by Will Elliott

Published: March 3, 2009
ISBN 978-1-63023-090-6


“Audition or die.” 

Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrible alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between hell and earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have originated. 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 . . .


“I couldn’t put Elliott’s novel down. It’s fantastic . . . An entertaining mixture of Palahnuik and David Lynch.”
Independent on Sunday

“Inventive, scary and darkly humorous novel has a dash of Stephen King and a hint of Lovecraft but is really sui generis. It may be a true one-off but that doesn’t stop me wanting more.”

“As much surreal poetry as macabre thrills . . . this is a first novel of real promise. At his best, Elliott writes with a power commensurate with the originality of his vision. It is not just that he has unusually nasty visions to put on the page but he has the ability to make us share them.”

“Elliott’s clowns are as unnerving as they come.”

“A darkly disreputable combination of horror, fantasy, thriller and gross-out humour . . . genuinely terrifying . . . wonderfully effective . . . calls to mind Stephen King at his best . . . will appeal and appall in equal measure.”
Scotland on Sunday

“An excellently coherent act of imagination . . . the plot is full of wonderful grotesqueries and unfolds at a cracking pace. I was enjoying reading this book so much I forgot I was meant to review it.”
Sydney Morning Herald

“A fiery allegory for our times.”
Australian Review

“This is territory where few Australian novelists have ventured, let alone with Elliott’s disquieting composure. He brings a stylistic restraint to the depiction of horrors.”
The Bulletin

“Will Elliott’s prose is sharp and engaging . . . this intriguing book mixes fantasy with psychological horror to squirming effect.”
The List

“A bravura performance, a disquieting glimpse into a richly imagined and horribly plausible parallel universe.”
Financial Times

“This sadistic world makes for one highly enjoyable read, especially for all of you out there who delight in the nightmarishly macabre.”
“Dark, wickedly inventive comedy . . . Awesome.”

“An astonishing book which combines vicious slapstick and relentless black comedy with a breathtakingly vivid, visual style . . . riotous gore-fest which is immensely entertaining, often hilarious and contains not a little pathos. Completely unforgettable.”
Tangled Web

“The novel is packed with wonderful fantasy ideas and prose. ****”