Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SSS: "Sequined with a Vengeance"

Sometimes you briefly forget that titles mean something before the title slams back home after just a couple of pages. "Sequined with a Vengeance" opens backstage at a strip club with a rivalry between two of the dancers, Inari and Lily. The story centers on Lily. The first impression is that the dislike is just plain old regular dislike, until somebody mentions that the man who may have bailed Inari out of jail was Lily's man on the side, Dominic Marlowe.

There is magic, real magic, as part of the performances and even used as sniping attacks between Lily and Inari and the initial thought is that the vengeance of the title might have something to do with Lily and Inari. A page or two later gives lie to that first impression when the true recipient of Lily's long planned vengeance is revealed and Lily is shown to be far more than just a dancing moll.

This third story in Spicy Slipstream Stories continually plays with the reader's expectations. "Sequined with a Vengeance" is an ever-evolving story that evokes the pulps with dolled up dames and well dressed men who exude danger, but never rests or stops to let the reader remain comfortable. Lisa Mantchev provides reveal after reveal in a very natural way that does not distract from the story but rather enhances it. Even the big reveal at the end is less of a mind trip and more of an "aha!" moment that brings the story full circle.

In short, it's a good and pleasing story that messes with the expectation of genre and form. Much like what we should expect from Spicy Slipstream Stories.

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