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“The guys who were supposed to be my crew, my pals, my posse, had left me for dead, after I had gone above and beyond for them, after I had sussed out the perfect score, after I had done my homework, after I had overcome their stupidity, after I had sacrificed my near-virginity by having sex with the limbless lady.”

When he wakes up naked by the side of the highway in the middle of the desert, twenty-two-year-old Bailey Quinn is only sure of a few things: He’s in a world of testicle pain. He’s tripping out of his head on peyote. And someone seems to have made a half-assed attempt at slashing his throat. He can’t for the life of him remember what happened. And then it all comes back: His boys screwed him over.

Bailey, college dropout and carny, was working props and rigging for a touring tent circus and freak show. The Freaks were the nastiest, most tweaked-out group of misfits Bailey had ever come across. But the Freaks were doing some shady bookkeeping in addition to a boatload of veterinary Quaalude and crystal meth. So to get the inside dope on the circus payroll, Bailey took up with Eelie, the Serpent Girl, and began an unexpectedly erotic and dangerous odyssey.

As Bailey hits the road to track down his “friends” and get his loot back, a black-edged, hilarious caper unfolds. From Tank Deerflower, the drug-dealing rodeo rider, and Arnold, the fire-eater with a temper as black as his charred throat, to Sissy, the beautiful ex-junkie/whore who steals Bailey’s heart, strange characters and stranger events converge in this fast, gritty, and unforgettable novel. Crafted with artistry and deftness, Serpent Girl is a voyage into the darkest depths of carny life–and, remarkably, a tender love story to boot.

From the Hardcover edition.

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