Blood and Sawdust

| January 24, 2014


Blood and Sawdust

Mouse the clown has more attitude than Charlie Sheen on Viagra, and his life on the Colmetta Show of Shows—a polyp in the rectum of the American circus scene—consists of fraternity house dares, pranks that run from silly to illegal, and the occasional pathetic performance. While trying to win a bet, Mouse finds a chewed-up human tooth in the foul sludge at the bottom of a tiger cage. This discovery and his conviction that nothing in the universe should occur without his knowledge lead him to hide in the big top to watch an unpublicized midnight show. There he learns that not only are tigers eating people, men are fighting to the death and women are selling their bodies—all for the pleasure of one high-paying customer. Mouse can live with this knowledge; it’s not his problem. What he can’t live with is that one of the gladiators sees him. Now, in order to escape, he must do something he’s never done before: help other people.

The ridiculous antics of the characters in BLOOD AND SAWDUST are reminiscent of MTV’s Jackass, but despite a screwball tone, this story addresses global issues. How is it possible we still live in a world where one human being can buy another? And can the efforts of a single person make any difference?

Blood and Sawdust was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest Quarter-Finalist where it received these reviews from the Amazon judges and Publishers Weekly:

ABNA Quarter-Finalist Judge

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Jesus! Can this author write! He’s no clown. He’s a bad to the bone gangsta, machine gunnin’ countless humorous shots right up any said competitor’s…

Any King’s fool is now threatened, in any one of our disgusting kingdoms/Empires.

Humorous writing is the most difficult to achieve, bar none; and this author tickles the funny dice out like a mad magician turned crap dealer. Now add a plot to die for, plus the icing on the cake: a spiritual message/warning for humanity.

What aspect needs the most work?

It’s always difficult to find fault or an idea to improve a work in such a short excerpt. Quite frankly, I can’t find fault here. Only that I certainly can’t come close to writing like the author of Blood and Sawdust.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I’ve read countless books of humor. Mark Twain is the master for his time. You could argue of all time. I am sure there are many out there, who if given the chance might get close. This author is definitely in league with the best of them today. The potential is there…if given the chance.

Publishers Weekly

Mouse the Clown narrates this punchy and strange story that centers around a seedy traveling circus that’s comprised of equally seedy characters — Pops, Rowdy, Funky, the Fish — who pass the time between shows with Frat-house bets, revolting challenges, and practical jokes that run from silly to illegal. After discovering a tooth in a pile of tiger feces that he was using for a practical joke, Mouse becomes convinced that it is a human tooth and that there must be a dark, twisted story behind it. He decides to spy on the tiger trainer, Lao-Hu, after hours to see if there is indeed foul play, suspecting the trainer of feeding humans to his tigers. But while spying, Mouse discovers something much more shocking. His first impulse is to forget what he saw and skip town, but when he discovers that his circus crush, Shui-Lin is involved, he is reluctantly drawn into the situation, and must decide if he will act and help her or run. The prose is crass and vulgar, which remains true to the voice of the narrator, but it’s potentially off-putting. However, some of the most absorbing sections are also the most shocking and the author does a good job creating a vivid picture of the horror that unfolds.


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