Sex and Crime: Oliver’s Strange Journey is an autobiographical book that follows the incredible life of Oliver, a teenage hacker in Aachen, Germany, who is the victim of traumatic childhood abuse and suffers from PTSD.
He falls in love with an American girl online, and spends many hours on the phone with her every day for a year, until he moves in with her in New York. After his crazy adventures as a New York cab driver, he becomes a successful cartoonist and goes on to be an Internet millionaire. A painful divorce throws him into a deep, almost suicidal depression, until he falls in love with a heroin addict and he ends up moving to Fort Myers, Florida. As his life spirals more and more out of control, Oliver gets sucked deeper and deeper into the dark world of drug addiction and prostitution.
Sex and Crime offers an unflinching look at the seedy underworld of Fort Myers, that most residents are probably not aware of. It explores the world of online prostitution, the underlying causes and consequences of drug addiction, as well as the shortcomings of the AA 12-step-program and the failure of traditional rehab programs that are utterly divorced from modern medical science.
Along his journey, Oliver encounters a number of female drug addicts and he empathizes with them because of his own traumatic past. He feels compelled to try to help them escape the addict lifestyle, but the end result is always the same. They break his heart.
Despite all its gritty ugliness, there is beauty to be found in Sex and Crime. Oliver never gives up hope that the next drug addict may be different. He never stops believing that deep down every person is good and deserves a second chance in life.
There have been a number of books about drug addiction in recent years, but Sex and Crime offers a fresh, unique perspective. Oliver himself is not addicted to drugs, and yet addiction takes a heavy toll on him, as the addicts in his life hurt him over and over.
His knowledge of addiction is at once intimate and distant. As outsider deep inside the drug world he has a unique vantage point. There’s an old saying: “Fish don’t know they’re wet.” Oliver sees patterns and similarities that the addicts themselves can’t see.
The book is more than an examination of drug addiction and its harrowing consequences and collateral damage. It is an emotional, deeply personal and often very touching account of one man’s struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, addiction in all its many forms, love and loss.
Although it’s an autobiography, Sex and Crime often feels like an action adventure novel, because the events described are so far removed from what most people consider normal every-day life.
The book deals with very dark subject matter, but the author’s eloquently simplistic prose makes it a breeze to read. His writing never feels pompous or pretentious. He takes the reader by the hand and gently leads you deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Oliver’s ability to recognize his own mistakes in hindsight, and his humble, self-deprecating sense of humor make Sex and Crime a very entertaining read, even when his brutal honesty makes you cringe.
Sex and Crime: Oliver’s Strange Journey by Oliver Markus (Westhoff Publishing, 484 pages) is available in paperback and as Kindle ebook.