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Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3 Paperback – October 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career. For those who already know these tales, the poignant introduction is a window on the creator's mind. Reflecting back after 14 years, Barker writes:

I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.

Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago.

These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: "The Midnight Meat Train," a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; "The Yattering and Jack," about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; "In the Hills, the Cities," an unusual example of an original horror premise; "Dread," a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament," about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster

From Library Journal

Barker launched his best-selling career in 1984 with the Books of Blood trilogy, which are published together here as a single volume. In addition to the numerous short stories contained in the Books, this edition also sports a new introduction by the author. Bloody good fun.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 507 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425165582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425165584
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He is the worldwide bestselling author of the Books of Blood, and numerous novels including Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Sacrament and Galilee. In addition to his work as a novelist and short story writer he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for the stage and screen. His films include Hellraiser, Hellbound, Nightbreed and Candyman. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Clive Barker did not want his Books of Blood broken up into individual volumes when they were published, yet that is what happened. Now, the first three volumes are available in one book, serving as the perfect introduction to Barker's unique style of horror. There are some really groundbreaking stories included here, alongside of a dud or two from Volume Two, but each and every story exhibits the genius and originality of its author's dark vision.
The initial offering, The Book of Blood, stands out as a unique ghost story, but it also serves as a provocative abstract for everything Barker sought to accomplish with these stories. After this enticing introductory tale, we head below the streets of New York to sneak a ride on The Midnight Meat Train. This story is vintage Clive Barker, full of blood and gore. Barker isn't trying to drown the reader in blood as a means to hide any lack of skill on his part, though, because the skill is undeniably there for all to see. In The Yattering and Jack, a dark comedy farce, a poor demon does everything he can think of to make the unshakeable Jack miserable, driving himself almost mad in the process. I think of The Yattering and Jack as an amusing sort of Barker bedtime story. Pig Blood Blues forces the casual reader to once again don hip hugger boots for a trek into gore and depravity. At a certain school for wayward boys, the other white meat is not pork. Sex, Death and Starshine is a good story, touching upon the needs of the dead to be entertained every once in a while, but it lacks a certain oomph.
Dread is a somewhat sadistic tale of one man's obsession with death.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Sinister on May 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Years ago, around '86 or '87 a friend of mine in High School turned me on to a then unknown Englishman by the name of Clive Barker. I was a complete Stephen King junkie at the time and this friend of mine said, dude, you gotta read this guy's stuff...he's un-f*cking-real! I kinda wrinkled my nose and shook my head. Read some no-name's book...pleeze. But I trusted this friend with his opinions and while browsing around one day at a local B. Dalton bookstore I came across a hardcover copy of In The Flesh by Mr. Barker on the under $5.00 table. What the heck. It bought it and read it and....Jeezus! The Forbidden still haunts me to this day. But that small dose of Barker was only the beginning. A few months later I had the luck of finding (on the same under $5.00 table in the same bookstore) a harcover copy of The Books Of Blood. Now, in England, The Books Of Blood were arranged in volumes I through VI by a little outfit called Sphere Ltd, but Stateside, they were broken up into Volumes I through III, The Inhuman Condition, In The Flesh and finally at the end of the novel Cabal. Anyway, I took the book home and started to read the short stories represented there one by one. Astonishing. Nothing I had ever read before would prepare me for what Clive Barker was up to. Never before had I witnessed such abominations, such cruelties, such acts of horrifying and engrossing carnal abberations. He scared me more than a little. Great God, where had this guy come from? Stephen King was praising him on the jacket of every book he printed and rightly so. This guy was the new messiah of the modern horror story. Nowhere had I read such raw, brutal and fresh ideas. Nothing cliche here.Read more ›
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Joey Hall on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
As one person who wrote a review for this, I am an avid horror reader. But, unlike that same person, I love this book. Chilling, though-provoking, and yes, even a little bit funny. These tales really get in under your skin, literally! I liked most of the stories, but some where not good. I shall now tell you about my favorite tales.
"The Book of Blood": A man opens the highway, and in doing so, gets these stories engraved on his skin. Pretty wicked.
"The Midnight Meat Train": A newcomer in New York. A man who kills on the subway for a higher power. Guess what happens? They meet(no pun intended). One of his grosser tales, with VERY VIVID descripitions(spelled it wrong, I think). The first story I read.
"The Yattering and Jack": A funnier story, with little gore. The Yattering(a demon) is assigned the least caring man in the world. The turkey scene is a classic!
"Pig Blood Blues": A boy hangs himself in a barn, and still lingers about... Not his best story. the fact that they are putting it in the Books of Blood movie disgusts me. Still, pretty bloody.
"In the Hills, the Cities": Cities join in an old battle. Two, um, "lovers" see the battle. Quite possibly the bloodiest, not goriest, tale in the book. The first story by Barker I EVER read.
"The Skins of the Fathers": Demons. Mountain town. Nuff said. Pretty cool, with lotsa cool monsters.
"Jaqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament": A women can do things to men with her mind. Very erotic ending. Also, the man into women scene is not to be skimmed!
"Rawhead Rex": An old monster gets loose in a village. The best monster story ever made!
Half of the stories in the book!
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