Mark Sabat is a psychic detective. Along with fighting evil in a variety of forms, his greatest enemy is his brother Quentin whose soul is constantly trying to destroy him. This is an ongoing background against Mark’s encounters with the forces of darkness.
Sabat 1 & 2 (‘The Graveyard Vulture’s’ & ‘The Blood Merchants’) were published simultaneously by New English Library in 1982. No.3 ‘Cannibal Cult’ followed in the same year with No.4 ‘The Druid Connection’ in 1983.
With hindsight I would have written these a few years earlier for as the 1980’s progressed Series were going out of fashion, another illogical decision by the publishing industry. Mews Books, a subsidiary of NEL, had already folded after publishing numerous series including my ‘Truckers’ and ‘Bamboo Guerillas’. Nevertheless Sabat continued to sell and then in 1997 Creation Books launched ‘Dead Meat’, the complete Books of Sabat’, now a much sought after collector’s item which included 3 short stories.
Sabat, however, was destined to become noticed at media level in South Africa. The Johannesburg Star, October 23, 1982, carried a front page list of ‘undesirables’ compiled by the Commission for Justice and Reconciliation of the Southern Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Pretoria. I was included in the list and Sabat No.1 was mentioned! It was added that ‘from today it will be an offence to import and/or distribute this publication’.
A copy was sent to my mother by a friend in S.A. Why was I listed as an undesirable along with my book? Was it because the cover illustration was that of a naked girl within a pentagon? Obscene, perhaps, in the view of those bishops, or was it because I might be teaching the natives black magic?
Shocked as my mother and her friend were, I regarded this notification as a compliment. My book had been noticed at high level and in spite of its ban sales increased. Such proclamations simply drive a novel ‘underground’ and increase demand.
A recent Sabat story is included in my latest compilation of ‘shorts’, ‘Hangman’s Hotel’, entitled ‘The Witch of Warsaw’. Will there be more Sabat stories? Like my giant crabs I don’t think he will disappear for good. Only time will tell.