Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Book Review of Books of Blood (Vol 2)

Books of Blood (Vol 2)
Books of Blood (Vol 2)
Author: Clive Barker
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
LaurieS avatar reviewed on + 504 more book reviews

I read Dread ages ago in its graphic art format and really cant remember much about it besides the fact that it made my skin crawl a little.

Stephen Grace is a university student who catches the eye of a teacher named Quaid. Stephen is afraid of public speaking but Quaid instructs him not only to give voice to his fears but to analyze them. Quaid is fascinated with dread in all its facets and revels in learning more about it.

I have to admit this short story took some work getting into. Seven tries to be exact. It didnt hook me right away and was a bit boring and dry. Stephen meets Quaid in a local bar and they have a really tedious conversation about the beast of philosophy and how the school doesnt really teach it, eventually leading into a discussion about dread. This begins their tenuous friendship. After some checking around, Stephen learns that strangely enough no one on campus knows much at all about Quaid. When a bright beautiful student named Cheryl begins spending time with Quaid, Stephen is initially jealous because shes hogging so much of his time. Before long Stephen realizes Quaid is only interested in Cheryl because she is a vegetarian who fears meat. And you just know this isnt going to end well . . .

Quaid, you see, has been experimenting with all facets of dread, trying to learn all he can to expand his intelligentia. Before Stephen realizes what is going on with the not-so-sane Quaid, he has already exposed his fears to him. But things dont end quite as Quaid expects as he experiences the ultimate lesson in dread.

Though this story was a slow starter once it got moving it didnt let up. Barker usually does an amazing job building dread so this story suits his talent well. Its a slow build but once you can get through the first few dull pages you get a decent payoff.

Hells Event
Hells come up to visit the streets of London in order to gather up some souls. Hell enjoys a good wager and intends to win a big race but a nosy competitor catches on to his plan.

This story mostly bored me. There was a lot of talk about racing and winning, blah, blah, freaking blah. Finally, things take a turn for the creepy midway through when the runners realize theyre running for more than a prize, theyre running for their lives and . . . democracy!

Though things finally picked up overall I didnt care much for this story.

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament

Jacquelines life is one boring day followed by another. She cant take it anymore and decides to put an end to her misery but fails in the attempt and is brought back from the brink of death with a grisly talent and a new lust for life. Its horribly humorous.

Then we switch gears and read Oliver Vassis testimony where he explains how he first met Jacqueline and was instantly under her spell. Enamored by her but knowing shes been lying to him he starts to snoop into her past and gets a small taste of her power and then wants more . . . Foolish man.

This was a great story; so far my favorite possibly because of the twisted love story and creative goriness Barker delights in as he details his dark tale of lust, power and love.

The Skins of the Fathers

When Davidsons Mustang breaks down on the side of the highway in the desert he immediately hears a song and thinks he sees a line of dancers. So the fool gets it into his head to chase them down, hollering like an idiot. A few actually stop, only to reveal themselves as monsters. He poops his panties and attempts to flee and the beast reduces his beautiful car to pieces of shredded metal and skedaddles in a glorious burst of flames. After this weird encounter Davidson is picked up, stinky pants and all, by another driver. He got off easy but hes too dumb to leave town.

Once every generation or so, the desert spat out its demons and let them loose awhile.

This is what cocky sheriff Packards dad told him as a young un but he never believed that crap until the gooey remains of a Bar-B-Qd demon show up in his town. Nasty fun and gore ensue but then the true horror begins when Barker introduces a wife beating, child abusing man. And when the reason hes so damn mean is revealed, well, Ill just say that the monsters have something to do with it.

A hick sheriff, small minded red-necks and some silly women fill out the story and there wasnt a likable one in the whole lot. The demons, determined to fix a cataclysmic error made eons ago, may be the only decent characters here but theyre not all that bright either.

I liked the idea behind this story but in the end some of the actions of the monsters just didnt make a whole lot of sense.

New Murder in the Rue Morgue

Lewis returns to Paris at the request of life long friend Catherine. Their old friend Philip, a randy old coot who at 69 years of age is still going at it with beautiful 19 year olds, is accused of brutally murdering his latest lovely young thing. Philip has no interest in being saved and only wants to die but Catherine begs Lewis to stay, to investigate. So investigate he does and what he uncovers is downright bizarre and if I say anything else Ill no doubt ruin the story for you.

This one was weird and thats all Im saying.

Want fewer ads?