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In the Flesh (Books of Blood #5)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,124 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews

Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless

Hardcover, 221 pages
Published December 1987 by Poseidon Press
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Tagged by Joseph M. ChironCoraline by Neil GaimanA Life To Waste - A Novel of Violence and Horror by Andrew LennonHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiPlebs by Jim Goforth
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Nov 14, 2014 Traveller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This has been my first Clive Barker read, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it.

From what I had heard of Barker before, I had assumed his work was in the gory blood porn genre. As such I was never very interested in trying out any of his work, since the more trashy kind of cheap thrills that Stephen King used to grind out in his earlier years, really never did sit well with me. Neither does the kind of horror that features sexy teenagers being systematically mangled by homicidal maniacs (us
Apr 01, 2016 Chris_P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This was the first Barker for me and, simply put, I liked it a lot. I always kind of thought that Barker was all about extreme gore which isn't quite what I ask of horror literature but since this book happened to come to my possession, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because my initial impression couldn't be further from the truth.

This volume consists of four dark and atmospheric stories. Atmosphere is definitely a key word here. Barker takes his time building it before he takes the
May 10, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The manifestation of evil, "in the flesh" is the theme that unites all four novellas in this early Barker work.

The highlight here is, undoubtedly, "THE FORBIDDEN". This is the basis for what is perhaps the MOST UNDERRATED HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME: Bernard Rose's "Candyman." The story itself, 60 pages that really do chill the blood, I've penciled in on a list of the best short stories ever. It is melancholia wrapped in detective noir, supernatural urban legend; a human investment into something la
Tobin Elliott
Jan 25, 2015 Tobin Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy, horror, fiction
I'm still finding the quality increases as I work through the volumes. But I have to say, though it doesn't say much, there was one quote that I found quite chilling, from the story The Forbidden:

"Don't kill me," she breathed.
"Do you believe in me?" he said.
She nodded minutely. "How can I not?" she said.
"Then why do you want to live?"

Brilliant stuff, that.
Mar 30, 2011 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autographed, horror
This was the American edition of the last tales of the Book of Blood. Barker managed to keep the quality high right to the end. After this, he concentrated on novels until he gravitated from horror to fantasy. I prefer these early works to anything later. There is a deep dark and very visceral feel to these stories.
Lee Thompson
Jan 09, 2013 Lee Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
This is my favorite volume in the Books of Blood.
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
I've wanted to nab this baby forever, since watching the movie Candyman, adapted to the screen by Bernard Rose with Clive's backing. I have owned several of his books of blood anthologies for awhile, yet this one has remained an illusive completion of the cycle. Finally I now own all of them, and read this one within the week of receiving it.

The book, a brief 255 pages, envelops four short stories. The first, 'In The Flesh', is a strange tale following the mind of a convict, Cleve, who is force
Althea Ann
Sep 27, 2013 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of 4 novelettes from "The New Master of Horror." (not so new anymore!)

The title piece, "In the Flesh" deals with a petty criminal trapped in a jail cell with a first-time offender who's messing with more than he bargained for in the spirit of his executed murderer grandfather....

"The Forbidden" is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I'm sure you've seen it. The story is shorter, snappier, and more powerful. (And set in England! Huh!)

"The Madonna" reminded me of a
Feb 07, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
"Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful,"...but in reality, kind of disappointing. I found this at the used book store, after having an unsettling day that I wanted a distraction from. Lo and behold, an entire collection of Clive Barker stories I'd never heard of! Now that I've read them, I can understand why his "Books of Blood" are so well known while this one...isn't. A couple of interesting moments, some deliberate cliches (Instead of a hand, his arm ended in *gasp* a hook!), a ...more
Joshua Jorgensen
Clive Barker's shorter fictions are so compelling, and his mind creates some of the most incredible things. I read the four short works over a period of time, and in-between novels, so as to have something to savor. These are dark and bizarre little pieces, each with a unique premise.
Adrian Lilly
Mar 01, 2014 Adrian Lilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed In the Flesh. It’s a strong collection, and it’s obvious from this why Clive Barker is so revered. The title story was an unusual tale of terror, cloistered in a jail cell for the vast majority. The claustrophobic atmosphere played well, and the moments outside the cell were even darker. The second story, The Forbidden, was the inspiration for the film Candyman. Most of the action in the film is taken from the short story, with the locale switched from the UK to the US. The ...more
Michael Tildsley
This is a fantastic collection of novellas by Clive Barker. I really enjoyed three of the four included very much. Only "Madonna" did I not care for as much, but only because I guessed the ending about halfway through it.

"In the Flesh" is a fantastic novella about prison, murder, and the 'behind the veil' eternal things that bind these huge realities. It's pretty great.

"The Forbidden" is the novella on which the Candyman horror series of films are based, though there's not a whole lot of the ma
May 25, 2016 Estokes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A visceral look into the mind of body-horror master Clive Barker, rivaled only by the imagery of Hellraiser, In the Flesh is an in depth exploration of the human mind, body, and soul, posing questions about philosophy, psychology, and even modern politics. From tales of hook-handed men who castrate children at night to stories of demonic resurrection and drug abuse from within the confines of a prison, Barker's unique style never fails to leave the viewer with both a waning appetite for anything ...more
Samuel Da silva
La madone
Jerry, un paumé qui a quelques problèmes dans son couple, aimerait bien réussir un projet dans sa vie, et est prêt à tout pour cela ; même à s’associer avec le truand Garvey, pour restaurer de vieux Bains-Douches. C’est compter sans la paranoïa dudit caïd, et les superbes femmes nues qui hantent le bâtiment.

Prison de chair
Billy, un jeune délinquant qui fait son premier séjour en prison, est placé sous la tutelle de Cleve, un petit trafiquant de drogue. Mais Billy est un étrange bonhomme
Jul 24, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worthwhile reading novella / short story collection from a horror master, Clive Barker. His imagery is strong and vivid and at times he evokes an Edgar Allen Poe sort of creepiness. The title story is the best in my opinion and the kind that may keep even the seemingly impervious to fear type to remain up all night. The only piece that didn't grab my attention too well was the one involving the Candyman ( later made into a movie ). " The Madonna " is a winner, buoyed by the subplot of a hit man ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BiblioBabe Kat gave this a 9.5/10! Read her review here:
Dec 06, 2007 Manda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
So far so good. Very intense writing. I am sure this will be the first of many Clive Barker books thanks to a good friend's recommendation.
Sarah Mcleod
Jan 29, 2014 Sarah Mcleod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favourite part of all the books of blood, they seem to get better as they go on
Oct 01, 2014 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is why I shy away from reading short story collections these days. I wish I could have liked all of these stories but this time round, Books of Blood was a heavy hit and miss for me.

The Forbidden (the novella which Candy Man, one of my favourite horrors is based on) would get my 4 stars hands down. The Madonna comes in a good second, whilst In The Flesh and Babel's Children, I didn't care for at all story wise.

I still haven't read a full length Clive Barker novel yet so must get on with t
Tippy Jackson
This book started off really strong with "In the Flesh." Really creepy,couldn't put it down. The other world aspect of it was so well written and the characters and places appropriately creepy. I am also declaring Clive Barker the king of metaphor. Best of all, about 3/4 of the way through, I predicted what I thought the ending would be and I was totally wrong. Yay for unpredictable endings!He continues strong with "The Forbidden," and his descriptions were so powerful that I swear I could smell ...more
William Johnson
This particularly collection features some of the best written Barker stuff (I mean that mechanically. . .his more fun stuff is in other volumes):

"In the Flesh": Prisoner Cleve inherits a new roommate who is interested in a graveyard long forgotten that preserves the dead. *****

"The Forbidden": This was the short story that was turned into the film Candyman. I still haven't seen the movie but I can imagine it is less abstract. A woman goes to a dilapidated ghetto to study graffiti for her thesis
Rowan MacBean
Dec 28, 2015 Rowan MacBean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Coni Warren
I had read a lot of Clive Barker’s short stories when I was younger, but forgot which ones I had read since I hadn’t read them all. I couldn’t remember if I had read In the Flesh or Inhuman Condition since they both started with the same letter. While reading this one, none of it was familiar until I got to the second of four stories, called “The Forbidden”. It is the basis for the Candyman movies. I never saw the movies, but the story stuck with me since it was very creepy and gross. When I rea ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Oskari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Onnistuneesti Candymanina filmattu Kielletty lyö silmille graffiteja ränsistyneissä lähiöissä ja niihin liittyvää urbaanilegendaa koukkukätisestä miehestä. Kirjan parempia tarinoita, mutta kuten The Hellbound Heartin kohdallakin kävi, elokuva vie mytologian ja yksityiskohdat pidemmälle. Tässä ne jäävät hieman puolitiehen.

Hylättyyn, rapistuneeseen uimahalliin sijoittuva Madonna on niin ikään vähän sinne päin. Mysteeri kiehtoo aluksi, mutta jää kuitenkin loppujen lopuksi vaille kunnon näkemystä,
Feb 26, 2009 Dreadlocksmile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1986, Clive Barker followed the enormous success of the first three volumes of The Books Of Blood, with a final three volumes to create the entire Books Of Blood series. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books. Barker was invited to be able to illustrate these covers with his dark and twisted artwork.

This volume was also released in America under the name 'In The Flesh'. The six volumes were all released in their individual forms back in 1985, this fift
Dec 11, 2007 Jacob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review should be called, San Franciscans put shit on the street every day. Books I have found on the street and then read. The Serpent and The Rainbow. A Wrinkle In Time. A medical book of swallowing disorders (called oddly enough Swallowing Disorders).I was walking around the other night and I found this book on the sidewalk. It's a cheap mass-market paperback with yellowing pages and binding that is on the verge of coming undone. There’s something vaguely ejaculatory about the cover art. ...more
Alex Telander
The Dark Weaveworld of Clive Barker, Part 2 of 3: “In the Flesh”

BIOGRAPHY: Clive Barker is the bestselling author of nineteen books, including Weaveworld, Imagica, and Galilee. He regularly shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large and small screen. Recent projects include the Oscar-wining film Gods and Monsters, and an exhibition of erotic paintings and photographs, The Weird and the Wicked. He lives with his husband, the photographer David Armstrong, in
Mark R.
Feb 27, 2009 Mark R. rated it really liked it

I've read this book a few times. I couldn't say exactly how many; I only vividly recall the first read-through, when I was about twelve years old, this being the second of Barker's books that I picked up, after "The Thief of Always", his first "all-ages" novel.

The "Books of Blood", of which this is technically "Part 5", are decidedly NOT all-ages, and the vivid descriptions, often of very dark, grim situations, hit me right away, as a distinct change from "Thief of Always". I loved this b
Jul 07, 2013 Shob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-junkie
In The Flesh formed the fifth part of Barker's famed Books of Blood series. It features four works of fiction that was imaginative as well as iconic.

The first story, In The Flesh, felt like an extension of the Hellbound Heart (his book that spawned the Hellraiser series). A prisoner gets a new cell-mate, and it doesn't take long before things start going bump in the night, and then some!

The second story, Forbidden - about a young university student who gets too curious about strange graffiti in
Nov 03, 2013 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Certainly the least of the Books of Blood, the stories in In The Flesh seem underdeveloped, the characters just flat images to impose the reader's fears upon, serving their purpose and living or dying in the story, but never ever walking off the page. Barker is, without doubt, one of the most skilled horror writers of the late 20th century, but unfortunately here his work never spills into the memorable, literary terrain that Stephen King, at only his absolute best, can venture into. Not that th ...more
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more
More about Clive Barker...

Other Books in the Series

Books of Blood (6 books)
  • Books of Blood: Volume One (Books of Blood #1)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Two (Books of Blood #2)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Three (Books of Blood #3)
  • The Inhuman Condition (Books of Blood #4)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Six (Books of Blood, #6)

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“What worth was a man who could not be haunted?” 9 likes
“And sitting there against the wall, listening to Billy's inhalations and exhalations, and watching the light in the glass and through the glass, Cleve knew without doubt that even if he escaped this trap, it was only a temporary respite; that this long night, its minutes, its hours, were a foretaste of a longer vigil. He almost despaired then; felt his soul sink into a hole from which there seemed to be no hope of retrieval. Here was the real world; he wept. Not joy, not light, not looking forward; only this waiting in ignorance, without hope, even of fear, for fear came only to those with dreams to lose.” 2 likes
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