LUPE by Gene Thompson
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LUPE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

My, my--so many convenient ways to dispose of inconvenient persons. If you don't have an exceptional dog (Best Friend, above), in San Francisco there's Lupe, an eleven-year-old Mexican boy who knows without being told that Emily Blake would like to be rid of her husband's mistress, Jennie. Harelipped, goat-faced Lupe keeps whispering and popping up wherever Emily goes, asking for a lock of Jennie's red hair (Emily, robotlike, complies), making obscene promises: ""Hey, you got me that hair. Now I'm gonna fuck your guts, and after that I take care of everything."" That's exactly what happens, and a charred Jennie is discovered in a locked room, apparently the victim of spontaneous combustion. Not so, says D.A. Rufus Simonds, making history and causing riots in the streets by charging Emily with Murder By Occur Means. His evidence? Jennie's death-day diary, Emily's history of parapsychological prodigy, and a ""Gregorian and obscene"" la la la that Emily has been singing--an invocation of the Devil hitherto unknown to anyone but Vatican scholars. A tough case for folksy, 82-year-old defense attorney Cade, especially when Emily (now devilishly pregnant) has fits in court, sees Lupe everywhere (he's supposedly dead from diptheria), and wreaks havoc upon everything and everyone she touches. Luckily, the trial comes to a sudden stop when D.A. Rufus dies in a repeat char-broiler--along with all his evidence--and it's about then that Cade reckons maybe Emily's Lupe stories are true, and that Lupe Serpiente is. . . you guessed it, the exorcisable One himself. Rosemary's Baby + The Exorcist + My Life in Court = quite a show. And, though the legal incredibles (atop the usual satanic incredibles) will prove too much of a strain for some, for many they may generate just enough added velocity to make Thompson's suavely roller-coastered demon-ride the stay-up-all-night nonsense of the year.

Pub Date: July 18th, 1977
Publisher: Random House