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Mister B. Gone
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Mister B. Gone

3.4 126
by Clive Barker

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You hold in your hands not a book at all, but a terrifying embodiment of purest evil. Can you feel the electric tingle in your fingers as you are absorbed by the demon Jakabok's tale of his unintentional ascent from the depths of the Inferno? Do you sense the cold dread worming its way into your bloodstream, your sinews, the marrow of your bones as you read more


You hold in your hands not a book at all, but a terrifying embodiment of purest evil. Can you feel the electric tingle in your fingers as you are absorbed by the demon Jakabok's tale of his unintentional ascent from the depths of the Inferno? Do you sense the cold dread worming its way into your bloodstream, your sinews, the marrow of your bones as you read more deeply into his earthly education and unspeakable acts? The filth you now grasp has been waiting patiently for you for nearly six hundred years. And now, before you are completely in its thrall, you would do well to follow the foul creature's admonition and destroy this abomination of ink and paper before you turn a single leaf and are lost forever.

You have been warned.

Editorial Reviews

The Mister B. of the title is Jakabob Botch, a demon whose ghastly past could make even the most merciless sociopath whimper in sympathy. Born in the deepest regions of hell, the spawn of an abusive drunkard and his whorish wife, Jakabob escapes to the world above after suffering fiendish torture. Once topside, he lands conveniently in 15th-century Mainz, the home of printing inventor Johannes Gutenberg. However, Mister B. isn't interested in merely observing history; like any other self-respecting diabolical being, he's just searching for a new demonic angle. A ghoulishly good fright fest.
Bill Sheehan
Like the traditional bildungsroman, Mister B. Gone is, in the end, the story of an education. Jakabok's education culminates in a secret room where angels and demons hold clandestine—and intensely pragmatic—negotiations that he was never intended to witness and that lead to his imprisonment in the pages of this book. As he watches the "endless fish-market bartering" for the future of the printed word, he comes to understand the paltry commercial nature of the grand struggle between evil and good. In the process, he creates a vivid portrait of the embryonic forces that will ultimately shape the world. It's a satisfying conclusion to a subtle, surprising book. Within the modest canvas of Mister B. Gone, Barker, who rarely does anything predictable, confounds expectations once again, giving us one of the most resonant, provocative novels of his career.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

With a bone-chilling opening consisting of a gloomy score and a very angry Doug Bradley (Hellraiser's Pinhead himself), Barker's latest horror effort is brilliantly realized in this masterful reading. Bradley is inherently creepy as the narrator, one Jakabok Botch, or Mister B., detailing his demonic life in this journal, which he implores you not to read right from the start. His rich Liverpool accent adds to the insidiousness of Jakabok, who implores the reader to release him from the confines of the diary as it seems he is actually stuck in the very ink that fills the pages. Bradley's performance is so powerful and compelling, it's nearly impossible not to listen all the way through the first time around. Bradley speaks directly to the listener, creating a very uncomfortable atmosphere ripe for plenty of good scares. Bradley's tone and demeanor creates constant tension throughout, with random bursts of anger and rage sure to make hearts skip a beat in a thrillingly fun experience. Simultaneous release with the Harper hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 24). (Nov.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Adult/High School -Inside this beautifully designed book lies the incredibly gruesome memoir of a 14th-century demon. As the story begins, Jakobok's father has an abusive temper and his mother doesna't listen. But that's the least of his problems as he is soon fished from Hell by some demon-hunting priests from the above world. Despite their best efforts, he manages to escape again and again, hooking up with a partner in crime and leaving death, blood, and limbs in his wake. As the book nears its end, Johannes Gutenberg makes an appearance and the story goes off the rails a bit. Barker's demon narrator addresses readers frequently, and though it would be tough to call him sympathetic, teens will relate to him. There are grand pronouncements about the nature of evil, and the evil of even the supposed moral arbiters, as well as the use of the printing press to disseminate both good and evil. Teens who devour the "Saw" movies will probably appreciate this well-written, if slightly messy, horror novel.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Any narrative that begins "Burn this book" definitely merits attention-unfortunately, readers would be much better off were they to heed this advice. The novel starts in Hell, so there's literally nowhere to go but up. The demon Jakabok Botch, also the narrator, introduces us to his sadistic and dysfunctional family. Botch wants to ingratiate himself with his mother by inventing "the first mechanical disemboweler." Shortly thereafter he is horribly disfigured in (go figure) a fire and winds up with no nose and no lips. Soon Botch and his father, Pappy Gatmuss, succumb to the temptation of steak and beer, but this turns out to be bait from the Upper (i.e. our) World. Although they're both hauled up in a net through the nine circles of Hell, only Botch makes it up alive. To disguise his demonhood, he wears clothes that cover his devilish aberration, two tails. In the Upper World he links up with Quitoon, an elder demon who's even more adept at evil than Botch. For 38 years they travel around the countryside, doing (as we would expect) repulsive things like burning people (Quitoon's specialty) and taking baths in the blood of infants. Eventually they meet Johannes Gutenberg, of printing-press fame, and his wife Hannah, who turns out to be an angel and hence an arch-enemy of Botch and his homoerotic friend. An overfed and puffed-up archbishop is also revealed to be on the side of the devil. During an apocalyptic battle between Hannah and the archbishop, Botch inadvertently puts his finger (claw?) on the problem: "Everyone continued to watch them as they carved up Humankind's future . . . the whole thing, for all its Great Significance and so on and so forth, was actually beginning to boreme." Exactly. An affected and pathetic narrative-nothing would be lost by confining it to the ninth circle of Hell.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Mister B. Gone

Chapter One

Burn this book.

Go on. Quickly, while there's still time. Burn it. Don't look at another word. Did you hear me? Not. One. More. Word.

Why are you waiting? It's not that difficult. Just stop reading and burn the book. It's for your own good, believe me. No, I can't explain why. We don't have time for explanations. Every syllable that you let your eyes wander over gets you into more and more trouble. And when I say trouble, I mean things so terrifying your sanity won't hold once you see them, feel them. You'll go mad. Become a living blank, all that you ever were wiped away, because you wouldn't do one simple thing. Burn this book.

It doesn't matter if you spent your last dollar buying it. No, and it doesn't matter if it was a gift from somebody you love. Believe me, friend, you should set fire to this book right now, or you'll regret the consequences.

Go on. What are you waiting for? You don't have a light? Ask somebody. Beg them. It's a matter of light and death Believe me! Will you please believe me? A little runt of a book like this isn't worth risking madness and eternal damnation over. Well, is it? No, of course not. So burn it. Now! Don't let your eyes travel any further. Just stop here.

Oh God! You're still reading? What is it? You think this is some silly little joke I'm playing? Trust me, it isn't. I know, I know, you're thinking it's just a book filled with words, like any other book. And what are words? Black marks on white paper. How much harm could there be in something so simple? If I had ten hundred years to answer that question I would barely scratch thesurface of the monstrous deeds the words in this book could be used to instigate and inflame. But we don't have ten hundred years. We don't even have ten hours, ten minutes. You're just going to have to trust me. Here, I'll make it as simple as possible for you:

This book will do you harm beyond description unless you do as I'm asking you to. You can do it. Just stop reading...


What's the problem? Why are you still reading? Is it because you don't know who I am, or what? I suppose I can hardly blame you. If I had picked up a book and found somebody inside it, talking at me the way I'm talking at you, I'd probably be a little wary too.

What can I say that'll make you believe me? I've never been one of those golden-tongued types. You know, the ones who always have the perfect words for every situation. I used to listen to them when I was just a little demon and—

Hell and Demonation! I let that slip without meaning to. About me being a demon, I mean. Oh well, it's done. You were bound to figure it out for yourself sooner or later.

Yeah, I'm a demon. My full name is Jakabok Botch. I used to know what that meant, but I've forgotten. I used to. I've been a prisoner of these pages, trapped in the words you're reading right now and left in darkness most of the time, while the book sat somewhere through the passage of many centuries in a pile of books nobody ever opened. All the while I'd think about how happy, how grateful, I'd be when somebody finally opened the book. This is my memoir, you see. Or, if you will, my confessional. A portrait of Jakabok Botch.

I don't mean portrait literally. There aren't any pictures in these pages. Which is probably a good thing, because I'm not a pretty sight to look at. At least I wasn't the last time I looked.

And that was a long, long time ago. When I was young and afraid. Of what, you ask? Of my father, Pappy Gatmuss. He worked at the furnaces in Hell and when he got home from the night shift he would have such a temper me and my sister, Charyat, would hide from him. She was a year and two months younger than me, and for some reason if my father caught her he would beat and beat her and not be satisfied until she was sobbing and snotty and begging him to stop. So I started to watch for him. About the time he'd beheading home, I'd climb up the drainpipe onto the roof out of our house and watch for him. I knew his walk [or his stagger, if he'd been drinking] the moment he turned the corner of our street. That gave me time to climb back down the pipe, find Charyat, and the two of us could find a safe place where we'd go until he'd done what he always did when he, drunk or sober, came home. He'd beat our mother. Sometimes with his bare hands, but as he got older with one of the tools from his workbag, which he always brought home with him. She wouldn't ever scream or cry, which only made him angrier.

I asked her once very quietly why she never made any noise when my father hit her. She looked up at me. She was on her knees at the time trying to get the toilet unclogged and the stink was terrible; the little room full of ecstatic flies. She said: "I would never give him the satisfaction of knowing he had hurt me."

Thirteen words. That was all she had to say on the subject.

But she poured into those words so much hatred and rage that it was a wonder that the walls didn't crack and bring the house down on our heads. But something worse happened. My father heard.

How he sniffed out what we were saying I do not know to this day. I suspect he had buzzing tell-tales amongst the flies. I don't remember much of what he did to us, except for his pushing my head into the unclogged toilet—that I do remember. His face is also inscribed on my memory.

Mister B. Gone. Copyright © by Clive Barker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Clive Barker is the bestselling author of twenty-two books, including the New York Times bestsellers Abarat; Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War; and The Thief of Always. He is also an acclaimed painter, film producer, and director. For twelve years Mr. Barker has been working on a vast array of paintings to illuminate the text of The Books of Abarat, more than one hundred and twenty-five of which can be found within this volume.

Mr. Barker lives in California. He shares his house with seven dogs, three cockatiels, several undomesticated geckoes, an African gray parrot called Smokey, and a yellow-headed Amazon parrot called Malingo.

Brief Biography

Los Angeles
Date of Birth:
October 5, 1952
Place of Birth:
Liverpool, England
Liverpool University

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Mister B. Gone 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
brjunkie More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, despite Jakabok Botch's annoying and tedious begging to burn this book and set me free, although it is essential to the entire story. To fight off this constant begging, a story is expected to be told to the all too demanding reader. Jakabok obliges with his life's story in hell as a young demon who doesn't fit in and how he got his disfiguring beginnings. Interrupted by his pleas for release, his story continues on with his horrific and demonic misadventures in the realm of the living, with Quitoon, and angels too, for over a century. Poor Mister B.'s narrative finally ends not only with your hair-raising end, but also with a creepy final word about words.
Mugglefree25 More than 1 year ago
This was a lighter read for a Clive Barker book. Still, he finds a way to create a positive relationship between you and demon that promises horrific punishments if you don't do what he says. I found the story to be very orginal. The ending was intriguing and quite relative to happenings in today's world. This would be a good book for the young adult reader as would "The Thief of Always" and the Arabat series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a bit disappointed when I read this book - I've read other Barker books and like them from time to time. This book felt like something he whipped up in a day or two! Not very imaginative, not much to the plot. The description inside the cover was more exciting that the story itself.
mkgiannos More than 1 year ago
At the start it comes off as a great read, but soon to find out that half the book is the character Mister B. ( or Jakabok botch ) repeating over and over that the reader should burn the book to set the character free. I think I should have burned it and set myself free from reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too bad the admonition to "burn this book" wasn't "don't buy this garbage". I have the highest regard for Clive Barker's literary skills and every single book I've ever read by him I would give ***** - more if that were an option. But, simply stated, this is the worst book I've ever listened to. Boring. No chills, no suspense, just boring. Don't waste your time or money.
shoyu More than 1 year ago
I liked Clive Barker's early horror fiction, but "Mister B. Gone" is not anywhere near that level. Barker continually breaks into the action to address the reader in this book. I found that technique more irritating than when authors switch point of view in the same chapter. There did not seem to be a point to "Mister B. Gone." There were a few hints of a message about humans acting badly, but that's stretching. The pose was basic and nothing like the great prose of his early short stories.
MissSusan More than 1 year ago
A demon comes to earth to cause all kinds of trouble. There are too many gory details that add nothing to the stroy line. Clive Barker is a better writer than this. This story is a shock-a-thon with no redeeming value. I threw it away.
shancherie More than 1 year ago
This was an odd read. It was interesting the way he "spoke" to the reader and you felt taken into the book. It passed very fast and was a pretty nifty diversion.
kbmerk More than 1 year ago
The cover was like finding a book hidden in an attic for a long time. I actually could picture carrying on a conversation with this entity. I loved the way the plot flowed and I couldn't put it down. I drifted off and became a part of the story, lost a few hours of a rainy afternoon. Was delicious and I was pleasantly surprised by this one from Mr Barker. It sits on my shelf just waiting for someone to pick it up!! LOL
Geni More than 1 year ago
This book had such a great premise, but the story was poorly written and the characters were unlikable. From the first paragraph(which I thought was GREAT!) it just went downhill.
MasterShake More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book - from its appearance to its style it sets a good mood for either a rainy day or quiet night. It is not heart pounding thrill ride but it does often make one look over their shoulder...just in case. This is a fairly short, cleverly written book that held this reader's interest and I absolutely loved the appearance of the book from the cover to aged look of the pages inside.
Prez More than 1 year ago
I had never read a book in which the narator repeatedly tries to get the reader to stop reading the book. The confrontational rants reminded me of the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. Barker takes a turn in this horrific tale that is frightening and pulls the characters through hopelessness to redemption. The cover drew me to this book. The quality of the physical presentation was matched by the mastery of the storytelling.
Fearjunkie More than 1 year ago
Going into this book I had no idea what to expect given Clive Barker's range as an author & his ability to create truly unique storyscapes. But as I delved farther & farther into this most disturbing tale I discovered that Barker has lost none of his talents at really creeping out the reader. Not for the squeamish,(but what Barker novel is?) this book is a seriously dark ride & will quickly draw the reader in sometimes almost against his will (but in a good way, most definitely). Told in the first person, the antagonist aggressively confronts the reader in a most original fashion that I found exceptionally captivating. In short, any fan of well written horror should enjoy this book and won't soon forget it (if ever).
Nero More than 1 year ago
WOW! I can never not read a whole book which to my dismay included this one. The book was good......when the main character was telling the story of his life. The talking to the reader was horrible. After a while i just skipped pages because he would tell you the same things for about 10 pages. Overall the story was good but the way it was written in my own opinion was horrible. I can see why some people might like it but for my own taste it was lacking. But then again who am I to judge anothers work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Clive Barker fan, but this was the most disappointing book! The plot was boring as were the characters. I was tired of hearing the main character beg to be killed after the first 5 times!!!! Mr. Barker is capable of so much more than this book!! There was no depth of plot or characters. Hopefully he can redeem himself with his next book.
Papercuts More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book; I found parts funny and scary and even parts where I could relate (which is really scary). Halfway through you really start thinking about burning it just for the heck of it. My boyfriend and I both agreed to wait till the end before we would think about burning it. This turned out to be a good thing!
alphaPhnx More than 1 year ago
At the beginning I didn't got sucked in, like I normally do, took a while to catch on, but after half way you really get demoniacally possessed and slash thru pages and pages, 'till the end
Kimbeey13 More than 1 year ago
Mister B. Gone begins with a powerful hook that doesn't hold through out the entire read. It starts to feel repetitive with the constant passages with the character Jakabok asking the reader to burn the book and the overuse of some words such as demonation. That's not to say this book is a horrifying read, there is a decent amount of interesting parts within the pages. Mister B. Gone is a book for rainy days or when you have nothing better to do or nothing else you really want to read.
Berrynice More than 1 year ago
The book gives a good question to think about, if Mister B. is inside the pages are there angels in others?
TConnor More than 1 year ago
not an enthralling read. at all. i suppose it could have been decent, but every 10 or 15 pages the author breaks in with another 5 page warning about putting the book down before it kills you or whatever. after a few chapters i just started skimming through the parts that told me to stop reading and stuck with the storyline. that cut the reading time by about a third. and the story... decent, but nothing too original. i had this recommended by some friends, and i was very disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My friend got me this book for Christmas and I couldn't put it down! I had finished it within a few days. Clive has the amazing ability to understand his reader and know what they are thinking and he demonstrates this many times throughout the book. He makes you feel sorry for the main character, I know that he is only a demon and not even an upper-level demon but you get a sense that he truly doesn¿t want to be the deranged killer that he is, and that he only really wants to be more like humans, what with our acceptance of emotion and ability to love. Clive is able to pull the reader into this story, scare us half to death, and still have us fall madly in love with the very demon that has us so terrified! After I read this book I didn¿t want to close it 'and if you read it you will understand why', and I was afraid to reread it for fear that the story may change 'again is you read it you will understand'. Not only is the plot amazing but the general concepts that he deals with in his writing, like the battle between good and evil and how he explains it and presents a whole new way of looking at it. Really I have not done this book justice. All I can say is read it and find out how truly amazing it is!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't find this to be the greatest Barker book either but I was in the middle of two books while reading this one and try to give my attention to one at a time. So I may reread it. Yet I feel it could have been a little longer and I think it would have been a more interesting book had Barker's name not been attached to it. It should have been sold under a made up name of the Demon's and looked more antiqued. Definitely looking forward to the next Abarat book :o'
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was an easy read at about the 7th grade level. The author's use of a demon being imprisoned in a book talking to the reader, trying to get out was both unique and attention getting. It kept your attention and added a sideline. The fact that the main story was a sideline was what brought the review down to three stars. The demon's story was disjointed. Was the demon lieing to cover up or was it his nature? It's an OK summer read if you have the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a Barker fan, always have been and I've been waiting just like everyone else for his next book, but I HONESTLY thought this book was a waste of paper. There was really NOTHING to it. Nothing to be so over-joyed about. Was just plain disapointed. Sorry, Clive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clive Barker is at his best when gore and terror are at the forefront. I wouldn't say this is his best novel, but when you have written Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, and Weaveworld, it's virtually impossible to top that. This book is a fast read, but a very good read. He amazed me that he could make the reader feel compassion for this demon at the same time he is murdering someone, then one sentence later have you hating him all over again. The writing is flawless, it just doesn't have the numerous worlds/dimensions and characters to follow like Clive is known for. While he seems to stretch out the story a little by constantly asking the reader to burn the book to erase any chance of the demon's continued existence, the book still keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, forcing you to continue to read. Clive is a master storyteller, and this book does not take away from that legacy.