David Dietzen’s vast novel “The Sex God” takes place in the adult film industry, between the years of 1981 (when porn was first flexing its love muscles as a multi-million dollar industry) to 1990 (when a certain nascent phenomenon known as the Internet was prepared to change the world of skin flicks forever). Using the jizz bizz as a backdrop, the book follows the story, in first-person narrative, of our anti-hero Nick Dumas: “The Sex God“ of the book‘s title. Right away, Dumas makes sure to inform the reader that he is “a fourth generation Charlestonian aristocrat“ and “a descendant of Charlemagne“. He‘s also a graduate of Yale. Nevertheless, the restless charmer is ruthlessly determined to be someone bigger (meaning: wealthier and more powerful) than he perhaps was meant to be. Porn again… I mean, born again as “Nick Valentine“, he takes the dive into the dangerously dark waters of adult films, engaging in acts of mutual exploitation with most of the people in his life on the way to the top… and while on top as well. He doesn’t perform in the movies, but rather becomes a monarch in a kingdom where sex on film translates into big bucks. Like the glossy video box covers which seductively stared back at the customers in the adult section of an ‘80‘s video store, however, the pretty picture that we see is only skin deep. In the world of “The Sex God”, ambition often morphs into dangerous opportunism and manipulation… and that’s just an appetizer for grander sins like corruption, violence, rape, and yes, even murder. It’s a world where every man is for himself… and for that matter, every woman is for herself as well. Altruism is a luxury none of these characters can afford. True to its title, there’s sex aplenty throughout Dietzen’s novel… but the sex is almost always just another tool to getting at the real goals: money and power. Running parallel with the saga of Nick Dumas is the story of another character, a mystery woman who we learn had been attacked, raped, and left for dead in a burning barn. She survives, changing identities several times as she runs both away from and towards…well, something. The stories do converge together by the book’s climax, but even the most astute readers will be thrown for a curve with the many twists, turns, surprises, and revelations which the author has waiting. (It’s enough, incidentally, for a sprawling TV miniseries…) Ultimately, no one gets the prize in this adults-only carnival of bodies and souls.
A deliciously self-indulgent writer, Dietzen never bypasses a single detail, whether he’s going inside our sex god’s overheated head or describing the world which Nick both entered willingly and was railroaded into at the same time. Dietzen’s writing style is vivid, decadent, and lively. The best example of this is the opening of Chapter 17, which lets the reader play “fly on the wall” for an explicit, almost surreal porn scene that runs over four pages. It’s, shall we say, a sheet-soaker for sure. Whoa! Yet, the author can also be subtle: The relationship between Nick and his reigning male porn star Terrence, for example, is titillatingly cryptic.
Making Jackie Collins‘ novels seem like kid stuff, “The Sex God” is a darkly decadent experience that you‘ll want to play voyeur to! “The Sex God” is available from www.Amazon.com, www.FlipKart.com, www.Waterstones.com, and Barnes & Noble online (www.BN.com).