Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How Much Sex is Too Much?

Today's guest is a writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour. Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. Wynd’s novella of murder and obsessive love, EXTRICATE, is out now from Fox Spirit Books; the print edition also includes the novella THROW THE BONES as well as a collection of short stories. ‘The Tender Trap’ appears in EXILES: AN OUTSIDER ANTHOLOGY from Blackwitch Press and the short story ‘Kiss Like a Fist’ appears in NOIR NATION 3.

We know what they say about us crime writers: better a bullet than a kiss. I don’t want to say that we’re puritanical, but you should see people’s faces if you suggest something like Fifty Shades of Miss Marple (though I bet the old gal had a lot more going on than we might want to guess). Across the border over in thriller territory, James Bond is getting it on. But the crime scene tape keeps those shenanigans at bay.

Mysteries tend to appeal to the intellect; our investigators might develop a patchy romance with a colleague or even a criminal, but anything between the sheets happens offstage. But I write noir. Noir is a bit different: it’s all hard men and femmes fatales, who seem destined to use that allure as a weapon. The sexy is out there in the open, but it tends to be a tease. The most we get is Chandler allowing Marlowe a brief indulgence with Mrs. Grayle: “She fell softly across my lap and I bent down over her face and began to browse on it.”

The novella Extricate which opens my collection from Fox Spirit Books features a pair who fall into what folks would now recognize as a BDSM sort of relationship. They don’t have a name for it: they’re just stunned to find a kindred soul. Of course the choices they make so they can be together are not so smart, which is noir in a nutshell: things fall apart. But things do get a bit steamy.

Is it too much? Your mileage may vary, as they say. The crimes are the main focus in the narrative, but sex is the engine that drives it. Don’t you want to peek at what’s under the hood now and then? Go on. No one’s looking.

© 2014 Graham Wynd

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