Devil Oil Man Diaries
Jo Ann Lordahl takes the saga of oil-in-the-ground to gasoline-in-our-cars and makes it fascinating. Set in Jay, Florida, the scene of the largest oil strike in the continental United States, Devil Oil Diary is the story of the now-gorgeous Mary Celia Diamond, “an ugly female child growing up in a painfully small, religious, southern town.” Where, to lend an extra complication, Mary Celia has a beautiful step-mother: “a charming, spoiled selfish empty-headed southern belle who plays her role to the hilt.” Her father dies when she’s twelve and before he can carry out plans to have her ‘ugly’ nose fixed.
The transformed Mary Celia, now engaged to kind and gentle Stephen, returns alone to her beloved childhood home to gather a few final treasures. Immediately she’s shocked with meeting Vance: I met a man named Vance last night. Oil trash as they call them around here with a new foreign sophistication. Mary Celia wants to learn about oil – those oil leases are questionable. A ‘lean and mean,’ Vance volunteers to teach her. From a helicopter ride to a working oil rig deep in the Gulf, to learning what a “bore” is, or how oil pipes can sneak around to a competitor’s land, we are intrigued.
Her father’s will has disappeared and her now deceased step-mother has left everything to B & B, her highly unpleasant step-brother and sister, Butch and Barbara. B & B want to take over the house and land. Mary Celia knows she could fight but keeps telling herself she wants to return to safe and predictable Stephen. Yet she remains glued to Jay. Or Vance?
Things in Jay have changed and staying alone in her childhood home is not safe. Mary Celia is locked alone in the creepy storm cellar. Doors slam when nobody but her is home. A dead bloody chicken is left on her front door and Claudine, her only nurse-ally growing up, keeps warning her former charge to be careful. Stephen arrives in Florida. Adventures and clashes follow until an unexpected happy ending.