Death comes for the cast and crew of the hit comedy TV Show Chocolate City, impacting not only their personal lives but the prospect of their show’s continued success. As each member sinks into their own past, and the spirits of those that came before, the tragedies continue.
Maurice Broaddus weaves a tale of intimate nightmare and dark discovery in a compelling exploration of humanity’s relation not only to his own mind and soul, but also to the ghosts of days gone by—personal and ancient.
When your terror comes to claim you, who will it be?
“There are fewer greater pleasures in a reader’s life than witnessing a writer whose work they have enjoyed reached a new plateau in their storytelling skills, and such is the case here; with The Devil’s Marionette, Maurice Broaddus comes into his own as a writer of dark fiction. It is the brilliance we’ve all been waiting for, and Broaddus delivers in a voice that both whispers and roars and cannot be ignored.” — Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck, author of Mr. Hands, Destinations Unknown, and Coffin County
It started with a stamp.
As with most things with me, this led to a blog. You see, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. It was an image that spoke not only to a history of how black people were seen, but to attitudes that are all to present today. The ideas, and outrage, associated with this began percolating in the back of my head.
I ran across an image of Bert Williams in full make up. The burnt cork black face that was a part of his act. A black man who performed in black face. It was a powerful image, this proud man, a sad clown. In one picture, the image managed to capture the dehumanizing aspect of racism and the sacrifice required to muddle through its treacherous waters.
And the responsibility of the artist.
You see, as a black artist, one of the things I struggle with is my responsibility to not perpetuate negative images of my community. However, I have to balance that against being true to my craft. What would you do, what would you sacrifice, to be able to do what you are passionate about? Because at the time, I was seeing some absolute garbage hit the television airwaves and coming out on the big screens which amounted to little more than cooning for a mass audience. And I was angry. Because all black artists should be haunted by the specter of Bert Williams and his dilemma of sacrificing his personal dignity in pursuit of the art he loved so much.
So I raged some more and it became a novella.
Gary Braunbeck seemed to like it. I hope you do too.