Catching up: latest novel wins five-star reviews!

For several weeks I’ve been leaving notes to myself: Write more blog posts. I’ve ignored them because I’ve been very busy with editing (more about that in another blog – watch this space), teaching, working on the folktale film project (yet another blog in the making), trying to recover from a persistent cold and sore throat, and reading some great novels and short stories. Anyway, at last, here I am again.

My book launches for The Engklimastat were disappointing in terms of numbers, but people are buying the novel – thanks in no small measure to my brilliant publishers – and apparently enjoying it, though two women readers said there were moments when they exclaimed “Oh, Mark, how could you!” and reached for the smelling salts. The book does carry a health warning: it isn’t suitable for persons under eighteen or those of a sensitive disposition. I don’t habitually use that sort of language and I certainly don’t share the attitudes of many of the characters I was obliged to create, but as author I couldn’t avoid the culture of the criminal underclass, or the police, or the more appalling specimens of the nouveaux riches. Even worse, I had to include a pack of young male undergraduates. At least readers are finding the novel funny, even the ones who needed smelling salts. I admit that if it wasn’t funny it would be horrible.

The theme of the book is “What would happen to society if crime became inconceivable, if it became impossible to break the law?” Such a disaster could only be brought about by supernatural intervention, specifically, in this case, by the machinations of an ambitious junior demon from the University of Pandaemonium, a.k.a. Hell. A subsidiary theme is Ockham’s Razor, the principle of simplicity, which bids us rid our minds of abstractions… and ‘crime’, which should properly be understood only as a contingent label for actions that contravene existing laws, is an abstraction is we assume it to be a thing-in-itself, as we do, at least implicitly, when we talk about “fighting crime” or “the causes of crime”. This treatment of contingent labels as ‘things’ is a philosophical error, technically known as hypostasis, against which the 14th century logician William of Ockham warned us. Our ambitious junior demon, who is determined to blunt Ockham’s Razor at every turn, is accordingly called Hypostates.

The Engklimastat (the title is derived from the Greek word pronounced ‘engklima’, meaning crime or law-breaking) can be ordered through your bookshop or purchased from the Great Monster Amazon either as a paperback or as an e-book. It can also be obtained directly from the publisher ( If you read it, please post a review on Amazon. So far, to my delight, there have been two five-star reviews 🙂 Of course, one-star reviews will come…

Naturally, it’s been added to my Amazon author profile,


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