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Dirty Monsters Book 1: “Freaks Like Us” by Jackie Trippier Holt

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages! Welcome to Burfoot’s Circus, the travelling home of freaks, misfits, drop-outs and the socially inept – sometimes all of the above – come together for your entertainment pleasure tonight, out of a love of performing in some cases, and simply fear of discovery in others.

“We have little people, fae, werewolves and mutations, hybrids and humans in The Ring together! We have demons and dogs and those who prefer to keep silent about the stories of how and why they came to join the circus.

“Yet, most important of all, we have acts! We have The Saw Man, The Cat Boy, The Violet Illusion, Fearless Henry, Lady Fortunata, Benedict The Storyteller, The Bearded Lady, Snake and too, too many more to mention.

“Catch the show now, while you can. We can’t stay long in any town and who knows where we’ll be next? And honestly, folks, our circus isn’t what it was and certainly isn’t what it should be. See it now and you’ll be able to say, ‘Burfoot’s? I knew it before it was famous’.

“Because nothing can remain a secret forever.”

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Dirty Monsters Book 2: “Bloody Secrets” by Jackie Trippier Holt

“I thought everything was going well. Despite their natural apprehension, the troupe has been performing spectacularly well – so much so that the Hallowe’en acts prompted a visit from one of our forefathers, Mr Harvey Burfoot. The veil between life and death is, after all, thinnest at Samhain.

“It was a heady evening! My guard down, I accidentally mentioned my plan, explaining how it would give Burfoot’s Circus security and space to develop our skills. The idea was not completely disregarded, so I have high hopes.

“While I still have not discovered who is borrowing The History and presumably reading it, I’m certain I soon will. Also, the townies accused us of stealing their wallets. I’ve no idea if this is true. There was an unpleasant scene as we packed up to leave for Blandford Forum, diffused thanks to my taking charge, with help from Bridget’s spells and The Boy’s natural charm.

“I’m not sure what happened after that but one of the performers has left us. She packed in the night and has apparently gone back to the Real World, knowing what the penalty is for desertion.

“Harvey, if you’re reading this, please don’t hurt her.”

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Dirty Monsters Book 3: “Lies & Lures” by Jackie Trippier Holt

“Our little sister Violet has come home. Frankly, I’m amazed she survived Harvey’s Curse – did he let her go, or did he somehow lose her?

“She doesn’t seem to be very happy now she’s back. The unpleasantness between her and Henry might be a sticking point, and can only hope she gets over it quickly. Her performance tonight at the bonfire was jaded. If she wants in, and apparently she does, she must give every ounce of herself. They all must.

“I don’t understand why they don’t try harder! The Hallowe’en show proved they are capable of much more. Yet they slide into mediocrity if they don’t have a boot up their backsides. This is not a place in which to hide, to languish: Burfoot’s is a circus and we are proud to be different! At least, we were. I’m committed to making it so again.

“Fortunately, Violet understands why she can’t speak about the money she brought back, which I fear would dazzle the troupe into even worse habits. Harvey was right to alert me to that possibility. On the other hand, his constant whispering is getting me down. He can’t leave anything alone. He says knowledge is power: yes it is, but sometimes it feels so heavy.

“I wish he’d shut up. I feel like he’s in my head. I can’t think straight.”

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