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Book Review: Carnival

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Posted 05-29-2011 at 06:00 PM by AlexMcDermott

I sat staring at the cover for Lisa McCourt Hollarís story Carnival much longer than I wanted. A clown glared back at me. Iím man enough to admit that Iím seriously afraid of clowns. Theyíve frightened me ever since I was a very little child. Now I was looking at a very sinister one. From page one until the end; Hollarís story never lets up on the tension and fear. Then there are those clowns. A picture-perfect town thinks it finds justice. Town officials think they restore peace, tranquility and safety. Then come those clowns. Protagonist Lucy finally finds happiness in her new boyfriend, a baby on the way, and the hope of an exciting future. Here come the clowns.
Hollar juxtaposes the festive, bright and cheery face of the traveling carnival against the dark, sinister shadows that creep around the edges of the tents. Those shadows that arenít quite there until you turn away. Those shadows that make a hasty retreat in the bright light of day. Hollar lets the shadows creep up on you slowly as the hairs on the back of your neck rise. Then, without warning, she rips the tent flap back to reveal the horrific underbelly of horror hiding behind the clownís paint. If you donít grip the edge of your chair and turn every light in the house on- youíre a far more brave soul than I am.

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