The Pilo Family Circus ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Underland Press, 2009 (First published 2006)
“You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got?”
What a wicked, intoxicating combination of weird, creepy, horrific and funny; the last thing I expected when I picked up this book was to laugh my ass off in parts, doing so was such a bonus. So I can’t say this book is going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something truly different, that’s well-written and a bit depraved, then this just might be for you.
The setup: Jamie is a bit of a wanker — a well-meaning guy, but without much ambition or direction in his life. Let’s say he’s surviving by being spectacularly dull, hoping Fate will leave him the hell alone if he keeps flying under the radar unnoticed, unnoticeable. He then makes a stupendous error in judgment when he spies on some nefarious clown activities late one evening and retrieves a small bag one of them discards and brings it home with him.
This act will get him noticed by forces so much worse than Fate — this act gets him noticed by the Pilo Family Circus and once in its clutches, at the mercy of some pretty deranged and hostile clowns, Jamie will be lucky to escape with his life, let alone his sanity. Once trapped on the circus grounds, he is forced to become a clown and he soon discovers much to his dismay that his clown alter-ego — J.J. — is a total dickwad and dangerous to boot. Suddenly Jamie is at war with himself in a twisted, sometimes hysterical battle of wits a la Dr.Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde.
I don’t want to say much more because the delight in this book is not knowing what the hell is going to happen next. Highly recommended!