Clowns vs. Spiders
by Jeff Strand
Independently published (September 19, 2019)
Reviewed by Scott Baker

If you rolled your eyes when you read the book’s title, let me start this review by urging you to push your initial assumption aside and give this book a read.  It is definitely worth it.

Just like its title suggests, CLOWNS VS. SPIDERS is a story about a group of circus clowns who must pit themselves against a cluster of ancient, voracious arachnids that have recently awakened in a nearby cave.  But how does a clown fight off countless dog-sized predators that can overtake their prey in poisonous-teeth-filled waves?  Hopefully with a dose of humor and a lot of bug spray!

Author Jeff Strand offers up an interesting premise here, and he executes it very well.  The story is tight and well-contained.  It is not filled with fluff, nor does it rely on its clever premise to carry it along.

Instead, Strand gives the reader much to consider in regard to group dynamics when faced with an apocalyptic situation, and he even explores the age-old nature of clowns themselves.  If you are looking for Pennywise or Killjoy in this group of jesters, you will find neither; the clowns in CLOWNS VS. SPIDERS are pure, good-natured human beings who truly seek to entertain people.  This aspect alone makes the book worth reading.  When was the last time you read a story with clowns that weren’t evil??

CLOWNS VS. SPIDERS is written well and flows at a nice pace.  Strand does a fantastic job of creating suspense and offering a load of thrills (as well as a nice helping or three of gory demises) in this entertaining jaunt.  It is campy sometimes, but it works here; at times, the book feels like a spider-filled version of Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

The characters are well fleshed-out and believable.  They are also likeable, which helps the reader empathize with them when things go bad.  It seems like too many horror movies and books these days are filled with detestable characters, which means the audience or reader roots for the monsters instead of the protagonist(s).  While that can be fun, I’d personally rather have main characters I actually enjoy and care about.

This book is a definite win for me.  If you are afraid of clowns, spiders or both, CLOWNS VS. SPIDERS  is sure to scare the living hell out of you…and you’ll love every minute of it.