Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: December 10, 2012
Amazon ♥ B & N
If you enjoy stories by Diana Wynne Jones and J.K. Rowling, you're in the right neighborhood for The Mumbo Jumbo Circus series. Step right up...
Sixteen year-old Dante Delgado is staring down the barrel of a gangbanger's gun when he's surprised by the arrival of a clown on a unicycle.
Dante hates clowns. He hates everything to do with the circus. He once dreamed of being one of the few trapecistas able to do a quadruple somersault in the air. Then a tragic accident took his parents, their circus, and his ability to fly.
But when faced with the choice between the circus or a bullet, he jumps on the clown's shoulders and rides off to an even more mysterious adventure involving Dia de los Muertos, two dangerous girls, and the nemesis of the tiny, magical Mumbo Jumbo Circus, the evil Las Vegas spectacular, Cirque Patron.
“Found me? I guess so,” Dante said to the back of the Ringmaster’s head. “El payoso said you have a job. For someone who speaks Spanish.”
The circus master’s long fingers nimbly worked at fixing his string tie. His goateed chin twisted to one side in concentration.
“Not a job for anyone who happens to speak Spanish. A job just for you.” His dark eyes caught Dante’s gaze in the mirror.
“That sounds weird,” said Dante. An eerie, high-pitched noise emanated from the mirror.
The Ringmaster took a step backward. “That sounds weird. My mirror has never done that before.”
The screech shaped itself into a frail, thin voice speaking what sounded like Spanish. As distinct words formed, a face coalesced in the mirror. Dante startled and fell off his seat. The hard oak chair tipped to land sideways on the oriental carpet.
“Abuela!” Dante felt behind him for the wall.
The ghostly image spoke in rapid Spanish.
“What’s she saying?” said the Ringmaster.
Dante leaned against the velvety wallpaper for support and gaped in horror at the image in the mirror.
“I told you I need a person who speaks Spanish.” The Ringmaster stepped to Dante’s side and placed a calming hand upon his shoulder. “However, I didn’t foresee this particular occurrence. I imagined something more along the lines of better communication with the Spanish-speaking roustabouts. I should always listen to the Pickled Punk. Someday, I’ll learn.”
The specter shrieked.
“Translate please, Mr. Delgado.” The Ringmaster tucked his shoulder length dark hair behind his ears and waited.
Dante said, “She wants you to shut up.”
Dante looked up into the Ringmaster’s dumbfounded face. “She’s not usually like this, Sir.”
The Ringmaster quizzed his head. “You know each other?”
A stream of insistent Spanish spewed forth from the mirror. The Ringmaster motioned for Dante to quickly continue translation.
Dante cleared his tightening throat. “She says she has what you need. But you can only have it if you make me whole again.”
The Ringmaster’s sharply intelligent eyes went from Dante to the ghost. “Ask her what she thinks it is I need?”
Dante did, and the answer came hurtling from the ghost’s mouth. Dante replied, “She says you should be ashamed of yourself, your circus is naked and you know exactly what it is you need.”
The Ringmaster pulled his pointed beard. “Ah ha.”
The mirror’s spectral vision continued to speak in rapid Spanish. Dante did his best to keep up translation, “You only have until Dia de los Muertos to make me whole. After that, she has to leave this plane and the arrangement is off.” His eyes burned with threatening tears as he took in the full meaning of her words.
A broad smile—it reminded Dante of a fox or coyote—lit up the Ringmaster’s features. He cracked his knuckles. “Tell her I accept. It’s a deal. But you work while you’re here.”
Dante relayed the message and the fantasma visibly relaxed. Well, that made one of them. He was still hyperventilating.
The Ringmaster dusted off a top hat and placed it upon his head. The show must be going to start soon. “When exactly is Dia de los Muertos?” he inquired.
Dante didn’t need to ask the ghost this question. He knew the answer well. “It starts in the evening on the first of November, and carries on into All Souls Day, the second.” He glanced up. “That’s five days from now.”
“Then we have our work cut out for us, don’t we?”
The vision in the mirror started to fade. It reached out its hand toward Dante with a sorrowful expression, and then it was gone. Dante sagged against the wall, sliding down to sit on the floor. His forehead hit his knees.
“Who was that mysterious apparition?” the Ringmaster inquired as he located his show whip and wound the long lash around the handle.
“My grandmother,” answered Dante as his shoulders heaved, and the tears he tried to hold back burst forth.
The Ringmaster’s voice softened. “You must have loved her very much.” Dante shot to his feet and shouted, “I didn’t know she was dead!”
Author and illustrator Jane George lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts and has won awards for her art.
A dedicated writer for over a decade, she produces and publishes her YA fantasy and literary titles under her personal imprint, Paper Grove Publishing.
Giveaway per blog: (1) eBook copy of THE MUMBO JUMBO CIRCUS (Book #1) or THE DARING YOUNG MAN (Book #2).