I admit it, Internet. I'd given up on Clive Barker. After becoming a a successful writer and film director - Barker didn't work on anything but projects that he chose (including Candyman and producing the James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters). Sometime in 2000, I figured that Barker had been out of the entrail-gorged trenches long enough for two bad things to happen.
These are the two things that eventually happen to a really successful horror writer: Number One, he grows very comfortable in his Beverly Hills mansion far from the horrible things that inspire novelists to kill monsters in print - and, after awhile, Number Two happens: he loses the icy chill of his trademarked "touch". Olympic sized swimming pools and acres of palm trees have a way of obscuring inspiration rooted in struggle and loss.
Originally, as a fan of the Books of Blood, the otherworldly horror movie Hellraiser series and the classic film Nightbreed I truly believed that all the creativity that could be wrung out of Cliver Barker's English brain had been spilt. Then, I read his 2007 release, Mister B. Gone.
This short novel (248 pages) takes some of what made Barker's competition so successful and applies it to the pathetic and vengefull minor demon, Jakabok Botch. He channels the ruptured realism of Koontz and direct approach of King to build the strangely lucid tale of Jakabok Botch. Botch is stolen from the Ninth Circle of Hell to visit his burning need for wrath upon humanity. That is, when he is not moments away from being skinned alive, boiled, lynched, beaten, stripped or incinerated by a superstitous 15th Century era world of corrupt Archbishops, deadly Angels and vicious Demons who all walk the earth in the same shadow that Botch attempts (and miserably fails) to cloak himself in.
There are many more twists in this book that are all narrated from the mystical prison that Jakabok is doomed to inhabit - the book in the reader's very hands. This book is very unusual and has Barker fans on the fence. As a stand alone work? Mister B. Gone is still notable for it's pacing, approach and thought provoking nature - 4 outta five stars, Internet.
Clive Barker announced through his official website that he will be writing the script to a remake of the original Hellraiser movie and has 5 more new books forthcoming. Additionally, Barker will be a featured artist at Horrorhound's 2010 Indianapolis horror convention.
Horrorhound Indy, Guest Line-Up