profanity and violence.  The story keeps trucking along and moving quick.

Third novel featuring Billy Lafitte.  Lafitte is still a scumbag and after somehow surviving the finale of the last book he is prison, where he belongs.  The North Dakota prison is a private facility that was rushed into occupancy even though it is still understaffed and under construction.

West is a recently convicted Detroit kid.  He lands in the ND prison and joins the Aryan gang for protection.  The Aryan leader sells West out for not putting out.  West forced by the black prison gang to agree to killing Lafitte.  Everyone wants Lafitte dead.  Lafitte doesn't seem all that opposed to the idea himself.  West is raped and sent into protective custody where Lafitte resides.  West did the crime but he cannot do this kind of time.  West is slowly recovering from the rape's physical wounds and constantly pressured by fellow inmates and prison guards (called cops by characters) to murder Lafitte.  Things do not end well for West.

No one is happy that West's attempt failed.  Colleen (in the last book) was helping bankroll Lafitte's murder.   She goes to the prison to discuss the issue with the leader of the black gang, Ri'Chess.  At the same time Lafitte's former mother-in-law flies up from Louisiana (Or was she in Alabama?  Doesn't matter.) with Lafitte's 10-year-old son in a "scare him straight" attempt with the boy. 

The guards and inmates are still conspiring to kill Lafitte.  Things go very, very wrong for everyone.  The grand murder plan - referred to by Colleen as "stupid, stupid, stupid" goes wrong.  Power is cut. The inmates take over the prison and murders, rapes, beatings, stabbings, shootings, arson occur.  A blizzard has severely delayed rescue.  The prison is freezing with the power out.  Things end badly.

1.  The novel is ambitiously set within only two hours of chronological time.
2.  Told through four characters: West, Colleen, Mother-in-Law, and Ri'Chess.
3.  Lafitte is only observed and described and you read his dialogue.  A big change from the previous two novels and a neat way to tell the tale. 
4.  AR-15 love.
5.  AR-15 hate.
6.  Hardcore religion.
7.  Hardcore brutality.
8.  Well, I thought the compressed time was ambitious.  I don't care if you disagree.
9.  Not without humor.
10.  .380 love/hate.

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