The Scarlet Gospels takes listeners back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes, faces off against his formidable and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with baited breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more.
Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker's horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories. The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?
©2015 Clive Barker (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
I'm a pop culture columnist for Gannett, and I spend all my waking moments listening to books. (I'm also Batman, but shhh.)
I am planning to delve into the Barker collection. I read "Hellbound Heart" many years ago, and I think Clive Barker is clever and original. I am sad that Pinhead's story arc doesn't get much play in any of the other stories (as far as I can tell). I would have loved to have the universe of Hell Priests expanded into a full history.
John Lee, on the other hand, was very disappointing as the narrator. I don't expect the narrator to come up with a voice for every character, so I never understand why narrators go out of their way to attempt voices and accents that are far beyond their range. With the core characters being of American origin, it was not a good idea to cast a narrator from the UK to attempt caricature American accents that wouldn't even sound good in a cartoon.
Every time he spoke as Harry, or, worse, Lana, it completely took me out of the story as both sounded like they should have been arguing in a Bronx deli over rye bread instead of how to defeat an onslaught of demons.
This is the first book I've listened to by Clive Barker. I'll listen to the others as long as Lee isn't the narrator.
If you can't do an accent, don't try. The listening audience isn't here for a theatrical performance. We're hear to listen to a story. If it's absolutely necessary that the characters have American accents, then use a narrator who is either American or can speak in an American accent.
Yes. I want to re-record it.
From what I've read about Barker and Pinhead, it seems like he doesn't want to do anything else with the character, which is fine. But, my hope is that he changes his mind someday and revisits the monastery with its many Hell Priests. I'd love to know its history and purpose.
I'm a Clive Barker fan from the Books of Blood days. Waiting on pins and needles for the Scarlett Gospels and was hooked from the get go (sorry!). Typical Barker tome, could use editing to tighten-up the narrative (same issue as with Great and Secret Show and Imajica). But his writing is so lush and decadent, the right mix of sex, blood, and gore. No surprises, just glad Barker is back. John Lee was very good as Pinhead, Lucifer, and Dale, but perhaps not the best choice for doing New York accents. So much more could have been done with sound effects. Overall, worth the wait.
Folks obsessed with the Hellraiser comic series and films would enjoy the Scarlet Gospells. Readers who enjoy depictions of gore for gore's sake might like it. Beyond that, Barker completionists, of which I'm one, may tolerate it but are unlikely to really enjoy it.
No. I enjoy horror and fantasy, always have always will. It has warned me off Barker though. I've read pretty much everything he's ever written from short stories to the longest novels. He's rarely disappointed me, but this book is one of the exceptions to the rule.
Mr. Lee works too hard at differentiating characters with heavy handed accents and speech style affectations. They get distracting and don't contribute much to the story.
I'd have to say all three. At his best, Barker achieved transcendent story telling and rose beyond genre. Books like the Great and Secret Show and Imajica added to my own personal mythology and lifted me up beyond the mundane world to an almost spiritual high. This... the Scarlet Gospels... feels like pandering to the lowest common denominator of Barker fandom. I'm talking about the Hellraiser films, the scary monster gore fests that played on shock and striking visuals to terrify late adolescents and young adults on date night. The Scarlet Gospels doesn't have the naivety and fun of the Books of Blood, nor the vision of Imajica, nor the breadth of the tales of the Abarat. Instead, It came off feeling like fan-fic, not like it came from the pen of one of the masters of phantasmagorical fiction of our age. I felt cheated as I listened to it, almost as if I'd been duped and a ghost writer had been employed with Barker signing his name to it as an "executive author." I know that's not likely the case, but it's how it feels.
Finally, a word on Harry Damour. This character is wasted in this book. Harry's not much more than an analog for the reader, a witness to the events of the text. However, Harry's story was the one with some potential. I would pay to see a series on the life and trials of Harry Damour. He's always been a character more in Barker's head and intentions than one that's made it fully fleshed to the page and I'm sad to say, that remains the case despite his supporting role in this text.
The story was engaging, but in a video game sort of way and the one note "beat cop" protagonist did put a drag on whole thing. Pinhead is the real star of the show, and I wish there was more of the Hell Priest and less of "Scott Backula". The graphic details do drag on in some parts, because it feels like Barker is really trying to one up his gory performance in Hellbound Heart.
This story is great if you need some good pulp to carry you through the hours of the day, but be warned the gore isn't for the faint of heartbreaker and should probably be listened to in private or with headphones.
If you are a fan of HELLRAISER, Clive Barker, horror or even fantasy, this was worth the wait.
Pinhead, of course!
My only complaint was that I doubt the reader has seen a "HELLRAISER" film, because the film's Pinhead (actor Doug Bradley) has a voice that is low and demonic Pinhead's voice is so different in the reading it's a bit distracting.
Unless Clive Barker is writing and directing, I don't think a film is even possible. If a film came out without Mr. Barker, I would be wary.
It's gory, sometimes crude, interesting and very descriptive. A tour through the imagination of Clive Barker's vision of HELL and its inhabitants. I'm halfway through my second listen to the book. I wonder what the unedited book with its extra thousands of pages would reveal.
Hi, I'm an alumi of NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I'll give you guys the goods.
The Scarlet Gospels was good and entertaining. However, I really wanted this to be better. Clive Barker's major strength is his vision of horror and hell. That being said his major weakness is that he's a weak writer his characters lack depth almost in the extreme and prose are weak. What's most frustrating is that his characters will leave you with more questions than answers. Most of the time your going to be scratching your head wondering " Why the hell did this guy just do that?" . With Clive Barker the most your going to get is cheap shocks from sexual violence. I think this book couldn't decide if it wanted to be an adventure or horror novel. A much better novel would be God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe.
I have listened to over a thousand audio books. Everything from science fiction to WWII biographies. I have chick lit and serious literature. The ONLY thing that made this book even remotely tolerable was John Lee who is a truly hypnotic narrator. Other than some battle with demons, that is the only thing I got out of this book. To make it a 4 or 5 star listen: how about some character development, some highs and lows or build up. This book feels like the story climax from 10 different books was pieced together.
Sure. I've listened to other Clive Barker books and enjoyed them. This one was unexplainable.
Love John Lee. Listening to him is, as I said, hypnotic. Can't say anything bad about his performance
I don't know that I would have cut anything. I probably would have added a ton of connective tissue. That is what this book lacked.
Not much more I can say other than beware. The sample clip sounds pretty good, but that's probably the best part.
New to Clive Barker and horror? Yes I would recommend.
Fans of Clive Barker? No. It would be disappointing for you.
Most: The prologue is strong. As well as the final battle Pinhead has.
Least Interesting: The journey INTO hell and the last scene of Pinhead.
Yes, but it would never be a movie. Way to graphic.
Before I begin, I have to say I am a huge Clive Barker fan. Films, movies, and comics. Therefore I want to try to be unbiased. Here we go:
I just love Clive Barker's writing style. It is so eloquent. So wise. He uses words you don't hear much anymore. Some words would make you want to Google the definitions. Reading works like this only increases your own vocabulary. Being a fan, I am well aware with the mythos of the Hellraiser world. I've read the original novella, which I recommend by the way. Mr. Barker does not stick to rules he established in the Hellraiser films and his own novella. Which makes me thing: "what is this a sequel to? The film? The novella?" I still question that, sadly. I'll give two examples. They're not really spoilers. First is the puzzle box itself. In the novella, it's all black and shiny. The films have a wooden box with gold trim on all sides. Scarlet Gospels has the box from the films. Next, when the box is opened, a bell is chimed. This was in the films and the novella and occasionally in here. However, sometimes it's not.
If you don't know his work, he can be very erotic and graphic. If you're not comfortable with sex, nudity, and profanity, you might have a problem with this book. But hopefully you know this already.
Overall this is a good book. I'd even say this book is better for newbies to Clive Barker than the fans. If you want a really good Clive Barker book, I recommend "M I finished it in 6 days and it was very much a page turner. I will re-read this in a couple months and see if the nostalgia and disappointment gave it only 3 stars.
Let's have John Lee pretend to be the Jerky Boys imitating Jerry Stiller for every single character that isn't Pinhead.
Love Clive Barker and the Hell Raiser mythos. I do have mixed feeling about the storyline towards the end, but that's just because of my personal ideas on how it should have gone.
It was a great read with lots of details and descriptions of the world he is writing. Also love how it depicts the demon world as another form of humanity, not too different from our own.
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