Technicolor Terrorists by Andre Duza
Genre: Adult Bizarro/Horror
Publisher: Deadite Press
Release date: March 2014
Source: e-Book from author
The nitty-gritty: Over-the-top violence, killer clowns with more to them than meets the eye, and a slew of carnival misfits that leave the carnival and venture out into the world, leaving chaos in their wake.
The bouncy ball named Louie had rolled further away and was watching from a safe distance and under the cover of heavy shadows. It was darker on this end of the block, but darkness suited Louie just fine. The congestion in front of Kurt Sadler’s house was as good a sign as any that it was time to move on from this place. But the limbo between haunts was the most agonizing part of being alone. Appeasing his lecherous proclivities was becoming secondary to finding a permanent haunt or, dare he dream, legitimate acceptance.
Author Andre Duza says in his bio that he is a leading member of the Bizarro movement in contemporary fiction. I’ll admit I had never heard of Bizarro until I read Technicolor Terrorists, but I won’t soon forget these odd and violent stories. This book is certainly not for everyone. The graphic violence is almost comical, it’s so ridiculously over-the-top, but it is graphic violence nonetheless, and reading it made my stomach heave more than once. What Duza does to justify this violence is frame it in a story about carnival clowns and other oddities, and seen in that light it works extremely well.
A collection of loosely connected stories, Duza starts the book with a tale about a traveling carnival, whose disgruntled clowns and the few remaining sideshow freaks are about to be thrust out into the real world. From there, we get to see the various characters out of their element and trying to survive without the constraints of the carnival. Some of the same characters pop up again and again, and I did like the fact that the first and last stories focus on the same character, a large stone statue of a weeping Jesus. I thought the stories ended rather abruptly, however, as though Duza was trying too hard to be clever by giving us a shock ending. And although each story features at least one character from the opening tale, I did miss the cohesiveness that a novel gives you. These stories are more like vignettes, snapshots of some very bizarre characters that are more mood pieces that a complete story.
But overall this is a well-written bunch of stories that will certainly go under the “new and different” category of genre fiction. Here’s a quick break-down of each one:
The Holy Ghost Claw—Harley Cooper, the head of the Toxic Brothers Traveling Carnival, has just acquired a new side-show act, one that he thinks is bound to get the carnival back on its financial feet. But the carnival’s clowns, a family group known as the Ton brothers, don’t like the way Marley’s been running things, and they want payback. The story starts out innocently enough, but soon turns horrific as the reader begins to realize that these are not your ordinary clowns.
Paper Cuts—After the terrible events at the end of The Holy Ghost Claw, the carnival freaks have been set loose on the world. One of them, an odd character named Louie 2D, turns up in a suburban real estate development called Utopia Springs Estates and begins to terrorize the people who live there. It doesn’t take long for this story to turn bloody, and after reading this you’ll never look at a rubber ball the same way again.
Technicolor Terrorists—The longest story of the bunch, this one focuses on the Ton brothers clowns, a bunch of the weirdest and scariest clowns I’ve ever met in fiction! A detective named Officer Mars gets caught up in a bizarre murder investigation and realizes—too late—that he is in way over his head. This whacked out story is crowded with murderous clowns who have more than one face, the mob, guns, and buckets of blood. Duza keeps the reader off guard by leaving us to wonder what is real and what isn’t.
Indo and the Killer Rockstar—This story features another oddity from the carnival, a creature named Indo who can turn into mist at will. Indo sets out to help a rock star named Jason Sykes, whose music causes people to turn on and rip each other to shreds. When Jason is framed for a club fire that kills everyone inside, he finds himself on the run from various demented groups of people who want to bring him to justice. No clowns in this story, but plenty of Duza’s brand of graphic violence.
Drug Runnin’ Blues—The final, and shortest, tale in the collection, this is the only story that I didn’t really enjoy. Maybe it was just too short and ended way too abruptly. A man on a drug run is contemplating whether or not to finish the job—he’s worried about getting caught and going to jail—when some key events on the road help him make his decision.
Bizarro indeed. Technicolor Terrorists will pull you out of any reading rut you happen to be in, if only by shocking you with its blend of horror, dark humor and violence. Duza’s stories are an unfocused everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mixture that seems like it shouldn’t work at all. But in the end, I looked back over the book as a whole and caught a glimpse of the author’s vision. I’m not sure I understood everything he was trying to accomplish, but it was a fun ride.
Big thanks to Andre Duza for supplying a review copy.
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