First published in May of 1982, Guy N Smith’s second instalment into the ‘Sabat’ occult horror series, entitled ‘Sabat 2: The Blood Merchants’ coincided with the release of the first part in the series ‘Sabat 1: The Graveyard Vultures’.

DLS Synopsis:
Mark Sabat is an ex-priest and SAS-trained killer turned exorcist, who carries the unwanted soul of his evil brother, Quentin Sabat, within him.  Sabat is called in by Detective Sergeant Clive McKay to assist the police force in tracking down the perpetrators of a number of puzzling and horrific murders.  The bodies of a number of prostitutes, as well as another young girl, have been found in and around a dilapidated and rundown estate.  Each one of their corpses showing a deep puncture wound to the neck, penetrating the jugular vein and showing signs of the removal of blood.  McKay is stumped and ponders the notion of a modern day vampire that is stalking the streets.

When Sabat arrives on the estate, he immediately visits the local brothel run by his one-time consoling lover Ilona, who he learns has already lost two of her girls to this stalking menace.  Sabat quickly enlists Ilona’s assistance in catching one of the blood merchants by using her as bait.  Sure enough, that very night, Sabat manages to catch one of the murdering blood collectors before the killer has a chance to murder Ilona.  The killer is a mere youth, sporting a Neo-Nazi ‘Liberation Front’ tattoo, and in a state of almost hypnotic control.  The skinhead is carrying an evil looking contraption resembling a small garden syringe which has a razor-sharp six-inch tubular needle-shaped cylinder attached to one end and an empty plastic bottle at the other (for collecting the blood).  Upon squeezing the trigger, the needle shoots out, whilst the modified syringe sucks, creating a fast and efficient blood draining device.

Before his torturous death at the hands of the merciless-trained-killer-turned-exorcist, the youth declares his utter devotion and obedience to ‘The Disciples of Lilith’ – a cult in which the youth has evidently been brain-washed and indoctrinated into.

Using his spiritual powers, Sabat sends his astral body out into the spiritual landscape where he is told that the demonic and bloodlusting succubus named Lilith is at work; controlling this army of misguided youths to further her despicable power onto mankind.  God’s angels Sanvi, Sansaanvi and Semangelaf are currently powerless to thwart her latest evil.  Sabat as a mere mortal must find her, trap her, and end this horrendous chain of evil.

Sabat takes to the sky once again in his astral body, following his powerful instincts until he finds himself landing on the windowsill of a large countryside manor.  Through the window, Sabat spies none other than his ex-lover Catriona Lealan; the sadomasochistic wife of Colonel Vince Lealan who was thrown out of the SAS after his far-right views were made public.  Sabat’s sexual involvement with Catriona was what saw the end to his own SAS career.  Yet still he finds himself drawn to her seductive nature.

Sabat must travel through spiritual worlds for answers to the questions that are at the crux of this whole troubling affair.  He alone must stand up to the evil power of this Neo-Nazi movement; hunting out their leader and the reincarnation of the demonic succubus known as Lilith.  But amongst it all, he finds himself side-tracked by his one true weakness – his sexual lusting for his sadomasochistic ex-lover Catriona...

DLS Review:
The novel begins with an edge-of-the-seat gritty introduction; setting the scene of the first horrific murder in the rundown estate where the majority of the early murders take place.  The down-trodden urban backdrop and victim stalking bares a great resemblance to the prostate murder by Hugh Gunn in Smith’s earlier novel ‘The Son Of The Werewolf’ (1978).  Equally as brutal, each one of the murders is detailed in a heavy-handed nature, wallowing in the graphic depictions of the violence involved. 

Before getting very far into the tale, Smith once again paints a picture of the ineptitude of the police force; their movements always one step behind Sabat, almost begging for guidance or clues.  In the same breath, Smith continues to build on the complex characterisation of Sabat himself; playing with the conflicting good and evil within him.

The storyline races forwards with what seems like two separate plot lines, until they (somewhat predictably) merge, hurtling towards a climatic finale that fully encapsulates the complex character of Sabat.

The ending itself is relatively weak compared with the build-up that preceded it.  Although the finale does wrap up the story quite neatly, it still feels like Smith took the easy way out when devising how the novel was to end.  However, this still does not detract too much from the overall enjoyment of a thrilling, occult heavy pulp novel that throws in bundles of action, sex, bloodshed and horror.

The novel runs for a total of 160 pages.

 © DLS Reviews

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