At the moment ideas are teeming out of me. I created a monster that is consuming everything: time, attention, the lot. The first novel We Are Toten Herzen opens a series of stories about the '70s rock band who were murdered in 1977, found alive thirty five years later and persuaded to make a comeback. Never heard of them?
We Are Toten Herzen
Toten Herzen Malandanti
The Excitement of Solitude
A review of Koobug writer Stevie Turner's The Porn Detective
Don't let the title fool you. The Porn Detective is not an oversexed voyeur, but Frances Andrews whose husband Martin is addicted to pornography. Over several decades she is reduced to hunting through the family home in a painful search for her husband's magazines, videos and DVDs. And with each discovery, Martin's reaction is always the same: embarrassment, apology, and insistence that he'll change.
The process of suspicion, discovery and apology is a recurring pattern in Stevie Turner's forensic analysis of a marriage thrown around on a rough sea of mistrust. There is a sense of claustrophobia in the setting, the marital home with its bedroom, kitchen and office. Rooms that should be intimate and safe become scenes of casual betrayal. The novel shows the ingenuity and cunning that addicts will go to in order to hide their addiction. The attempts at hiding are taken to their logical conclusion as the story unfolds and Frances slowly, inevitably, moves further away from her husband.
Stevie Turner strips away the temptation to contextualise what's going on. This is the novel's strength, the impact of Martin's behaviour is made all the more stark as a result. But it is also a lost opportunity: whilst Martin's addiction is laid bare there is a sense that his behaviour isn't part of a wider social phenomenon of increasing sexualisation in all areas of life. Whilst Frances struggles to help her husband, a glimpse outside the marriage now and then would have shown the reader the insidious intrusion of porn into all walks of life.
The novel avoids being judgemental and sanctimonious and makes no attempt to sugar-coat a bitter tasting marriage. An honest and straightforward tale of loyalty in the face of obsession.
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