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Mister B. Gone    by Clive Barker order for
Mister B. Gone
by Clive Barker
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2007 (2007)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

The moment you pick up this book, you know you're in for a treat. It's small and compact, inviting, around two hundred pages long. On the black front cover is the title, Mister B. Gone, in Gothic type with Clive Barker carved in rough letters beneath. Between the two lines is a curious pictograph - replicated on the back cover, without another word. Turn the cover and there is a strange marble page design, which kind of looks like a webbing of veins and arteries, followed by two title pages. Then it begins with the dread words: 'BURN THIS BOOK.'

Bestselling author Clive Barker hasn't released a book in some time, and is currently in the middle of his four-book Abarat series, as well as the third book in the Art trilogy due some time this decade. Apparently, the concept for Mister B. Gone suddenly occurred to Barker one day and he was supposedly unable to do anything else until he got this book out of his head. It's about a demon. In fact, it's a book written by a demon who's trapped inside. He has but one request for the reader: to burn the book and free the demon by killing it, presumably sending it back to the ninth level of hell. As Jakabok Botch continuously tries to convince the reader to burn the book, he reveals his life story.

It is the sixteenth century, and when the demon is scooped from the ninth level of hell to the surface by a group of people looking to make a profit from selling demon skins, Jakabok's adventure begins. He soon befriends another - much bigger and more powerful - demon, Quitoon, and their friendship lasts over a hundred years, as they spend their time terrorizing the world. The story builds and builds to a crescendo involving Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of his revolutionary printing press which will irrevocably change the world.

While Mister B. Gone lacks the depth, development and sheer incredulity that one is used to with Barker's work, it is nevertheless a great little horror story. And each time Jakabok threatens on the page that he is coming up behind with a knife, readers will not be able to help but reflexively stop and look behind them.

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