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ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family by…
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ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family

by Carlton Mellick III

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This is a bizarro fiction novel by one of the genre's top writers, but I don't think it's one of his best works. It's not bad, but I thought it was very slow to get going. It's set in a world in which clowns are a separate species caused by humans taking a drug called Happy Juice. Some of those clowns have formed a mafia called the Bozo Family. The book is divided into six interconnected stories. About half of the first one is taken up with worldbuilding, which makes it really slow to get started. Once that got out of the way, it (and the rest of the stories) became vary fast paced and funny. ( )
  yoyogod | Jun 23, 2016 |
I've seen and been interested in several books by Carlton Mellick III. I even have two of his books on my To Get list: APESHIT and ZOMBIES AND SHIT. However, I hadn't previously read any of his books. So when I was given the chance to review an Advanced Reading Copy of one of his books, I jumped at it. And I am very glad that I did.

CLOWNFELLAS is an excellent book! And even better, it was more like six books in one. The book is broken down into six different, standalone but also connected sections; each section focuses on a specific person or clown. Each person is connected to the Bozo family: a criminal family that is controlling part of New York City. However, rather than an Italian or Russian mafia where the common factor is nationality, in this case the family is made up of clowns. These clowns have more in common with the clown from IT than they do with the Ringling Bros. Circus. When injected into a person, a new drug called Happy Juice would transform the person into a full-fledged clown. Changing hair color, skin color and other aspects. But 10% of the time the person's mind and body would become malformed and distorted, making the person a Sideshow Freak.

That is the setting for the six stories. Other than that, the stories are pretty normal stories involving a mafia family. After being blackmailed an outsider gets pulled into the family for his own protection. A Capo who creates more problems than he solves gets away with murder because he's the boss's son. Associates are framed. An assassin goes on a rampage. But the wonderful thing with all the stories is that we really care about what happens to each person. The bizarre aspect of clowns being a mafia family is just the setting. It is the characters in the story that makes the book great. We care about Pinky Smiles being framed and want him to discover who and why. We want Bingo Ballbreaker to get Melinda back. And even though Uncle Jojo gets what he deserves, we still feel sorry for him. It's kind of similar to a good science fiction story in that the rules of the story get defined as the book progresses but in reality it is the characters and their personal growth that drives our interest. I am very much looking forward to reading my next Carlton Mellick III book. ( )
  dagon12 | Aug 1, 2015 |
Three stars for confusion.

How do you tell the difference between a poorly written book and one that you just don't get? I don't know but Clownfellas is certainly a test case.

I started the book, gave up, went online and read some very positive reviews, came back to the book to read some more and gave up again. Relinquo. This book is definitely not for me but other people think it is a great example of this story form. Read other reviews here and also read the sample. I can't begin to predict whether you will like it or not. I don't know if it would be helpful to look at my other reviews to see if you share my approach to mysteries and thrillers and language in general. If you do, then perhaps you won't like this book any more than I do.

I received a review copy of "Clownfellas: Tales of the Bozo Family" by Carlton Mellick III (Random House – Hydra) through NetGalley.com. ( )
1 vote Dokfintong | Jul 24, 2015 |
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. ( )
  TBones | Apr 17, 2015 |
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