Books Of Blood (Volumes 1- 3): Clive Barker
Reviewed by Steve Stred
“So short a time to lose so many treasured illusions.”
Since day 1 of connecting and developing a friendship with Gavin, the mastermind of Kendall Reviews, he’s been on me to read all things Barker and specifically Books of Blood.
I’ll have a Clive Barker feature coming up on the site where I’ll discuss discovering Mr. Barker, but growing up where I did – I didn’t have access to much horror and what I did have access to read, certainly wasn’t Clive.
I’ve now read The Hellbound Heart and last night finished Books of Blood: Volumes 1-3. I have Volumes 4-6 still to get through, but Volumes 1-3 would make a fantastic starting place for anyone wanting to dive into Barker.
I found the stories varied for me, some resonating more than others.
The absolute highlights for me were “Midnight Meat Train,” which is a movie I watched previously, but don’t believe I’d ever read the story before. “Pig Blood Blues” made for a fantastic tale and one that I’d probably go back and reread, “Rawhead Rex,” which was captivating. Anytime we get a monster story from Barker, you know you’re in for a great time. “Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament,” which is itself a unique take on depression. I enjoyed the transformative descriptions Barker used to describe Ess’ newfound powers. “The Yattering and Jack” was a blast. The haunted house/demon descriptions were fantastic and reading about how the demon would discuss his issues with a higher-up was fun.
For me, the absolute highlight that stood above the rest of the group story was “In the Hills, the Cities.”
The folklore aspect coupled with the discovery of what is happening by the male couple was fantastic. It had me engaged from the first word and I ate everything up about this story.
When the couple find the aftermath of the giant battle and still refuse to believe the story, Barker did a great job of trying to have the couple be in denial while at the same time having the conclusion directly involve them.
One of the best stories I’ve ever read.
Overall, I really did enjoy this collection and looking forward to diving deeper into Barker’s back catalog. This one took me a significantly longer time to read than usual because I was reading it in between other books and just tried to enjoy it as much as I could while reading.
I see now why this is such a revered tome.
Books Of Blood (Volumes 1-3)
Here are the stories written on the Book of Blood. They are a map of that dark highway that leads out of life towards unknown destinations. Few will have to take it. Most will go peacefully along lamplit streets, ushered out of living with prayers and caresses. But for a few, the horrors will come, skipping, to fetch them off to the highway of the damned…
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here