"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."



This book is so much more than just an anthology of short stories. There is actually a very unique concept in how all these stories tie into each other.

When first opening this book, the page after the Acknowledgments reads a simple but eerie quote:
"Everybody is a book of blood; Whenever we're opened, we're red."

The opening story is called The Book of Blood. It's basically about this guy who pisses off the spirit world and they decide they are going to teach him a serious lesson. They basically carve their stories into his skin. These carvings are the following stories in the book.

-The Midnight Meat Train : This was a pretty good story, a bit gory, but good all the same. After reading this, I don't think I'll be taking the subway anywhere. 

-The Yattering and Jack: This was one of my favorites contained in this anthology. The Yattering is a little demon who likes to cause chaos. This story was actually funny.

-Pig Blood Blues: This was my other favorite. My kids are wonderful and don't ever get into trouble, but if they are ever tempted to do anything bad I will certainly let them read this story and swear it's the truth behind juvenile detention centers. 

-Sex, Death and Starshine: This one was pretty good. Very dramatic, but it's about a theater and actors so it fits the bill.

-In the Hills, The Cities: This is probably the only story I really didn't care for. I suppose it's because I didn't like the two main characters. They seemed contrived and the story seemed forced. There was no connection with the characters and I really didn't care what happened to them.  

I would definitely call this book a success and liked it a lot despite not liking the last story in the anthology. I don't know of anyone who likes every story contained in an anthology. It's most certainly worth the read. I hope to get volume 2 & 3 soon.

Volume 1-3 can be purchased from Amazon.

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