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“The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” / Lisa Morton

from Cemetery Dance #60 / May 2009
Reviewed by: Anthony J. Rapino

I once read that the two most important lines of a story are the first and last. If this is true, “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” starts beautifully with a whopper of a first line: “It was Hallowe’en night, and business was slow at the whorehouse.”

We meet Leona, a levelheaded sixteen-year-old who plays piano and sings for Mamie’s whorehouse. While everyone around her is superstitious, Leona remains unconvinced that Jacky-Ma-Lantern is wandering around on Hallowe’en night. Or that a hoodoo man is capable of bringing a dead boy back to life. So when Lizzie – a fellow working girl who fails to return before sunset and eventually shows up bloodied and stinking – claims to have summoned the devil himself, Leona is not fooled.

Lizzie explains that the devil granted a wish for her, and that a handsome, rich man will come to take her away that very night. Leona’s grip on reality is shaken when a man does show up with a marriage proposal for Lizzie, and her strength is further tested when her own dreams are offered for the taking.

Morton excels at creating a rich setting for her characters to take root. She carefully weaves superstitions and folktales into the narrative, all the while creating a new story from their ashes. Like Robert Johnson meeting the devil at the crossroads, Morton’s own telling feels as if it could have happened just as she describes.

Purchase Cemetery Dance #60 with “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” by Lisa Morton.

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 11:27AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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