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The Exorsistah Paperback – Jul 22 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (July 22 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416561331
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416561330
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,196,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Claudia Mair Burney is the author of the Amanda Bell Brown mystery series and the young adult Exorsistah books. She lives in Michigan with her husband, five of their seven children, and a rabbit. Visit her blog at RagamuffinDiva.blogspot.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

I hate demons.

A dang-gone demon kept me from eating my French fries.

I'd spent the whole day cleaning Kiki's house from top to bottom, and after all that, sat in her kitchen peeling enough potatoes for an army. My black babydoll T-shirt and Apple Bottom jeans sagged on my body like all my diva had forsaken me. My hair hung in knotty, dread-like ropes down my back. I looked a hot mess, but I didn't mind. 'Cause I was gon' have a spiritual experience with my fries.

As I watched them browning to golden perfection I threw my hands in the air and raised the roof just because they smelled so good.

I dipped the spatula in the skillet and turned the fries over, then tapped off the excess oil to a beat as hot and poppin' as the grease. I ain't gon' lie. I did a lil' booty shaking, imagining myself in a pair of supah-bad kick-butt diva boots I saw at Briarwood Mall. Prada. Black and fine as me. Calfskin luxe, with a kitten heel short enough for me to kick some butt in -- or run if I had to -- and still look fly. I couldn't wait for the day when I'd trade my black leather Timberlands for something so fantabulously glamorous.

I was about to put the spatula back into the grease when the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. The room chilled in an instant, a twenty-degree temperature drop filling the kitchen with a weighty, suffocating cold. My lungs contracted like I had asthma.

I don't have asthma.

You know how Spider-man has spidey-sense? Well, I've got demon-sense.

I turned around real slow -- I wasn't in a hurry to see what had crept into the kitchen. That's when I peeped Kiki's husband, Ray, leaning against the door, leering at me.

Now Ray ain't no joke. Tall, brown, and round in the middle like a teddy bear, only nobody wants to cuddle with him. Not as big as Kiki -- who weighed in at 510 pounds -- but I didn't want to rumble with him. He'd stuffed his hands inside the pockets of his Dockers. His wide girth strained beneath a white T-shirt. Eyes looked all crazy, and a demon the size of a Hummer trailed behind him.

And all I could think was, Dang! That's a big'un.

Now I was used to seeing the freaky lil' demons that always floated around Ray, but this one had to be twelve feet long. Blood-colored with a human-looking face. It had wings extending four feet on either side of its crimson-and-black body. I looked closer and saw the details of an intricate black design covering its back -- almost like a beautiful tattoo. Its tail curled like a live wire around its round, paunchy body. I watched it slither past Ray then rush to the ceiling, writhing and baring its yellow fangs like it was trying to smile at me.

Dang! I just wanted to eat! I hoped against hope that that thing and Ray would leave a sistah to cook her fries in peace.

Nope.

It wanted to play with me. Shoot, so did Ray. The demon stuck its forked tongue at me, and every time it did, its stank breath pummeled me like a fist.

If you want a good reason not to go to hell, demon funk is a fine choice -- well, that and the whole eternal damnation and separation from God thing.

The demon presence wasn't my only problem. Ray kept inching toward me lickin' his lips like he was 'bout to use 'em.

I balled up my fist.

You don't know me like that, Ray.

I may not be able to physically knock a preternatural being upside the head, but I could bust flesh-and-blood Ray in his. Emme don't play no more. I'd had enough of brothas pushing up on me like I asked for it.

And I hadn't had any food!

Ray had better back on up.

All the while, I had to make sure I kept up with the spawn of Satan. I swiped another glance at it and it winked at me, then did a little shimmy with what I supposed was its hips. Finally it zoomed over to hover behind Ray's head.

I hate a show-off, especially a demonic one.

The demon snaked its head out and whispered something in Ray's ear. I didn't think it was asking directions to the nearest herd of pigs, either. Ray must've liked whatever it said. He gave me the once-over. Again. Bared his teeth. Then the demon peeked around Ray's head and called me the "b" word!

Hold up!

Don't nobody break on me like that, and for sho' not a punk, useta-be angel.

I rolled my shoulders back, straightened my spine, and stood my full 5'11." The demon turned around, showing the intricate design wrought on its back.

Like a fool I stood there staring at it. The velvety blackness on its back seemed to shimmer. It looked almost animated.

Shoot!

That thing could have incapacitated me as I stood there gaping at it! Mama use to tell me Satan could appear as an angel of light. And I'm falling for that demon trick of trying to distract me from battle.

I put my hand on the black onyx rosary beads my mother gave me before they took her away. She never taught me how to pray with them, but they comforted me anyway. Sometimes, when I touched them, I could hear her voice saying, "Pray for us sinners now, and in the hour of our death."

Shoot. This looked bad for me.

I couldn't do any serious spiritual warfare with Ray tryna molest me. Yeah, I could rebuke the demon, but Ray looked ready to get his swerve on, a very human condition.

Clutching the crucifix hanging from my rosary, I felt the same sweet Jesus my mama kissed so many times before she prayed laid out on the cross between my fingers. That's how I put my courage on. If the Lord could hang his broken body on a cross, I could tell a demon in my friend's kitchen to bounce in His name.

I shouted, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!" to ol' lusty butt -- the demon, that is.

It winced. So did Ray, but neither of them left. Ray stepped closer to me. I knew it was a matter of moments before that man reached out to touch me in a sho' 'nuff dishonoring way. I tried to push him away. Tried to stay calm.

I didn't want to start scrappin' with Kiki's ol' man. Even though Ray had violated a sistah, I wanted to be respectful. But like I said, Emme don't play.

Finally I yanked the crucifix over my head and thrust it toward the demon, which wasn't easy with Ray in my personal space. I'd try one more time before I started whuppin' heads.

"I said, I rebuke you! Get outta here in Jesus' name, or you gon' get your unholy butt beat. Do you hear me? I said, in Jesus' name."

Ray laughed in my face. "Girl, that cross ain't gon' do nothin'."

"Jesus will!"

The demon recoiled and slunk away, its red talons drawn up and tail tucked into its wide hide.

Ray acted like I hadn't said a mumbling word.

He backed me up against the stove so dangerously close to the flame beneath the skillet I wondered when I'd catch on fire. Even though the demon had gone, I still needed help.

Think, Emme -- like you've got on diva boots.

The hot oil.

I could burn him. It'd be self-defense.

My heart pounded against my rib cage like a convict in jail banging on the bars to escape. I let go of the crucifix.

"The fries are burning. I gotta turn 'em off."

I gotta turn you off, too, I thought.

He moved back enough for me to turn around, and I reached for the knob and twisted it to shut off the gas flame. The grease -- still looked hot enough to do some serious damage. I could picture him melting, fries sticking to his seared flesh.

I'm sorry, God. But I can't take no more. I gotta do this.

Gingerly, I grabbed the handle of the skillet with my bare hand. It felt hot, but not so much that I couldn't handle it. Fear gnawed in my gut more than hunger did.

I moved the skillet, maybe a half an inch. Rage stormed inside me. The acrid smell of burnt French fries hung in the air, mingling with the sulfuric stench the demon had left behind.

Ray ran his hand down my arm.

"You betta stop, Ray. Now."

"Why, baby?" he whispered in my ear. "I been thinking about you."

Let's just say that made me burning mad.

Fry him, Emme.

Kiki called from upstairs. "Is something burning, honey?"

I wanted to shout, "Your husband is and will be," but what I yelled was, "Sorry." And I was.

"She'll wait," he said. "Especially for food."

His dis of my girl offended me. "Back up off me before you get hurt." The mix of dread and anger, coiling in me like a snake, created a volatile combination.

An inner dialogue started inside of me. You'll go to Juvenile Hall if you hurt him, girl. They'll have to find me first.

Leave him be, Emme.

Dang. I didn't want to do that.

Ray must have lost patience with me. Grabbing a fistful of my hair, he sneered, "You're a pretty little black thing."

My mind zeroed in on the word black. Growing up, the kids use to tease me about my skin color. Said I was so black you couldn't see me at night. Or if I went to a funeral I wouldn't have to put on clothes. Ray's comment churned with theirs, making me even madder.

He slid a hand around my waist. "Come on, let me take care of you," he said.

My mind darted back to the first time he'd said that. I thought he meant something else. Since I never had a daddy, I wanted to believe Ray could be a substitute one. I thought he might be different than the other men, that maybe I'd be safe hiding with him and Kiki until I aged out of the foster system. I had a little more than a month left. Then I could stop hiding, and we'd all be happy.

Dang!

Ray tried to kiss me. For a moment I couldn't move. First of all because Ray's breath was worse than demon funk. But more than that I hated the fact that I'd been in this predicament more times than any sistah should have to be. In foster home after foster home. On the streets. With a lust demon hovering overhead or not.

Ray said, "I'll give you some money."

Like I was a hooker?

"Okay," I said to get him off me. I had my chance. All I had to do was pick up the skillet and stop being a victim.

Only I didn't think the Lord wanted me to fry a brother.

We wrestle not aga...

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Quick true story: when a kid I work with began about a year and a half ago, I realized that I could only understand about 2 or 3 words out of every 6 or 7 he said. Finally, I had to ask another co-worker: "what the heck is this kid saying?" This was my first introduction to Ebonics. The definition of Ebonics is "African American Vernacular English," and if you've never heard of it, don't worry - as soon as you start reading THE EXORSISTAH, you'll know exactly what it is.

I give the book 5 Stars, regardless, because even with the Ebonics it's a great read, and once you pick up the flow of the writing style and the way the characters speak, you'll quickly begin to go with the flow and enjoy the story.

Emme Vaughn is only a month away from her 18th birthday. She's just fled the best foster home she's ever known (her mother is gone, shut away in the nut house), and she's wasting time in a Walgreens in the middle of the night. Enter the finest brother she's ever seen, quickly followed by a dude up to no good, who happens to also be accompanied by a demon.

Yes, Emme can see demons, whether she wants to or not. She's always dealt with it the best she can, using her faith in God to get rid of them when she needs to. But now, the fine brother turns out to be a priest-in-training who wants her to join his cause - that of doing the "work" of exorcism.

THE EXORSISTAH is a great, fast, fun read. Emme is a great character, as are all of the secondary characters. Everyone is well-defined, the dialogue is perfectly believable (Ebonics included), and I just loved everyone in the story.

I can't wait for a sequel, which the ending just calls for. I really recommend this one to everyone - it would be perfectly suitable to teens as well as adults. This one's a winner!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Devils, a Sistah, and Some Kick-Butt Prada Boots March 23 2009
By Jennifer Wardrip - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quick true story: when a kid I work with began about a year and a half ago, I realized that I could only understand about 2 or 3 words out of every 6 or 7 he said. Finally, I had to ask another co-worker: "what the heck is this kid saying?" This was my first introduction to Ebonics. The definition of Ebonics is "African American Vernacular English," and if you've never heard of it, don't worry - as soon as you start reading THE EXORSISTAH, you'll know exactly what it is.

I give the book 5 Stars, regardless, because even with the Ebonics it's a great read, and once you pick up the flow of the writing style and the way the characters speak, you'll quickly begin to go with the flow and enjoy the story.

Emme Vaughn is only a month away from her 18th birthday. She's just fled the best foster home she's ever known (her mother is gone, shut away in the nut house), and she's wasting time in a Walgreens in the middle of the night. Enter the finest brother she's ever seen, quickly followed by a dude up to no good, who happens to also be accompanied by a demon.

Yes, Emme can see demons, whether she wants to or not. She's always dealt with it the best she can, using her faith in God to get rid of them when she needs to. But now, the fine brother turns out to be a priest-in-training who wants her to join his cause - that of doing the "work" of exorcism.

THE EXORSISTAH is a great, fast, fun read. Emme is a great character, as are all of the secondary characters. Everyone is well-defined, the dialogue is perfectly believable (Ebonics included), and I just loved everyone in the story.

I can't wait for a sequel, which the ending just calls for. I really recommend this one to everyone - it would be perfectly suitable to teens as well as adults. This one's a winner!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sistah-Girl, Demon-Huntress Aug. 20 2008
By Angelia Menchan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Emme Vaughn is thirty-three days away from her eighteenth birthday and does not have a clue what the future holds. She has spent the last several years in and out of foster care, running from the wrong hands, offering the wrong things. Emme longs for her mother, but her mother is locked away and the only person Emme can rely on is Emme, or so she thinks. Will the young man, Francis, who she meets at the all-night Walgreen's become her savior? Or will he be another predator trying to get what she most wants to keep, her soul. Or could it possibly be the fact that he has seen her work with a real-life demon that has him so intrigued? The only way to find out is to go on a reading journey with The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney.

Ms. Burney introduces us to a feisty teen, who considering her trials in foster care should be in all kinds of trouble. But not Emme, she has a fierce faith in God and an uncanny ability to deal with foster fathers and demons that appear in front of her face from nowhere. When she meets Francis she is immediately suspicious, but she is certainly taken in by his luscious, "Blacktino" looks. She is also calmed by his seeming honesty. But, she has learned to trust no one. However, her empty belly and the demonic encounter at the drugstore, proves that Francis may be her only ally. Surely, at a minimum he is good for a meal.

The Exorsistah is funny, poignant and filled with snappy, sistah-girl dialogue. I truly enjoyed reading about a spiritual, street-smart demon-huntress. I recommend this young adult novel to readers of all ages.

Angelia Menchan
APOOO BookClub
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Devil-fighter Wears Prada Sept. 16 2008
By Eric Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you haven't picked up a Claudia Mair Burney book yet, you're missing out on some serious fun. The moment I heard this title, I knew Burney was going to deliver something uniquely her own.

The story opens with young Emme Vaughn (Emme is pronounced Emmy) on a midnight escape from the clutches of a lecherous man. She's just as upset by the demons she saw hovering around as she is by the fact she never got to finish her french fries. Yes, Ms. Vaughn has one foot solidly in the real world, while the other kicks some butt in the spiritual realm. She can see demons, and she doesn't exactly use her Prada boots for high fashion catwalks.

Before the nights even over, she finds herself paired with Francis, a Blacktino hunk, who also happens to be training for the priesthood--as in, the single celibate type. A real bummer for Emme, but it gets more interesting when this wannabe priest asks her to join a team of exorcists. Aside from the male-female vibe that hums like a tuning fork between Emme and Francis, there are complications involving father/son relationships, mother/daughter relationships, old friends, and so on. Amid all the chills and thrills, Burney gives real insight into the human condition.

This is Burney's secret. While keeping it real, while dealing with the messy side of human nature, she also shines a bright light of God's love and hope. Theologically, she is right on target, exposing lies while keeping readers laughing, shivering, and maybe even wiping a tear from their eyes. That is a true gift. And, indeed, Claudia Mair Burney is a gift to fiction readers who are tired of the same old, same old.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unique, chilling, and highly entertaining March 13 2009
By Alison Strobel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Being over 30 (egads!) I don't usually read books on the YA shelf. But with a title like "Exorsistah," how could I pass it up? I'll admit I was already a fan of Burney's other work, but if I hadn't been familiar with her I can guarantee you this book would have had me looking up her other novels and ordering them immediately. With an engaging heroine, an unexpected plot, and snappy, sassy dialogue, this book is a fast read that leaves you anxious for the sequel. Highly recommended!
A Sistah In Prada Boots Aug. 3 2010
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Soon, Emme Vaughn will turn eighteen and will finally be on her own. No more depending on others for the basics of life, only to be let down. But, until then, she is a ward of the state and in the foster care system. Her friend, Kiki, is providing her with shelter and food. That is, until Kiki's husband gets other ideas about the arrangement with a little help from a presence only Emme can see. All Emme's spiritual upbringing and gifts kick into high gear. Unfortunately, she finds herself homeless and hungry in an all-night Walgreens.

As she puts her faith in God and listens to His prompting, she comes face-to-face with Francis, a foine young man who has deep ties to the Catholic Church. However, Walgreens proves to be a place for nightly action, as she spots another being from the underworld. She and Francis put their collective spiritual powers together to send this demon packing. Unfortunately, after all that work, Emme still faces some dire circumstances. God works through all those situations to place Emme on a path to maximize her gift. Francis senses her gift may be just what "The Work" needs, so he makes plans to try to get her on his team.

Claudia Mair Burney writes a very brazen novel that takes your breath in the first few pages and holds you captive until the end. THE EXORSISTAH is the first book in this series about a young, spirited, street-smart demon-hunter. Burney keeps it real in both action and dialogue, complete with the urban dialect of the day. Burney's character development and writing style is so intuitive, you can literally visualize Emme kicking the butt of some demon force in a pair of Prada boots with razor sharp stiletto heels. She is humorous and loveable at the same time.

Even though the action is intense at times, a few spiritual lessons are also addressed. THE EXORSISTAH really brings home Ephesians 6:10, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age..." Although classified as young adult fiction, THE EXORSISTAH will intrigue many adults as well.

Reviewed by Brenda Lisbon
of The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers


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