[amazon_link id=”0061562491″ target=”_blank” ]Mister B. Gone[/amazon_link] by Clive Barker
Through the years of his publications within the genre, Clive Barker has earned himself the title ‘Master of Horror’. Stephen King himself was once quoted on Barkers book covers “I have seen the future of horror fiction, his name is Clive Barker”. So when we hadn’t received a full novel from him since 2001, it was a welcome return to the genre which made his name. Taking time out of his work on ‘The Scarlet Gospels’ Barker gave us this bloody, gruesome and somewhat refreshing chronicle of the life of a demon, but not just any ordinary demon, he is in fact the narrator, the focus of the story and trapped within the book itself.
The book begins by telling you to burn it. The demon trapped within its pages attempts to get you (the reader) to burn the book and forget all about it. It’s not until about ten or so pages on and the reader is driven on by curiosity, that the demon identifies itself as Jakabok Botch. Slowly, piece by piece, he begins to tell you his story, which begins with him being chased up out of hell, through every level, and in to our world where he is then hunted and flees for his life from the humans of the 14th Century. The story continues over the years of his life describing events of significance, going in to detail about those he meets and his search for inventions which he finds so fascinating. The demon goes on to describe the vile and horrific things that he does, the people he kills and his own often comical perspective of the evolving world around him and his utter indifference to the horrific actions he takes. The story eventually leads to the discovery of one particular invention which gets him very excited, and his journey towards the invention soon becomes the central point of the story.
It is very easy to read and takes a surprisingly light tone for a horror story. But the amusing narrative and the care free mentality of the demon adds a refreshing change to what could have very easily been a cliché creature. But enough dimension and description is added to the life story of the demon that this nasty, vile creature of hell which terrorises humans for fun, becomes something of an antihero and as I read on, I found myself sympathising with Jakabok Botch.
I very much enjoyed Mister B. Gone, and as it was given to me as a gift with sealed lips and a grin, I was advised to pass it on afterwards in the same way. It certainly strayed from the works that we usually see from Clive Barker in the sense that it did not take itself too seriously; the novel was very short in comparison to much of his other works and so did not spend as much time building on the climactic ending or going in to great detail on fantastical new worlds like I am used to with such works as ‘[amazon_link id=”0743417356″ target=”_blank” ]Weaveworld[/amazon_link]’. But without comparing it to other works of horror, as a standalone book, I was able to enjoy it, and I hope to one day pass it on and give someone else the same morbid delight that I once tasted.
(Review by Rory Warwick)