Thursday, June 18, 2009


Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Anthony Neil Smith now lives on the frozen prairies of rural Minnesota, where he teaches at Southwest Minnesota State University. He's the author of Yellow Medicine, Psychosomatic, and The Drummer. He's also the editor of the online noir fiction zine Plots with Guns.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to his new novel, Hogdoggin’, and reported the following:
Where Yellow Medicine was one bad man's story told to you in his own manipulative but charming voice, Hotdoggin’ expands the playing field, as Billy Lafitte, now an enforcer in a cultish biker club, is on the run all across Southwest Minnesota and South Dakota from quite a few people with separate agendas.

This page is a pivotal point for one of the characters, who's just experienced a tragic loss she blames Lafitte for, even though it was actually her and her boyfriend's fault.

After a confrontation that led to a car wreck, a fire, and the horrible death of Lafitte's former friend Deputy Nate, he faces down an angry Colleen. Lafitte tells her:

"I'm getting on that bike, if it still runs right, and getting myself out of here. If it doesn't run right, I'm going to commandeer the next vehicle that drives by. One of these options is better for you than the other, since I can't have you trying to arrest me while I'm waiting for a ride. Stop pretending to be hard and cry for your boyfriend." Lafitte nodded his head towards the fire, Nate's husk. "I don't care how bad you hate me, you'd better remember this is your fault. I was minding my own business, young lady."

She stews on that a moment or two, then tries to hold her gun on Lafitte. But in her grief, she just can't do it.

[Colleen's] voice breaking more. "It's not fair!"

Ignored her. He waited for the shot, and when it came he flinched but didn't worry. Without a doubt she'd shot it straight into the sky. Then she screamed, maybe some words in there, but mostly just ear shrieking that spread fast across the fields and scared birds out of trees.

He mounted the hog, cranked it. Looked up to see Colleen on her knees, face buried in her hands, the little gun hanging on her finger. It slipped off and fell into the grass and all you had left was her crying. It was hard crying, backed with fire and venom and if Lafitte were to wait another minute, the fire would get the better of her and she'd come up shooting.

While she missed her chance that time, she certainly changes as the novel goes on, becoming a major character. It was exciting to write that and realize what was happening. I didn't really know at first, but it dawned on me who Colleen really was and how she would react to this loss. Thrilling to watch a character defy your expectations.

I hope you'll check it out.
Learn more about Hogdoggin’ at Bleak House Books and at Anthony Neil Smith's website and MySpace page.

The Page 69 Test: Yellow Medicine.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue