Synopses & Reviews
This riveting debut collection of short fiction about women cops comes from the author's real–life experience as a Baton Rouge police officer. In an entirely fresh and unique voice, these stories reveal the humanity, compassion, humour, tragedy and redemption hidden behind the "blue wall."
Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You centres on the lives of five female police officers. Each woman's story–like each call in a police officer's day–varies in its unique drama, but all the tales illuminate the tenuous line between life and death, violence and control, despair and salvation. Because the stories come from the author's own experience, they open a curtain on the truth behind the job–how officers are trained to deal with the smell of death, how violence clings to a crime scene long after the crime is committed, how the police determine when to engage in or diffuse violence, why some people make it from the academy to the force and some don't, and all the friendships, romances, and dramas that happen along the way. It illuminates not only how officers feel while they are in uniform, holding their guns, but also what they feel after they go home and put those guns aside.
"[A] superb debut....With a marvelous command of fear and sensuous involvement, Drummond sucks us into ten stories about five policewomen in Baton Rouge....Prose that weighs like a gun in your palm." Kirkus Reviews
"Combin[es] Southern grace and urban brutality....Choosing original characters over cliches and gritty detail over simplification, Drummond continually surprises with her profiles in courage, which focus on a captivating minority on the force." Publishers Weekly
"The five tales in this debut collection [convey a sense of place, character identity, and plot] successfully....This is an exceptional body of writing; highly recommended." Library Journal
"Her stories are so compelling that it's difficult to stop reading I was halfway through the book before I knew it....[T]hese stories aren't just about crimes but about their aftermath..." USA Today
"[S]ure-footed and fascinating....Drummond is a fine writer, and her knowledge of police work, and empathy for those who live it, make for compelling truths." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"Drummond has a forceful, straightforward detective-novel style that is well suited to her material....Drummond manages to make the daily routine of cops fresh and engaging and her characters complex enough that the stories hold pleasures beyond those of a standard whodunit." San Francisco Chronicle
"[G]rim yet insightful reading....[I]t's the book's slice-of-life authenticity that lends it such power and persuasiveness....She brings you inside the uniform as few authors can." Seattle Times
"Drummond displays a formidable talent....[S]he configures a world alive with pathos, danger and tragedy....These are quietly convincing stories that make us understand how tough the women must be to keep their lives from falling apart." Houston Chronicle
"Read [this book] to be sucked into a world where training and instinct must be backed by luck for the officer to go home at the end of her shift alive and physically intact....Then stand in line with the rest of us waiting for Ms. Drummond's next book." Dallas Morning News
"[A]n auspicious debut...written by a former police officer with a considerable gift for storytelling....Drummond's voice is clear and strong. Let's hope that we hear again from her, and soon." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"[A] deft storyteller. She has excellent control over language, a deep reach into her characters' psyches and an ear for irony....Anything You Say shows so much talent that Drummond's next work need only choose a clearer path, memoir or fiction, to make it better." Contra Costa Times
"Those readers interested in character studies, particularly women's issues, will find this collection worthwhile, with the caveat that the descriptions of violence and its aftermath can be unsettling. The blurring of genres is, however, commendable." BookReporter
I write about the stuff cops don't talk about, don't even think about in the middle of the night, because if they did, they'd never be able to go to work the next day.
In this stunning debut collection of short fiction, Laurie Lynn Drummond mines her eight years as a cop to tell the stories of five female police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In prose as unflinching as the job itself, each woman's story like each call in a police officer's day varies in its singular drama, but all the tales illuminate the tenuous line between life and death, violence and control, despair and salvation.
Revealing the humanity, compassion, humor, tragedy, and, ultimately, the redemption hidden behind the "blue wall," these stories are "like the memory of a loved one passed, [they] linger long past their last breath" (San Diego Union-Tribune).
About the Author
Laurie Lynn Drummond's fiction has appeared in such journals as Southern Review, Fiction, and Story, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in fiction. Formerly a uniformed officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department, she grew up in northern Virginia. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her dog, Rumi, and cat, Smilla, and is an assistant professor at St. Edward's University.
Reading Group Guide
Anything You Say Can And Will Be Used Against You
is a no-holds-barred account of the lives of five female police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each woman's story like each call in a police officer's day varies in its unique drama, but all the tales illuminate the tenuous line between life and death, violence and control, despair and salvation.
These stories reveal how officers are trained to deal with the smell of death, how violence clings to a crime scene long after the crime is committed, how the police determine when to engage in or diffuse violence, why some people make it from the academy to the force and some don't, and all the friendships, romances, and dramas that happen along the way. In an entirely fresh and unique voice, these stories reveal the humanity, compassion, humor, tragedy, and redemption hidden behind the "blue wall." This is fiction at its most true-to-life.
Topics for Discussion
1. If you made an emergency call, would you want a man or woman on the scene, or would it depend what was going on?
2. Police officers perform a vital service for all of us, every day. But in "Katherine's Elegy," Drummond hints at reasons other than altruism for becoming a police officer. Why do you think people become police officers?
3. From reading her stories, do you think Laurie Lynn Drummond thinks that women approach the job of being a police officer differently than men do?