Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family” as Want to Read:
ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  62 reviews

“Carlton Mellick III goes past silly, through weird, detours around dumb, blasts through bizarre, and gets to a place where the normal physics of narrative no longer apply. You will never be the same.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and Homeland

In a topsy-turvy world where clowns are killers and crooks, Little Bigtop is a three-ring circus of crime, and no syndica

Kindle Edition, 457 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Hydra
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about ClownFellas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about ClownFellas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  62 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Paul Nelson
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carlton Mellick III is one of the leading authors of bizarro fiction and in his own words ‘pumps out some of the weirdest, trashiest, most imaginative books’ you'll ever admit to being a guilty pleasure. A prolific author with over 40 books in print, freaky titles such as The Haunted Vagina, Clusterfuck, Adolf in Wonderland, Baby Jesus Butt Plug and Razor Wire Pubic Hair comprise some of his back catalogue. Well worth checking his website out to see how tapped this guy actually is and you simply ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
Carlton Mellick III may be the most imaginative author writing today and this book doesn’t disappoint. It belongs to a new genre called bizarro fiction, which is exactly like it sounds. Like horror fiction where the primary component is fear, bizarro focuses on weirdness (like most of the titles from the cult movie section of an old school video store). And there’s no better genre for an imaginative author to be working in these days. There are no restrictions besides obeying the logic that’s as ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
In all fairness, I did expect clowns more in line of Pennywise from It than the clowns that were in this book. I thought I was reading a horror book, but it was too much humor for it to be called horror (in my opinion) I did like the Clown world and the characters. It was just not what I had expected and also, even though it had its charming moments, I just couldn't really find myself enjoying the whole book. Some parts were better than the other. But I must admit that even though I felt that it ...more
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mellick puts a new spin on mob life by creating a world where clowns are the kings of the criminal underworld. The six stories all link to the Bozo family, kingpins of Little Bigtop where they rule the illegal comedy clubs, clown brothels and laughing gas trade. With the French clown mob now muscling in on the action it's up to the clown capos to ensure that business is kept lucrative and any probl
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, horror, bizzaro
I am not a fan of clowns, but what makes this book so great is that I was made to root for horrible characters (Jimmy Bozo).

ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family is a collection of loosely connected six stories of a mobster family of clowns.

These are stories of rivalry (the French are trying to take over), colourful and original weapons (exploding pies, bullets that make people depressed or the ones that make people die of laughter and so on), murders, revenge, jealousy, betrayal, black humour
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mellick
4.5 stars

I think it broke into my top 5 Mellick stories. Not a huge fan of e readers, but this one is only for the e reader. (At least for the time being) Mellick hooked it up though for 99 cents for a limited time (from normal 5.99 price) so it was a no brainer purchase. He's been one of my favorite authors for years and one of the most original in the game.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for an ARC of this book.

I loved this book! It is one crazy ride with a mafia clown family. There are several stories about the different clowns in the Bozo Family or the clowns that work for them.

My favorite clowns are Vinnie Blue Nose, Hats Rizzo, Pinky Smiles, and Captain Spotty. Don Bozo is the boss of the family and he has one messed up, crazy clown son named Jimmy. He is in all sorts of trouble in this book. But it's great
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: July 2015

ISBN: 9780804179355

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher Description: For years, the hard-boiled capos of the Bozo family have run all of the funny business in Little Bigtop, from the clown brothels to the illegal comedy trade. But hard times have befallen the Bozos now that Le Mystère, the French clown Mafia, has started moving in and trying to take over the city.

Review: The cover should have Vinnie Blue No
Maxine Marsh
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A solid 4*

Although I found this one slow to start, I eventually got into Clownfellas!

What a fun bizarro world Mellick has created-- a mafia of clowns who run amok through six closely related stories, battling rival gangs and each other. See the Sideshow, a wasteland on the outskirts of town where mutant clown reject psychos roam the streets, the Carnival where the Carnies rule both mayhem and the laughing gas trade, and Le Mystere, a rival gang of French clowns run by Daddy Longlegs and his twi
Ms. Nikki
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, bizarro
The interconnecting stories are so well-told that the fact that we are reading about mob clowns and the bizarro world they live in seem absolutely normal.

My favorite clown would have to be Pinky. Nothing can keep this guy from being happy.

If you're looking for a bizarro read that's not too weird, this is the perfect buy for a first-time reader of this genre. Mainstream comes to mind.

An entertaining clown-tastic read of love, betrayal, and what it means to live the mob clown life.

*I received a co
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very funny send-up of mafia tropes, with several serious turns that spin into bizarro land ... everything you'd expect from the wonderfully strange and fantastic CMIII.
Fungi From Yuggoth

This is not a safe book for coulrophobics [sufferers from clown-phobia]. In real life, we can avoid circuses, carnivals, and certain fast-food establishments. Not so in the New York City of CLOWNFELLAS: here Clowns are not only real, they're a separate species--not a separate ethnicity or nationality, an entirely divergent species. They have their own city, Little Big Top, and as with any urban locale, ghettos and crime--and a clown Mafia. Imagine kneebr
K.T. Katzmann
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Crime fans who love Batman '66
Shelves: bizarro, noir
Paint Sin City with the sensibilities of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and you get ClownFellas.

I've head of Carlton Mellick III, before, wondering at titles like The Haunted Vagina and I Knocked Up Satan's Daughter: A Demonic Romantic Comedy. The impression that I got was that Mellick came up with insane ideas and played them out deadly serious. When ClownFellas came up on BookBub, I gave it a shot.

It would be cliché to say that I had no idea what I was in for. As the previous paragraph shows, I had
I received an e-copy of this book from netgalley for review purposes.

Okay, when I first heard that this was coming out, I was rather apprehensive. Clowns and the Mafia are two subjects I'm not that into. Of course, I should not have felt that way. Carlton Mellick is fabulous and did an awesome job melding the two subjects together.

It's completely ridiculous, violent, funny and totally bizarro. I can see why this is the book that is being published with a more mainstream press.

The only reason, I'
Cape Rust
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Don’t Let Coulrophobia Keep You from Clown Fellas

by Cape Rust · Apr 14, 2015

Clown Fellas: Tales of the Bozo Family

Written by Carlton Mellick III
Genre(s): Action, Mafia, Bizzarro Fiction, Clowns….
Publisher: Hydra

Disclaimer: I am fine, there is not a clown standing behind me with a balloon gun threatening to blow my gumballs off I don’t write this review.

Description: For years, the hard-boiled capos of the Bozo family have run all of the funny business in Little Bigtop, from the clown brothels
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.25 of 5

Alright... so 'bizarro' fiction has become a "thing." I mean ... I know that there's been bizarro fiction for a long time (I think I was writing it back in the 80's), but it hasn't always had it's current classification (it was speculative fiction, with a twist back then). Now it's its own genre. And I love bizarro fiction. One of the earliest reviews on this site was for Blope , an excellent bizarro story, so I was pre
Peggy Geiger
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Genre:Adult Fiction>Bizarro

Excerpt from the book:

"They call me Captain Spotty," the clown introduced himself, holding out his hand to shake.

"When Earl looked at him, his skin crawled. With his wild-eyed stare and permanent crazed smile exposing a row of black rotten teeth, Captain Spotty was the single most terrifying clown Earl had ever seen. His style was that of a hobo, wearing a patchwork coat made of green and orange plaid. A family of cockroaches scurried beneath his shabby clothes, cra
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I received the latest CMII novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've just finished an advanced copy of the latest CMIII novel and I have to admit I'm still not sure what to write. I've been a fan of bizarro for almost five years and I often wondered what would happen if mainstream publishers decided to finally start releasing bizarro titles. We now have the answer. Carlton's latest release is being published by the Random House imprint Hydra, and I have mixed feelings about t
Brenda A
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
How would you feel if someone pointed a balloon gun at you--scared? Amused? Maybe you'd feel like it is just plain silly and not a real threat at all, since it is just a balloon. You would have to rethink that, once that someone fired the balloon gun at you and you actually got shot in the chest. You would probably be even more surprised if you started to see flowers spouting from your gunshot wounds. Or maybe you would start to believe it is a real problem only after you start to develop a seve ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Imagine if clowns were crime bosses. Now imagine they aren't even human. This is the world Carlton Mellick III has created in Clownfellas: Tales of the Bozo Family. It's totally bizarre but oddly genius as well!

The book is set as six connected short stories:

In the first tale, "City of Clowns," we meet Earl Berryman, a zoo veterinarian hired to save Don Bozo's beloved lion. But there are two problems here. First, Earl has a serious clown phobia. Second, he's been drawn into a burgeoning gang war!
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
ClownFellas was such a blast. With Mellick's work I have never been let down and he easily followed through with this title. There were scenes and characters in this book I'd love to see eventually adapted to a graphic novel.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m not particularly a fan of clowns. I’m not particularly phobic about them, either, but it sure is the creepier ones that have a way of lingering in the memory, and even the benign ones are … let’s face it … kind of creepy. They’re natural fodder for horror and bizarro, being halfway there already.

Clownfellas is an unusual – to say the least – spin on classic Italian mob tropes, taking place in a world where humans have the choice of injecting themselves with a DNA-altering serum that turns th
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mellick’s clown opus

Of course it is bizarre, I would expect no less. It’s funny and thought-provoking, too. What pleasantly surprised me is that this work is of an epic proportion. There is real characterization and plot here. I mean this in the best possible way, but Mellick’s work is generally like a shot of cheap tequila—fun, abrasive, and entertaining for the night. This is something else. A bizarro masterpiece? I’m almost worried that if he’s showing this level of craft and maturity, he may
T. Giachetti
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Clown phobia anyone?

If you aren't afraid of clowns before reading this book, you will be by the time you finish the last page! They make running the rackets a regular circus. This book has wildly imaginative characters, plots and weaponry. Great read!
Debbie Mankita
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bizarre and wonderful world has been created

Mafia stories with a twist.... Clowns! Not people dressed like clowns but a race of clowns, with their own culture enmeshed into classic mafia portrayal
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I wish it didn't have to end. I love clowns.
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, circus
A super strange concept for a novel - a collection of stories set in The Little Bigtop centered around the biggest mafia family of clown-people: The Bozo Family.
Actually pretty funny and readable. I actually found it hard to put down.
Adrian Bloxham
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stupidly brilliant, the mind that dreamt this up could rule the world
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc

ClownFellas is a collection of six short stories, revolving around the Bozo crime family. Classified as Bizarro fiction, the book is an odd mixture of parody, ("What am I not a clown to you?",) horror, and crime thriller. As not one of these is a genre I regularly read, I had visions of Fanny Merkin and the Harvard Lampoon; books that are more about the wink and nudge than the actual writing. So it’s a with a bit of surprise I say, ClownFellas is a very well written book.

Mellick has a deft ha
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Clowns are real, the clown mafia is a real thing and they are both active in Little Bigtop a fictitious neighborhood in the world of Carlton Mellick III. It is a world where comedy has been outlawed by the government, where being a clown is having a radically different DNA, altered through an injection or being born as it and where the strippers’ breast squeak.
In Little Bigtop the Bozo family rules under Don Bozo and his Capos. They mainly deal in prostitution, the drug Laughy-gas and undergroun
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fantastic Orgy
  • The Party Lords
  • Slag Attack
  • Squid Pulp Blues
  • There's No Happy Ending
See similar books…
“And luck in this town lasted only about as long as a scoop of rainbow sherbet on a summer afternoon.” 0 likes
“It was possible Bernie didn’t remember how Jimmy had given him the Happy Juice, or even who Jimmy was.” 0 likes
More quotes…