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Books of Blood (Volume 3)


Clive Barker

Books of Blood (Volume 3)
average rating is 4 out of 5

Horror, Short Stories, Supernatural

R. Alex Jenkins

After reading Books of Blood volumes 1 & 2, you might be thinking, why read even more short stories by Clive Barker?

Someone with more knowledge than me decided to group these three volumes into a 'best of collection' and this is the third instalment, but is it worth your time for yet more churned out horror? The answer is yes, brilliant in places, but not quite as consistent as vols. 2 & 3.

Two of the stories are absolutely stellar and two are really good also.

Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud is about an accountant who works above a sex shop in Soho, London, who has no idea who he is doing the books for, the local mafia, until it all goes remarkably wrong. The best part is the humor as he goes through his discovery and revenge evolution. It works really well because it's like being in Clive Barker's backyard with all the seedy sex working and petty crime.

Best of all is the final short story, Human-Remains, in my opinion one of Clive Barker's best tales and a little bit longer than normal. I raced through it. Again, more sex and criminal activities, but this time involving a male bumboy (his words, not mine) who sweeps the local hotels and bars at night to render his 'services' for payment, but with a really strange and clever twist. It's very atmospheric and a little bit sad.

Son of Celluloid is really good as well with its inventive concept, borrowing ideas from favorite movies to dovetail our collective fear of confronting the grim reaper but not getting away with it. It's a pacey and bizarre story that goes full circle and could easily have been made into a full book.

And there's Rawhead Rex with its intriguing buildup and sudden violence, including a particular scene of priesthood worship to the nine-foot urinating devil. Maybe I was having a bad day, but the ending left me blank.

The only story I didn't enjoy was Scape-Goats, with too much sexing, not enough depth and no real logic or palpable tension. It has elements of Lord of the Flies to it, cruelty for the sake of it and a rather disappointing conclusion.

Overall, another great volume for Clive Barker fans and newcomers alike. I recommend it.

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