The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter – Charles Kriel
Mel pursues a heartless killer through the darkest heart of the gothic South, only to discover the mysteries of her own shadowy past revealed in blood.
Set on the carnival lot of a South Georgia tobacco town, The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter is a wild Lynch-ian ride through a world that few people have ever experienced.
Before I cover the book I need to comment on how Fahrenheit Press brought it to my attention – by telling me absolutely nothing about it! I was lured in by the promise of mystery and the chance to support something new and different. Fahrenheit managed to persuade Amazon to put their book up for sale with no title announce, no author named and no description of what the book was about – other than it was a crime novel. The pitch was ‘trust us and we will give you a great book’. The ultimate mystery story! Gotta love someone trying something different so I signed up as an early adopter (as a result I got a nice name check in the book too – along with a fair few of my fellow bloggers).
So what the Hell did I buy?
Well it turned out to be a ripper of a read. A murder story with more than a few exciting action scenes, plot twists and intrigue plus some of the most memorable characters I have read in any book for a long time.
Melanie (Mel) Barry grew up amongst the carnival people – raised by the Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady and surrounded by performers, acrobats, ‘freaks’ and mermaids. The Carnival folk wanted a life away from authorities and the anonymity that the carnival could provide them – Mel bucked that trend by becoming a military cop. She is smart, skilled and tough as nails but she is also on the run, AWOL from the army and keeping a very low profile.
A murder of a prominent townsperson at the Carnival leads to the arrest of Mel’s father – Lobster Boy (Charlie). Mel returns to the carnival to investigate and quickly establishes that it would have been physically impossible for Charlie to have committed the murder. But in this town there is a very close network of prominent businessmen running the show and although Charlie’s carnival has provided them with some very pleasant distractions in the past – this time around Charlie is not receiving any preferential treatment.
Mel’s investigation soon leads her into direct confrontation with the cabal running the town but also throws up some figures from her past, not every familiar face brings a happy memory. As the investigation progresses Mel finds herself in increasing danger – siding with a local lawyer and one of the acrobats from the carnival the trio face down threats and attacks in a series of exhilarating action sequences.
The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter was a refreshing and highly entertaining read and Kreil captures the essence of carnival life better than any story I have read in the past. Mel is a kickass action hero and I hope this is a character I can read about in future. May be too quirky for the more conventional reader but this is a book you would be foolish to overlook.
The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter is published by Fahrenheit Press and is available now in digital format