Book Review: Freakshow by Lori Safranek

Freakshow by Lori Safranek is a fun group of stories about a band of freaks weaved together with such skill, you’ll wonder if the author is a contortionist.

We all feel like freaks at one time or another so it’s easy to relate to these sideshow performers the way the author shows their weaknesses and strengths in such a vulnerable way. Reading this book, it makes you understand what the life of a freak might really be like and that we aren’t as different as they are. It’s really refreshing to see freaks in the hero roles because normally they’re seeing as the bad guys.

Marie is The Fat Lady with charm in such abundance that someone tries to steal it from her. Lily Dean is a snake charmer whose skills inspire a psychotic priest to attack her. Smudge is a tattooed man who is tortured by a demoness tattoo who tries to suck the life out of him. They’ve all been collected by the sideshow owner, Steiner, who tries to protect them in his one-of-a-kind REAL freak show, but around every turn someone is trying to undermine his show or kill his entertainers.

The best thing about this book is the character development and the relationships between them. Reminiscent of the Midnight Texas TV Series, Freakshow  has a cast of characters that could easily inspire spin-offs. If you don’t fall in love with Marie–who has my undying admiration–there are plenty of others to enjoy. Blade the sword swallower, Jason the gator boy, or the lovely Gypsy, a fortune teller extraordinaire.

The villains, too, are fun to read as each tale has a mystery and you never quite know who the baddie is until the last bit. Sometimes the bad guy doesn’t even know! This is a great read and enjoyable from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read more tales of the freaks.