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‘Circus Tarot’ A Unique Dark Experience of Horror, Devotion & Love by Charles W. Jones

'Circus Tarot' A Unique Dark Experience of Horror, Devotion & Love by Charles W. JonesCircus Tarot

by Charles W. Jones 
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing

Mary’s and Darrin’s life is what some would call “dull”. Every day they follow a ritual of habit, starting the moment they wake in the morning. That is until Mary buys a deck of Tarot Cards from an old women at the consignment shop, then Mary and Darrin are drawn into the dark world of the Circus Tarot with a lusty Devil, carnivorous Clowns and the other malevolent denizens of World Circus. Mary and Darrin must fight for their safety and make a disturbing deal with the inhabitants of World Circus to save their lives


I had no clue what I was in for when I started reading this novel. (I want it noted that I have a serious phobia about clowns, this novel helped make it even more so.) I know the age old story of Coulrophobia. Not that I really have a DEEP phobia, but there have been enough traumatic events involving these buggers that I really have to push my way forward and bite the proverbial bullet when it comes to a story surrounding clowns.

But this story has a Circus theme, there would of course be a smattering of clowns, but the discription the author gave me seemed safe enough, dispite the cover image. Tarot cards, circus.. I could do it.. I thought perhaps it would be a bit in the realm of Carnivale, HBO’s drama series set in the cultural ambiguity of dust bowl era. Which was as much a drama and  great struggle between good and evil and predestination, but also a terrifying show. No one can turn away from a carnivale, or a freak show.. plus how much could go wrong in an alternative world? With an innocent pack of tarot cards and an ordinary man and wife? Right? WRONG!!

Charles W. Jones sets us up for an ever-changing story with Circus Tarot. By utilizing aspect of a flipped tarot card as part of change in the tide, if you will, in the world our protagonists must escape from to regain their normalcy. For those that are unfamiliar with what a flipped card in tarot represents, VERY simply put the meaning will be the opposite of the original intended meaning. SO if said card was an actual person in said alternative world.. than when said card is one way say like this clown for instance…

'Circus Tarot' A Unique Dark Experience of Horror, Devotion & Love by Charles W. Jones

Now when the world cycles… in other words a suits flipped (such as the Cups, or the Swords (you can see where I am somewhat going with this right?… No? Oh read the book I dare you.. ) ANYWAY a suit flips “that week” and you can probably be facing the same clown above, but looking like he woke up not only on the wrong side of the bed, but possibly in someone else’s house! Someone you may not want to run into when you run into a set of unknown woods… late at night.. by a lone trailer … alone with no flashlight… or backup..  you get my drift right?

'Circus Tarot' A Unique Dark Experience of Horror, Devotion & Love by Charles W. Jones

Perhaps even catching him with his teeth hand in the cookie jar looking a little like this after snacking on a lost ummm well let’s just say read and see! 
cut scene from 'Fear of Clowns 2'

You see where I am going with this? NO the story is by NO means just about evil clowns, in fact there is a huge gathering of every type of circus person you could think of! Each have their own personalities, idiosyncrasies, annoying habits and well it is a traditional Circus setting inside a world where the circus is the main event! The world revolves over the flipping of the suits and the circus, and you will never guess who the Ring Master is… eeeeeeeeeeeeeh nope well maybe you got it but honestly go grab it up at Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes & Noble (both electronic and paperback)

The genre is horror, the author warned me that if I was squeamish I may not want to read it before bed. Cleary Mr. Jones had some training in psychology. The simple fact is when you tell a horror buff NOT to read or watch before bed that is exactly what they will do right? The read or watch it before bed. Despite what all you horror buffs like me out there think, we will be the first to die if we starred in our own horror movie.. we would always answer the phone, open the closet, watch the movie.. yada yada yada.. but I digress. Horror, bloody .. shocking… right?

Well it opens up with a scene somewhat like  dysfunctional Cleaver family morning, minus the Beav. I could picture the perfect scalloped curtains hanging in a sunlit kitchen window. The wife, Mary happily (to the point I am wondering if this is going to be tainted with a Stepford Wife’ish. But nope, I believe Mary probably needed some medication or at least a backdoor man. No matter how well Darrin was providing she clearly needed more in her life, and apparently she had the ‘TOUCH’, as in she could read a deck of cards with acute accuracy. Darrin never took her to seriously, but it made her happy. So when she found this lttle deck of cards he laughed it of. Ohhh silly Darrin, apparently he had never watched Fear of Clowns

But if I go into to much more detail it will give it all away, so I leave you with a review I wrote up as one of the ARC readers. I gave the book 4 stars. I want to explain why. The story was truly original. The terrors many have of clowns, the terror of a relationship being lost to duplicity and routine. Interject a typical device of someone showing up with a ‘magical item’, the tarot deck as it were, and take it from there.


Circus Tarot
Set inside a pack of tarot, all the elements of a true fairy tale are here (the original fairy tales were not light and sweet.. there were witches eating children after all). We have the bad guys, the good guys, the crazy guys, the flesh-eating guys, the magic casters, the hero, the damsel in distress and the list goes on!

This is not your typical walk in the park horror either! It is a creative twist with one of the most original settings I have seen in a long time! PERFECT to get for anyone who wants a new take on the horrors of clowns! OH but it is more than just clowns, it has everything for everyone! I was on edge with each turn of the page!

I have “FLIPPED” for this book! Drawn from the on the aspect of tarot cards and their meanings, each has been woven into the story of what happens when the suit is ‘flipped’. Anyone who reads tarot knows that the card drawn flipped means something different. However, even if you did not know this, the book will tell you what happens when the Nine of Buckets is flipped… let’s just say you may become dinner OR dessert! Obviously well researched, the author has a great grasp in how the tarot works. Putting it into a story as he did made it not only terrifying but truly delightful!

Keep the lights on when you read it. I fell asleep reading this and had dreams I do wish I could forget!

(THIS maybe why “a study by the University of Sheffield concluded “that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.”)


'Circus Tarot' A Unique Dark Experience of Horror, Devotion & Love by Charles W. JonesCharles W. Jones grew up in a small town called Shoshoni, WY and he managed to break free from its grasp with his dark soul intact. Growing up in a small town scared him to death most of the time. It’s very dark at night – really dark. To top it off, it is full of ghosts; well, that’s what Charles thought when he was kid. Turns out it was just the constant wind blowing dirt around.

There isn’t a part of the horror genre Charles doesn’t like. He likes it creepy, filled with suspense or brutal with descriptive torture scenes. His favorite horror movies have always been the slasher movies; give him the gore.

Amazon Smashwords | Barnes & Noble (both electronic and paperback)

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  1. Ok, your pics have seriously scared the crap out of me..i am not a fan of clowns..especially after reading “It”. *shivers* My first thought when I saw the cover was..WTH?? The synopsis had me intrigued and your review has me wanting to read it….but maybe with the lights on…LOL
    Show me some love!

    • THAT is awesome HAH seriously it is worth the read despite the clowns. There is a lot more to it than that! It has an almost whimsical sing song lyrical rhythm.. much like a circus song actually
      Show me some love!

    • The It quality is there but as Kriss said, there is more to it than just the clowns being evil, they are funny too.
      Show me some love!

  2. You know there are people with clown fetishes. I thought I’d put that in your head for scaring me with the clown pics. 🙂 My work here is done.
    Show me some love!

    • I discovered that when I asked random questions about clowns on Twitter.
      Show me some love!

  3. When I wrote Circus Tarot, I was not sure how the story would be taken. From your write-up, I see it was taken as I desired. Yes, clowns are to be feared, they scare the crap out of me and part of writing this was to face my fears. However, my feelings have not changed about them. I think I was nine when I saw “the Greatest Show on Earth” with James Stewart as Buttons the Clown. This movie really opened my eyes to the “truth” about clowns; they are hiding something under all that grease paint and I don’t think anyone really wants to know what it is. However, this story is not just about psychotic clowns, there are plenty of other messed up factors to it; I don’t want to spoil anything, you’ll have to read it. I threw in a lot of campy flavor too, from Mary’s obsession with her hair to Darrin being a douche in general to the delight the Deuce takes in their art.
    Thank you Kriss for this delightful review/write-up, somehow you got into my brain and put this all together. Oh, there feels to be a sequel brewing, so it isn’t over yet.


  1. This is what I get when I go to look up Evil Clowns on Amazon… - [...] AGO.. and tonight .. DIRECT from my INBOX to yours… I blame CHUCK and my research for my Circus Tarot…

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