Niall Howell's Only Pretty Damned is a taut noir that takes you behind the big top, revealing rough and tumble characters, murderous plots, and crooked schemes designed to keep Rowland’s World Class Circus afloat for another season. When Toby, former trapeze artist turned disgruntled clown, begins seeing Gloria, a young and beautiful dancer longing for a bigger role under the spotlight, his hardboiled past resurfaces. Can he live without Genevieve, his ex-trapeze partner and lover? What ruthless actions will he take to regain his position as the headlining act? And will Toby’s past repeat itself as he tries to untangle the ropes that bind him and take a leap to roaring applause?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Evoking the vivid surrealism of circus life, Niall Howell’s noirish debut novel takes you on a tightrope walk with a crew of wayward outsiders. Chief among these misfits is the book’s gruff narrator, Toby, a sad clown (really) whose burgeoning new romance is derailed by his professional and personal failings. After being demoted from trapeze artist and pining fruitlessly for his ex, Toby heads down some dark, dangerous paths. The shadowy thrills of Only Pretty Damned kind of made us want to run away and join the circus.