The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
A Recommended Book of the Month
“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!
Nightfall was my first Will Elliott book, and one that left me profoundly changed. After finishing Nightfall I sought out Elliott's other works and I figured where better to start than the award winning The Pilo Family Circus? While this book didn't leave me profoundly changed, it was still an amazing piece of dark, funny, disturbing and violent writing, and it pretty much does all the things that horror should do in delivering a powerfully creepy story. Strange, bizarre, and not afraid to pull any punches, I can see why this book has been so highly decorated in Australia.
The Pilo Family Circus is an enigma, a circus living in a bubble on the edge of existence that is able to create gateways from the real world into its showground. The circus seems to survive by capturing the emotions of the people, or tricks, that come through the gates, and the different troupes are rewarded based on how well they perform. When head clown Gonko decides that the new apprentice isn't working out, he heads out into Brisbane to recruit a replacement, and fortunately (or unfortunately) for Jamie, he has been chosen to be the new apprentice.
Written in the mould of Jekyll and Hyde, except with clowns and face paint, The Pilo Family Circus tells the story of Jamie and his transition from loser with no hope to the murderous clown JJ. Elliott goes deep into all of his characters, especially Jamie and JJ, and brings some strange emotions bubbling to the surface. The only problem I had with the characters is that I found it hard to relate or empathise with any of them, but this is overshadowed by the strength of characterisation and the need to find out what happens next.
The Pilo Family Circus is a bizarre exploration of a fantastical world full of killer clowns, highly strung acrobats, and morbidly depressed people who have been sculpted into freaks. I highly recommend this to horror fans, but also to fantasy fans who are looking for something outside of the box.
This The Pilo Family Circus book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read The Pilo Family Circus?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Pilo Family Circus reader reviews
9.2/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
John Cleaver series
I Am Not A Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial kil...
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the...
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be ...
Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been th...
Cinema of Shadows
Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace. The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business... and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony fu...
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions...
After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current-high-priced ...
The Temple of the Last Days. The brutal cult with a history of murder, sex and occult dealings destroyed itself during one night of ritualistic violence decades ago. Or so ...
Devourer of Souls
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An anci...
Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s neve...
Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth
Respected horror anthologist Stephen Jones edits this collection of 17 stories inspired by the 20th century’s master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shad...
Black Wings of Cthulhu 4
Through his collaborations with today's most talented and acclaimed practitioners of Lovecraftian fiction, editor S. T. Joshi has made the Black Wings of Cthulhu series...
Under the Dome
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force fi...
House of Small Shadows
Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get he...
The Turn of the Screw
One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of un...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spe...
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the ...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...