“The Sopranos” meets “Killer Clowns From Outer Space”. Yup, that is the best way to describe this book. I have seen and read many of Mellick’s books. I always think two similar things when a new Mellick book comes out: that is really stupid and ridiculous—I have to read this. That is brilliant and ridiculous—I have to read this. With ClownFellas: Tales of the Bozo Family, I felt a little of both. Clown Fellas is composed of six novellas, all taking place within the same world.
There are very few writers who can take a ridiculous idea (brilliant &/or stupid) and not only pull it off but make a memorable story with characters that entertain you and stay with you.
Carlton Mellick is that writer, and he is the best at this trick.
I’ve been a fan of Mellick’s since I read his novella “The Haunted Vagina”. That book was my gateway drug to the genre of Bizarro Fiction. Mellick has a vast catalogue of at least 45 books (don’t quote me, there are too many to count).
“ClownFellas” is in my top 5 of Carlton Mellick books, which says a lot, considering how many I have read and enjoyed. I love the world and characters that Mellick brings to life in Clown Fellas. He used a similar structure of interconnected stories like he did in his book about magic and addiction called “Hungry Bug.” That book is also in my top 5.
I like this one a little more than “Hungry Bug” though, because I love mafia-anything more than magic. I’m not a fantasy guy at all, but Carlton’s strange worlds intrigue me. Mellick is Bizarro: a blend of different genres that he turns on their heads and into really fun and weird entertainment.
In “ClownFellas”, he shows us a world where comedy is illegal and humans can become clowns (another species) and clown mafias rule Little Big Top. I will not spoil any of the cool clown weapons for you, but I can say they are pretty fucking awesome.
These 6 complimentary novellas show Carlton Mellick’s greatest strength, which is: great storytelling through ridiculous weird-ass premises. All 6 stories show a mafia clown world, that you won’t want to leave. “ClownFellas” is a must read.