Honk Honk, My Darling: A Rex Koko, Private Clown Mystery

It's 1944, in a dirty, crowded American city. As different groups struggle to scratch out a living, territorial boundaries remain clearly marked. The circus folk—faded stars, hangers-on and those kinkers temporarily down on their luck— keep their distance from "respectable society" in a sawdusty ghetto called Top Town.

There, under garish neon and tattered canvas, audiences come every night for cheap thrills, both wholesome and not. Fire eaters perform for gin money. Gypsies reveal the future (and for a sawbuck can make it happen). Daredevils cheat Death time after time, but once. And witness to it all is one of the most loved and notorious figures in Top Town, a tough joey with a deadly past and a nose for picking all the wrong fights: Rex Koko, private clown.

In "Honk Honk, My Darling", Rex is hired by an aging, arrogant trapeze star to bring back his wayward wife. Every time Rex comes close to finding her, however, other aerialists come to gruesome and spectacular ends. Is Addie Carlozo a "black widow"? Is Rex really cursed with bad luck? Why is he being followed by those red-headed roustabout bastards, the Redd Brothers? And will "circus justice" intervene before the police do?

Revenge, corruption and murder headline the bill in Top Town, where life comes 3 balls for a nickel. Babes, bullets, banana peels!  As e.e. cummings said, "Damn everything, but the circus!"




"Like Raymond Chandler before him, Garner explores the seedy underbelly of show business. Chandler showed us the truth about the heavy weights of the silver screen, while Garner gives us a glimpse of the big shots of the circus world. And it is a world populated by kinkers, joeys, flatties, ginks, bips, midgets and fat ladies. Garners unscathing look at the big top does not avoid any ugly truth, like the historical fact that clowns and midgets have never gotten along."

--Matt Walsh, Upright Citizens Brigade, High Life, The Hangover

James Finn Garner

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