Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: A. F. Carter

THE YARDS by A. F. Carter: Book Review

Two women, roughly the same age, living in Baxter, a depressed Rust Belt town.  But they couldn’t be more different.

Git (short for Brigit) is the one we meet first.  She’s a single mother, living with her almost-teenage daughter and her recovering alcoholic mother, working two jobs as an LPN to keep body and soul together.  She’s doing her best to be responsible, but every few weeks she feels the need to go wild, and tonight’s the night.

She’s in full siren mode, a sequined dress so revealing it’s barely legal, a lot of makeup.  She’s ready to find a man for the evening.  She does, but the evening doesn’t end quite the way she’d hoped.

Git goes to Randy’s (a totally appropriate name, she thinks to herself) and attracts the attention of Bradley.  When he leaves the bar she follows him out the door, makes her plan for the evening obvious, and they drive separately to the Skyview Motor Court.  The inevitable occurs, then Bradley snorts some coke and falls asleep, and Git leaves the room.

Next we meet Delia, the chief of detectives in Baxter.  She, too, is a single mother, a one-time slip in a lesbian life.  She’s devoted to her son, likes her job, and is doing her best to supervise a not-very-professional staff.  The morning after Git’s tryst, Delia gets a call from the city’s police chief.  The owners of the motor court have called 911 to tell them there’s a body in one of the rooms.  Of course, it’s Bradley.

The third narrator in The Yards is Connor Schmidt, son of the town’s leading gangster, Carl Schmidt.  Because he and Bradley had a long history as friends, Connor trusted him with a drug deal.  Bradley was supposed to bring seven hundred pills to an upstate buyer, get eighteen thousand dollars in exchange, and bring the cash back to Connor.

However, when Connor goes to pick up the cash, the Skyview is surrounded by police.  And when the report of the murder is made public the following day, there’s no mention of the money.  Carl, Connor’s father, wants the eighteen thousand dollars found, and found now.  “I want that money, Connor, or I want my pound of flesh….Somebody, somewhere has to pay,” he tells his son.

I found The Yards an absolutely engrossing crime novel.  It’s not surprising that we’re sympathetic toward Git and Delia, two women who are doing their best under difficult circumstances.  What’s surprising to me was that I felt sympathy for Connor, a low-life if ever there was one.  But, I found myself thinking, how else could he have turned out, given the man who was his father?  Carl Schmidt is not only a criminal but a man who belittles his son at every opportunity and has created a life for Connor in which there seems no other way to live but a criminal one.

There’s nothing online about the author, so I’m assuming A. F. Carter is a pseudonym.  However, lists of her/his previous novels may be found on the internet.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.