The Midnight Meat Train by Clive Barker
Not big fan of horror. And if you read my smoothie reviews, you’re probably sick of hearing say that. But I always like to try new things. After all, I wasn’t a big fan of spy novels until I read of Ludlum’s work that made me rethink my opinion about the genre all together. And when they were cleaning out the library at my college, they were selling old books for a quarter a piece. And I found this thick book called Book of Blood. (Very cheesy title) Volume one to three. But it was written by Clive Barker. A name I hear a lot relating to horror movies, but never knew who he was. So why not give it a try.
Now this review is the first story in the gigantic book. Reviewing the whole book would just be crazy. It’s called The Midnight Meet Train. (This guy must lobe to use cheesiness of tittles) And yet this is the story that the film was based off of two years ago.
So it starts out with man named Leon Kaufman. His first name is mentions only once, so it might as well just be Kaufman. He is a man with ambitions and worked his whole life to be in New York, only to find that it is far from the paradise the always believed it to be. After he lives there a couple months, he finds that it murder filled, crime filled and dirty city. Then it jumps to another character named Mahogany, who is a large man who has been killing people at night on the sib way trains. He feels old and wasted out and feels that the next night he had to the job right to impress the fathers. When working late on night, Kaufman has to take the subway. He takes the same train a Mahogany and doesn’t have a clue that it is the midnight train.
So okay. I’ll start with the good. This is a true horror story, but in a sick demented way it plays out to happy ending for Kaufman. It starts with a man with ambition who finds the city he though he loved to be nothing more than a crap shoot. But horror invite him into something is completely beautify. The underlying story is a man’s search for what he loves. Also Clive Barker doesn’t do what most horror authors do. He doesn’t copy Stephen King’s style. He had his own. And everything is straight forward and thankfully he doesn’t over use suspense. He in fact uses the same techniques and style as the classic HP Lovecraft tales (which by far are some of the creepiest things I read) He is willing to show you monsters and show you the secret under New York city that is over the top compared to the rest of the authors today. With this creates a dark underworld that made me go “Wow. That’s really messed up.” But then would hold so much of a promise of novel I would finish, if it were a novel instead of a short story,
So the bad. Well I couldn’t really connect to Kaufman. And I’m sure if the author did either. He didn’t even bother to even mention his first name more than once, if he had family, or even where he works. He mentions him at work a couple times, but when reading it, I was asking “What does he do?” He doesn’t mention much about Kaufman other then he’s been in love and heartbroken by the city. So when it comes to parts where he found the bodies hanging upside down on the meat train, he wasn’t even developed enough character to be scared and have us care about him. At least one thing I can say about Stephen King has Barker beat with, in that department, but not much else.
Overall its fun read. And if you love the Lovecraftian old school in your face horror, this is it. It goes beyond what you would think it would be. Though it’s not perfect, it pretty good. I recommend this to any one who likes horror.
3 ½ smoothies out of four.
Over all Rating: Delivers more than what the title might suggest
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