Vicki Hendricks

This “noir-otica” author invaded the boy’s club of hardboiled fiction

Crime and mystery writers of the “hard-boiled” school have a lot of kings (James Cain, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford…) but precious few queens. In fact, the genre of tough-talking PIs, femmes fatales and nihilistic criminals is pretty much a boy’s club. So when Vicki Hendricks’s debut novel Miami Purity came out in 1996, a reviewer from The New York Times did a background check to make sure the author was actually a woman. “I’ve often been in the small percentage of women among men,” says Hendricks. “And it makes me feel tough.” Purity’s tale of a topless dancer attempting to go “straight” -- while still having lots of hot sex -- has just been reissued by local publisher Busted Flush Press. “I’ve heard my books described as noir, noir-otica, neo-noir and other terms I can’t remember,” Hendricks says with a laugh. “I just start with the idea of obsession and it gets to crime because I write characters that go there in some screwy fashion. They’re basically doomed to a low-life existence.” Hendricks’s latest, Cruel Poetry, features a prostitute protagonist and is set in Miami Beach, a natural setting for steamy coupling and seamy deals. “I find sexual conflict to be the most interesting basis of everything,” she adds. It’s also a great way to keep readers turning pages. Hendricks and fellow crime author Megan Abbott stop by Murder by the Book today.
Wed., Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m.
 
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