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Publisher's Summary

"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?" Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place - peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous - where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead! Echoes of Lovecraft, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and early Stephen King resound through the pages of this magical, gleefully macabre work nominated as Best Novel by the International Horror Guild.

©2006 Will Elliott (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eva
  • Hardinsburg, IN, United States
  • 05-25-14

Wow, you gave me what for free!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Pilo Family Circus to be better than the print version?

I haven't had the chance to read this in print. I will probably add it to my list of books to pick up to give as gifts. This was a free book from Audible. It was AMAZING! I was so shocked! I almost feel like I should give up a credit anyway. Yessssss it's that good.

What other book might you compare The Pilo Family Circus to and why?

I can say with total honesty.........I don't think I've read a book like The Pilo Family Circus. It's irreverant to any stereotype that you want to put on it. It has everything...........kinda a love story albeit in a creepy odd way. It has enemies (everyone), friends (everyone). Yes yes I know. It has violence mostly in the best possible sense...........yes yes I know. This is just a book that you need to read. My paltry words are unable to do it justice.

Which character – as performed by Mark Stephens – was your favorite?

Wow, in a book like this I'm really not sure that you can have a favorite. I think they all kind of become favorites in their own particular way........except George. I never really cared for George.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes but I can't tell you because it will ruin one of the main twists of the books. Just know that you will be suitably impressed.

Any additional comments?

I am sorry and glad that I'm just now finding this book. If I had read it while I was younger I may not appreciated all of the nuances in the book. I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to find this author and artist. I will be looking for more by both. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I was sad to see it end. Now I have to go and try to find more by this author.........really I am. Go read this one!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 05-31-14

Entertaining but unremarkable bit of the lmacabre

This is not a genre I would normally have visited, but I was given a choice from several pre-release titles as a bonus for contributing reviews on a regular basis, and the others were even farther out of my ball park. Consequently, since I do not often venture into the horrific or the macabre, I do not feel terribly well qualified to judge this one. As a result I will resort to a simple list of what I noticed.
1. It is essentially a combination of the Jekyll/Hyde theme and the ever popular clown demon with some other pretty standard occult fare such as a hell mouth and reality shift gates thrown in for good measure.
2. It garners a good deal of its shock effect from descriptions of all the usual bodily fluids flowing, pooling, spurting, spattering, and soaking the into whatever surface is handy and repulsive.
3. The action moves along at a satisfying pace and the writing is skilled though unremarkable.
4. Unless you are especially sensitive to the aforementioned clowns, you are not going to find anything terrifying or chilling here. Creepy is about the extent of it, but some of it is creepy in a pretty entertaining way.
5. By the end I did not feel I had wasted my time listening. The story was engaging and entertaining, and the narration was quite good. Definitely worth more than the nothing I paid for it, though I doubt I would spend a full credit for the book since I usually pass on the occult.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A surreal, bizarre story with a problem

The good:
This book is completely bizarre, surreal horror of the best kind. It's a bizarre, unique world populated by memorable characters that Mark Stephens' narration gives great personality to, making them even more intriguing. The clowns in particular each have their own unique voices that are just really fun to listen to and complete the characters in ways i think plain text wouldn't have been able to. Gonko in particular was so fun to listen to- sounding like a parody of a 40's gangster, switching from disturbingly flirty to incredibly dangerous while still retaining the same soft spoken tone. Almost ASMR-like.
The plot is a bit slow, especially around the middle - it tries to set up a conflict between two personalities, main character Jaime and his evil clown alter-ego JJ. That would be more interesting if either of them actually HAD a personality- even JJ, who's supposed to be a scheming backstabber, sometimes seems to REMEMBER these traits mid-scene, and only after acting on them. Jaime is as flat as cardboard, absolutely devoid of any personality beyond being the viewpoint character.
The bad:
This book has some serious themes of anti-Romanyism and ableism. The hellish circus is staffed by roma people (referred to only ever as "gypsies", which is considered a slur) and dwarves. Roma people in particular are heavily stereotyped: they're greasy, scheming, loud, the men are hairy, violent brutes and the women are either screeching old hags or the one evil seductress palm reader. they're repeatedly killed in an offhanded way, their deaths given little to no thought. The dwarves are seen as surreal, violent, mean little creatures who do nothing but gamble and fight and give the main characters the stink eye. Both groups are rarely, if ever, depicted in a positive/humanizing light. It was a stain in what could otherwise be a really fun book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just great!

I loved every minute of it. loved the narrator and the story. One great book!