Author: John Diamond Nigh

Publisher: New Urge: Black Scat Books

ISBN: 9780999262214

Poet, interior designer, and sculptor, John Diamond Nigh is a man of many gifts and with his debut collection of prose, Sacred Sins: Short Sensual Stories he powerfully demonstrates his remarkable talents as a short-story author with a style that is polished and assured throughout.

The eloquent collection of thirty eclectic mix of stories, fables and some experimental pieces is a consistently pleasurable and seductive read, largely due to Nigh's scenarios being so brilliantly and masterfully crafted, yet economically drawn and no doubt influenced by his experiences as a visual artist and poet. Incidentally, each is introduced with a visual impression of a few lines teasing the reader as to what to expect from the story. In short and as the back cover sums it up, the stories are “fantasy of the highest order, allusive, mythic and archetypal. They are feminist and heroic, literate, mysterious, experimental, and spiritual.” All of this makes for a wealth of intriguing, original ideas in a quite a buffet that will remain in your consciousness long after you put the book to rest.

Although Nigh has quite a wild imagination, which could have easily run off the rails and lose control, he never does with his vivid and sometimes kinky stories that feature characters that spill off the edges of the page.

What really caught my attention as I read these hypnotic and steamy narratives was Nigh's impeccable attention to detail, his fine ear for language that is filled with colour and nuance, his exquisite word choice and his elegant simplicity. What's more it all felt like I was a voyeur peeping closely at someone's private intimacy as Nigh does not spare us when it comes to the concerns of the flesh.

To illustrate, in one of the stories we have the depiction of lust and desire about a young woman who was hiking through meadows in the rain where one evening she finds herself in a chapel. It is here where she notices two chairs set in the central aisle, facing each other, three feet apart. The woman is first alone and then a stranger enters and sits on one of the chairs and beckons the woman to sit on the other chair. She is commanded to look into her eyes, not say a word and not permit any distraction. As she recounts, “I set myself this stubborn resolution; whatever her motives in this mysterious 'pas-de-deux,' I would not be stared down-I a child of Simone de Beauvoir....”

The woman continues to recount that she would not be bewitched into the grasp of any other's will and asks “could a stranger, without a word, induce me into a trance, zip open my soul”? Further on, the woman describes the spell she fell into and confesses that she was aware that the stranger knew her. She continues and mentions that she searched her memory and “ripping through the archives of my mind. I was shaking. The soft chain of orgasms now was ebbing. I was wet, I could feel the wet cloth at my crotch, a little down my legs. No, more, I wanted to whisper. I wanted nothing so much as a full, blinding, sacred wave. Well, if not now, later back in my hotel.”

In another story we read about the auctioning off of a sexy Norwegian hunk of a man to a novelist's wife who in turn gifts it to her friend. The friend is described as a “sensual angel, a scholar of rising reputation who was, though reticent by nature, quite capable of inching off her clothes in as supple a molt as that of any pro.” It should be noted that the recipient's husband would have liked to have been the auction's winner, but the bidding went beyond his limit. He enjoys watching his wife being humped by another man as “she dissolves into time, the long prow of his sex sliding over the strings of her rapture. Into the ruthless lairs and covers and palace halls of giants and monsters.”

Caveat, you can well imagine there is a temptation to quickly read these lusty stories from cover to cover, however, I noticed when I took the time to reread them, space them out, let them percolate and permit them to take shape in my mind, they were far more enjoyable. Compelling and bold they stay with you in your day dreams as you remember and perhaps visualize some of their most sensual moments. Enjoy!