The Scarlet Gospels

The Scarlet Gospels

by Clive Barker

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Overview

The Scarlet Gospels, an instant New York Times bestseller, takes readers back to the early days of two of Clive 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, is back—and about to face off against his formidable and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by Barker’s horror, which will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories.

The Gospels are coming.

Are you ready?

Readers can get more Pinhead from the direct to video Hellraiser: Judgment movie coming February 2018.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250136138
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 221,708
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Clive Barker is the best-selling author of more than twenty novels and collections of short stories that range from horror to fantasy. He has had much success in film, directing Hellraiser and Nightbreed.

Hometown:

Los Angeles

Date of Birth:

October 5, 1952

Place of Birth:

Liverpool, England

Education:

Liverpool University

Read an Excerpt

The Scarlet Gospels


By Clive Barker

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Clive Barker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-5955-5



CHAPTER 1

Two decades ago, Harry D'Amour had turned twenty-three in New Orleans, drunk as a lord on Bourbon Street. Now here he was in the same city that had taken terrible wounds from hurricanes and human greed but had somehow survived them all, its taste for celebration unscathed. Harry was drinking in the same bar on the same street, twenty-four years later. There was music being played by a jazz quintet led, believe it or not, by the same trumpet player and vocalist, one Mississippi Moses, and there were still one-night love affairs happening on the little dance floor just as there had been almost a quarter of a century before.

Harry had danced then with a beautiful girl who claimed to be Mississippi's daughter. While she and Harry danced, she told him that if they wanted to do something "bad tonight"—Harry remembered perfectly the way she'd smiled as she said "bad"—then she had a place where they could play. They'd gone up to a little room above the bar where her papa's music could be heard loud and clear coming up from below. That little fact should have warned Harry that this was a family affair and that men who have daughters can also have sons. But all of his blood had gone south once he had his hand up her dress, and just about the time he had slid a finger into the moist heat of her the door opened and the girl made a pantomime of being surprised to see her two brothers, who were now standing in the room looking almost convincingly upset. The two intruders into Harry's bliss had played out a scene they probably performed half a dozen times nightly: informing him that their lovely little sister was a virgin and that there wasn't a man in the bar who would ever testify to having seen him if they dragged his Yankee carcass to a tree hidden behind a wall just a minute's walk from there, where a noose was already hanging, waiting for a taker. But they assured him that they were reasonable men and if D'Amour had enough money on him they could maybe overlook his transgressions—just this once, of course.

Naturally, Harry had paid up. He'd emptied his wallet and his pockets and almost lost his best Sunday shoes to the taller of the two brothers, except that they had been too big for him. The brothers knocked Harry around a little as he made his exit, tossing his shoes back at him and leaving the door open so he could make his escape, the lighter for a few hundred bucks but otherwise unharmed.

All these years later, Harry had come to the bar half-hoping to find the girl still there, changed of course by the passing of so many years but still recognizable. She wasn't there and neither were her ostensible brothers. Just the old jazz musician, eyes closed as he played, riffing on the bittersweet love songs that had been old when Harry had first heard Mississippi Moses play them all those years ago.

None of this nostalgia, however, did much to improve Harry's state of mind; nor did his reflection, which he caught in the age-eaten mirror behind the bar whenever he looked up. No matter how much liquor he downed, it refused to blur, and Harry saw all too clearly the scars of battle and time. Harry noted his own gaze, which, even when hurried, had taken on a distrustful cast. There was a downward tug at the corners of his mouth, the consequence of too many unwelcome messages delivered by unlovely messengers: notes from the dead, subpoenas from infernal courts, and the steady flow of invoices for the services of the janitor in Queens who would burn anything in his furnace for a price.

Harry D'Amour had never wanted a life like this. He'd attempted to make a normal life for himself, a life untainted by the secret terrors whose presences he had first encountered as a child. The keeping of the law, he had reasoned, would be as good a bastion as any against the forces that stalked his soul. And so, lacking the smarts and the verbal dexterity required of a good lawyer, he became instead a member of New York's finest. At first the trick seemed to work. Driving around the streets of New York, dealing with problems that reared from the banal to the brutal and back again twice in the same hour, he found it relatively easy to put to the back of his mind the unnatural images that stood beyond the reach of any gun or law that had been made.

That wasn't to say that he didn't recognize the signs when he sensed them, however. A gust of wind carrying the scent of corruption was enough to call up a black tide from the base of his skull, which he only managed to drive back by sheer force of will. But the labor of normality took its toll. There wasn't a single day in his time as a cop in which he hadn't needed to cook up a quick lie or two to keep his partner, an occasionally affable family man known affectionately as Sam"Scummy" Schomberg, from knowing the truth. After all, Harry wouldn't wish the truth upon anyone. But the road to Hell is paved with the bubbling mortar of good intentions, and ultimately Harry's lies and half-truths weren't enough to save his partner.

"Scummy" Schomberg's nickname, however lovingly used, was well earned. Besotted as he was by his five children ("the last four were accidents"), his mind was never far from the gutter, which, on nights when he was on duty and the mood struck him, ensured that he'd spend time driving up and down the squalid streets where hookers plied their trade until he'd found a girl who looked healthy enough ("Lord knows I can't take some fucking disease home") for him to arrest and then subsequently set free once he'd received some complimentary service in a nearby alley or doorway.

"Another Jack?" the bartender asked Harry, shaking Harry from his reverie.

"No," Harry replied. A memory of Scummy's libidinous leer had come into Harry's head, and from there his mind ran in quick autonomous leaps to the last moments of his partner's life. "Don't need that," Harry spoke more to himself than the bartender as he rose from his barstool.

"Sorry?" the bartender said.

"Nothing," Harry replied, sliding the ten-dollar bill he'd left toward the man as though he were paying him not to ask any more questions. Harry needed to get out of here and put his memories behind him. But despite his alcoholic haze, his mind was still faster than his feet and, his protests notwithstanding, it brought him back to that terrible night in New York, and he instantly found himself sitting in the patrol car down on 11th Street waiting for Scummy to get his rocks off.

CHAPTER 2

Scummy and his chosen receptacle were out of sight, down some steps leading to the basement of a building. The place was empty, its doors and windows bricked or boarded up more thoroughly than Harry ever remembered seeing before. He glanced at his watch. It was ten after two in the morning, in the middle of June. Harry was getting a little antsy, and he knew why. His body always knew before his brain that something bad was in the vicinity.

Harry tapped impatiently on the wheel, scanning the deserted street for some clue to the whereabouts of whatever was inspiring the irritation in his system. As a kid he'd called it his UI, which stood for "Unscratchable Itch." Adulthood hadn't offered him any reason to change the name, so the UI was still in the private vocabulary he'd created to help him put some order into the mental chaos its presence had always produced.

Was there something under the flickering lamp on the other side of the street? If it existed, it did so at the very limit of his eyes' power to separate substance from shadow. The Possible Thing seemed to Harry to move with a feral feline grace. No. He'd had it wrong. There was nothing—

But even as he formed the thought, the Possible Thing confirmed his initial suspicion by turning back and retreating into the shadows, its muscular form shifting like breeze-quickened water as the shadows erased it. The Thing's departure, however, failed to ease the I in Harry's UI. It hadn't been the cause of his prickling skin. No, that was still nearby. He opened the door of the patrol car and got out, moving slowly so as not to attract attention. Then he studied the street from end to end.

A block and a half up 11th he saw, tethered to a fire hydrant, a goat. It looked both pitiful and unlikely there on the sidewalk, the peculiarities of its anatomy—distended flanks, bulging eyes, bony skull—positively alien. Harry got out of the undercover patrol car, leaving his door open, and started to walk toward his partner, his hand staying instinctively to the handle of his gun as he did so.

Harry was three strides across the street when he felt the UI come over him like a tidal wave. He stopped, glancing at the short stretch of empty sidewalk that lay between him and the darkened stairway where Scummy had gone with the girl. What was taking so damn long?

Harry took two tentative steps, calling to his partner as he did so.

"All right, Scummy, zip it up. Time to move."

"What?" Scummy shouted. "... Oh God, that's good. ... You sure you don't want in on this, partner? This bitch'll—"

"I said it's time, Sam."

"Uno momento, Harry ... just one ... God damn ... oh yeah ... oh yeah, just like that ... Scummy likes that. ..."

Harry's gaze went back to the goat. The front door to the building outside which the animal was tethered had opened. Blue lights burned within, like candle flames, fluttering at a midnight mass. Harry's Itch rose beyond the unbearable. Slowly, but with purpose, he crossed the cracked sidewalk to the top of the stairs and glanced down into the murk where he could vaguely make sense of Scummy lounging against the wall, his head back while the hooker worked on her knees in front of him. Judging by the sloppy, desperate sounds of the job she was doing, she wanted the cop to shoot his load already so she could spit it out and go.

"God damn it, Sam," Harry said.

"Christ, Harry. I hear you."

"You've had your fun—"

"I ain't come yet."

"How about we find another girl on another street?"

As he spoke, Harry glanced back at the goat, then at the open door. The blue candle flames had ventured out into the street, detached from wick and wax. They were lighting the way for something. Harry's gut told him he didn't want to be around when the Something finally showed itself.

"Oh, you're good," Scummy said to the whore. "I mean really good. Better than my fucking brother-in-law." He chuckled to himself.

"That's it," Harry said, and he went down the remaining stairs, losing sight of both the light-attended doorway and the goat as he caught hold of Scummy's jacket shoulder. Harry pulled his partner away, the girl dropping forward onto her hands as D'Amour dragged Scummy up the stairs.

"What's going on?" she demanded. "Does this mean you're booking me?"

"Shut up," Harry said in a hushed tone. "You're not getting booked. But if I ever see you on this block again—"

There was a wretched shrieking from the goat at that moment, which lasted a full three seconds as it echoed in the preternaturally still night air. Then the sound abruptly ended, leaving them once more in silence.

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck," Harry said.

"What was that?" Scummy asked.

"A goat."

"What? I didn't see no goat—"

"Scummy?"

"Yeah?"

"On three we're going to make a run for the car, okay?"

"O ... kay. But—"

Harry cut in, speaking with a hushed urgency. "There is no but, Scummy. You look at the car and you keep looking at the car till you're in and we're away. Anything else and we're dead men."

"Harry, wha—?"

"Trust me. Now come on."

"Ah, Christ, my zipper's stuck."

"Forget your fucking zipper. Nobody's going to be looking at your dick, I promise you that. Now move."

Scummy ran. Harry, following fast behind, looked down the street as he made his way silently to the car. The goat's throat had been opened, but it was far from dead. Its robed slaughterer stood there, holding the thrashing animal by the legs, its head pulled back to make the partial throat cut gape and speed the flow of blood.

The goat's life force came out of it in spurts, like water from a faulty faucet. The goat and butcher were not the only presences in attendance, however. There was a third member of the party, his back to Harry. As Harry crossed the street toward the car, the third member turned to look back. Harry caught a glimpse of his face—a mangled smear of formless flesh like a hunk of discarded clay—before the man plunged his hands into the goat's spurting blood.

Scummy had made it halfway to the car, then, contrary to Harry's instruction, looked at the unsightly tableau. It had stopped Scummy in his tracks. Harry transferred his gun from right hand to left and used the right to grab hold of Scummy's arm.

"Come on."

"You see that?"

"Let it go, Scummy."

"That ain't right, Harry."

"Neither is getting a blow job from a teenage runaway."

"That's different. People can't be slaughtering fuckin' goats in the street. It's fuckin' disgusting." Scummy took out his gun. "Hey, you two degenerates with the goat. Do not fuckin' move. You're both under arrest."

So saying, he started to walk toward them. Harry cursed under his breath and followed. Somewhere nearby, no more than two or three blocks over, the whooping of an ambulance siren reminded Harry that somehow the rational world was still a stone's throw away from this wretched scene. But Harry knew it didn't matter. These types of things, all pieces of one unknowable mystery, threw up veils around themselves that made seeing them clearly a difficult thing for ordinary eyes. If Scummy had been alone he would likely have driven past this grotesquerie without even registering its existence.

It was only because Harry was with Scummy that he saw, and the knowledge of that was like a stone in Harry's guts.

"Hey, assholes," Scummy hollered, his shouts echoing back and forth between the façades of the deserted buildings. "Stop that shit."

The two men did the worst possible thing in response: they obeyed. Harry sighed as the butcher let the goat drop to the ground, its black legs still twitching. And the clay-faced man who'd been washing his hands in the blood raised himself from his stoop and turned to face the two policemen.

"Oh Christ alive," Scummy murmured.

Harry saw the reason for Scummy's blasphemy; what had been an undefined gob of flesh two minutes ago was now organizing itself. The claylike matter that Harry had first seen had now shifted; there was almost a nose, almost a mouth, and two holes like thumbprints where the eyes should have been. The clay man started toward them, steam rising from his blood-soaked hands.

Scummy stopped advancing and threw the briefest of looks at Harry, just long enough to catch Harry's tiny nod back toward the car. In that time, the clay man's protean features had finally settled on a mouth, which he now opened, and a low noise escaped him, like the warning growl of an angered animal.

"Watch out!" Harry said, and the thing went from a walk to a run in two strides. "Go! Go!" Harry shouted, and, leveling his gun, shot at the thing once, twice, and then seeing the bullets slow the creature's run to a stagger, his blood blooming on its shirt where he had been hit, Harry fired three more rounds: two to the torso and one to the head. The creature stood a moment in the middle of the street, looking down at his bloody shirt, his head slightly tilted as though in mild puzzlement.

Behind him, Harry heard Scummy getting into the car and slamming the door. He gunned the engine, the wheels squealing as the car U-turned and pulled up to Harry.

"Get in!" Scummy yelled.

The creature was still examining his wounds. Harry had a moment's grace, and he took it. Turning his back on the beast, Harry scrambled over the hood of the car, threw open the door, and flung himself into the passenger seat. Before he'd even closed the door, Scummy accelerated. Harry caught a glimpse of the creature as they raced past him and saw, as if Harry were perfectly still and able to take in every detail of the moment, the creature's heavy head rise, showing two tiny dots of light burning in his thumbhole eyes. The beast was pronouncing a death sentence with his stare.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker. Copyright © 2015 Clive Barker. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Epigraph,
Prologue: Labor Diabolus,
Book One: Past Lives,
Book Two: Into the Breach,
Book Three: The Mourning Star,
Book Four: Fallout,
Epilogue: Prima Facie,
About the Author,
Also by Clive Barker,
Copyright,

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The Scarlet Gospels 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leave it in the store.  Seriously.  I've been a fan of Barker's for decades, and this was, without a doubt, his worst effort to date.  The prologue was amazing, and then the rest of the book happened.   The majority of the book is Harry D'Amour cursing at Pinhead, Pinhead fighting anything and everything as he tries to take over hell, and a bunch of one-dimensional friends of Harry's getting in trouble, in the way, or killed.  There was next to no plot of character development, and as that's usually one of Barker's strongest points, I'm utterly disappointed.  The book read like one of the terrible sequels to the Hellraiser movies, to be perfectly honest.. Do yourself a favor, read The Hellbound Heart, where Pinhead and the Cenobites were introduced, Lord of Illusions, where we met Harry D'Amour, and then stick with Barker's other works like Sacrament or Galilee and don't bother reading this one.  I've heard grumblings that there may have been a ghost writer helping with this book, and it's the only plausible explanation for how under par this book was.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not for the weak of heart...which is why I LOVE it!!!
Greg_Baty More than 1 year ago
I just finished Clive Barker's The Scarlet Gospels in a week which is a blink of an eye compared to the month it usually takes me to read a book that size. I normally read 2 or 3 things at once because I am pretty easily bored by most everything if I stick with it too long, but this book was different. The characters were familiar. The pace was thrilling. The characters (even the "bad guys") were engaging and sympathetic. It's the best book I've read in a while. I hated that it ended but was fully satisfied when it did. Clive Barker is, without a doubt in my mind, the most imaginative and twisted voice I have ever heard.
kittycatbob More than 1 year ago
My favorite Clive Barker book will always be Sacrament, but this one is a close second. Barker has such an incredible imagination, better than any other author I've read, and it very much comes through with this book. As I'm reading, I try to picture how the story would look if told in a movie, and I don't think special effects today are advanced enough to do justice to the story. If you are a fan of horror, religion, or just great fiction, you must read this book.
insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
Pinhead. To any fan of the “Hellraiser” movies, the name conjures pain, dread, and fascination. Yes, I said fascination, and if you are honest with yourself you will admit a bit of fascination yourself. So, when word of Clive Barker’s new book, “The Scarlet Gospels”, went out and it had the buy line of the death of Pinhead, I waited, and waited. Oh, the wait was so long. Then other details came out. Like Harry D’Amour, Barker’s supernatural detective, would be in the book. The anticipation was killing me, and I am sure if Pinhead were real he would have delighted in such torment.  I am not one to give away any spoilers. I only tell you what I thought of the book. (BTW, the above spoilers were provided by Barker himself, so I did not break my personal rule.) Was the book worth the wait? Did it live up to the hype?  Yes! Yes! Yes, this book was worthy of the hype, and worth the wait. Clive Barker delivers the book with buckets of blood, gore, goo, and nightmares to keep you going for a good long while. This is the book his fans have long waited for, and will devour just as I have. Here is one tiny little spoiler. If you read the book, and someone tells you to go to hell, you can tell them you have had a guided tour. If you are one to read this, bring your imagination. He will flex those muscles and you will love every minute of it. You do not have to be a Barker fan, or have any previous knowledge of Pinhead or Harry D’Amour to enjoy this. This is a stand alone from any series he has done before and gives you all you need to know to enjoy it.
Anonymous 5 months ago
What+this+novel+lacks+in+worldbuilding%2C+it+makes+up+for+with+nonstop+ghoulish+eloquence+and+the+captivating+spirit+of+fallible+human+beings+teaming+up+against+total+evil.++Anyone+who+likes+both+%27Hellraiser%27+and+Mr.+B.+Gone+will+probably+feel+that+C.B.+successfully+went+for+something+%28effectively%29+zany+rather+than+grandiose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Well written. Looking forward for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clive Barker takes us to Hell and back again - loved every page!
ConchitaNYC More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it was way too low Ng
Dean_Kutzler More than 1 year ago
Worth the journey for closure's sake, but if I'm being honest, I was a little disappointed.  I felt this novel was rushed and at times a little too silly-if I may be so bold.  Please, do not misunderstand me.  As a writer, I struggle with the rest and by no means am to compare myself with his caliber.  Mr. Barker is a legendary, brilliant writer that has forged his path from the gates of hell, no doubt.  So don't let my words soil your experience.  Knowing the outcome as I do now, I would still read The Scarlet Gospels.  There is one thing I can say, is that Pinhead's voice is as clear as those bells he tolls.  And that, dear readers, is what has drawn us from the beginning.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Generic is not a word I would have ever used for Clive Barker's writing and dialogue.....until now.....save your money or read some earlier vintage Barker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth the wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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DLeeP More than 1 year ago
Good story line and character build up.
Keijon23 More than 1 year ago
Gory and just  what i wanted