"The Gallati Family Circus has never known a world outside of the big top. All they know is how to entertain and put on spectacular shows. One night, Dante Gallati springs a surprise on them by announcing a change; he's giving them a new theme called "Cirque Macabre". No one is pleased with the change[,] but they try not to think about it. The next morning, Dante goes missing. Hours later, a piece of him is found[,] and their circus has been turned into a crime scene. Knowing very little about the world outside of their shows, the performers must try to move on while trying to figure out who killed Dante. As they search, they learn [that] Dante had [secrets,] and their old home isn't as safe as they thought."
—Amazon Plot Description
It took me a while before I could easily distinguish each of the dozen or so performers and their particular acts. You get to know them as they prepare for their performances and try to move on in the wake of Dante’s apparent death. C. S. Patra does a fine job putting us in the minds of her characters’ as they struggle to rationalize the events taking place around them. The story is paced well and the characters were easy to relate to. The dialogue was a bit lengthy with certain facts needlessly repeated, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story too much.
Though I liked this book for the most part, it did have a couple of issues. Firstly, there were several clues and plot details introduced throughout the story that didn't go anywhere or move the investigation along. I understand that this is the first book in a series and that these obscurities will probably be solved throughout the Cirque Macabre series. Still, it felt discouraging leaving off with so many unsolved clues. I do admit this left me very interested to read the next installment to find out what all these hints mean, but as a stand-alone novel, the lack of a climax was a bit disappointing. Secondly, the detective working on the case seems unrealistically open and accommodating to the circus troupe. I thought it would have been more realistic if he had been less forthcoming with the facts of the investigation, considering everyone in the circus troupe are suspects. For me, these issues are not that big a deal, but they may be for other readers. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The Show Must Go On (Cirque Macabre #1) is available on Amazon.com
—Amazon Author Biography