by Clive Barker
Sometimes, making a name for yourself, whether in Hell or in writing, can be a double edged sword.
Sure, there’s all that warm and fuzzybeing a literary icon type stuff.. But along with the good comes the not so good. Or perhaps more accurately, what comes with success is the increasing pressure of meeting and exceeding expectations of reader/fans when you (the author) and your literary creation are synonymous with a whole generation of sophisticated horror and subversive humor.
Living up to those expectations while trying to be creative, new and fresh is a task unto itself. A task which horror legend, Clive Barker, attempts with abandon in his new novel, The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martins Press), his first novel length adults-only offering since 2007. In the novel, Barker provides his long-suffering fan base a final story dealing his most well known mind-child, the beloved S&M Cenobite anti-hero of print and screen, Pinhead.
Except, much to our surprise, we find out that good ol’ Pinny (along with Barker) absolutely hates that nickname… In fact, in The Scarlet Gospels, we find out despite nearly thirty years of being known as the demon with the hardware store facial, we should have been calling him the Hell-Priest (don’t forget the hyphen).
Well, geez… That sort of puts a damper on things. It’s kinda like calling, James, your best friend from the fifth grade, “Bobby” for 28 years.
Getting one’s come uppance is at the core of Barker’s motivation in Gospels. In fact, the novel begins with Pin…err, the Hell-Priest teaching a familiar assortment of sorcerers an object lesson about standing in way of what he wants. Namely, absolute proof that the Priest is the biggest and baddest son-of-the abyss that has ever sent an innocent soul shrieking into oblivion.
The Priest means business, gentle folk. To the extent that his master plan, hatched over the course of his last several appearances in film and print, involves him wreaking havoc on his own Cenobite order with the final goal of solving Hell’s ultimate mystery. Did you know if only had one? And creating a brand new, bloody litany all of his own.
Just like any good guru, the Hell-Priest needs disciples. The most important of which proves to be another familiar face to long time Barker readers, Harry D’Amour ( The Last Illusion, Everville). Clive’s supernatural detective is drawn into the sphere of the Priest’s schemes by the less-than-honest machinations of a newly dead, New Orleans-loving, secret sadist, leading to an uncovering of yet another edition of the world’s worst puzzle box.
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He is the worldwide bestselling author of the Books of Blood, and numerous novels including Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Sacrament and Galilee. In addition to his work as a novelist and short story writer he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for the stage and screen. His films include Hellraiser, Hellbound, Nightbreed and Candyman. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California.