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The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
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Aug 24, 2011

it was amazing
Read in March, 2011

Impulsively picking up a bag dropped by an oddly-behaved clown after a chance encounter late at night in Brisbane leads Jamie into a world of madness and casual violence as one of the clown troupe at the Pilo Family Circus, a carnival that takes place on a plane somewhere between Australia and the demonic plane. With the application of magic face paint he turns into JJ, a clown as cruel and jeering as the rest of them.

Will Elliot's debut novel is a horror story that will make you wary of carnivals and the nefarious creatures who lurk within. The fast-paced story reels you in, alternating between the bizarre, the macabre, and the humorous, with characters who range from the clever to the frankly psychotic. It elicited my sympathy for the performers trapped in a world and a machine not of their choosing, as well as for the "tricks" -- customers who stumbled into the circus all unaware that their souls were in peril. It also made me laugh at the bizarre behaviour of the characters, and the constant feuds between clowns and acrobats. This book should come with a warning not to read it in bed for fear you will have nightmares about killer clowns.
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