So, I’ve never read any Clive Barker and I thought it was time to rectify that.
I started with The Books of Blood (Volumes 1-3) and, despite their occasional silliness, I really liked them a lot.
The Hellbound Heart whilst not part of them, would thematically fit (but it’s too long – a novella, rather than one of Barker’s long short stories). It is also famously the basis for the film Hellraiser, which was also written and directed by Barker.
And, I think, therein lies the problem.
I’ve seen the movie and I liked it, but the novella which preceeded it feels like a sketch that Barker fully fleshed out and realised in Hellraiser.
The story in brief: predatory lothario Frank has a magic box that can access the Cenobites, whom he thinks will give him eternal pleasure instead of endless pain. His brother, deeply in love with his wife Julia (but not reciproacted by her who had an affair with Frank) move in to a new house. The brother’s daughter pops in and out. Frank escapes but is a scrap of himself and needs blood. And Julia, madly in love, starts seducing men and bringing them home for him to kill…
An interesting but not essential read. Try instead the first omnibus of The Books of Blood (I’m current about to start the second omnibus, Volumes 4-6).