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 boys club. So when Vicki Hendrickss 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. Ive often been in the small percentage of women among men, says Hendricks. And it makes me feel tough. Puritys 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. Ive heard my books described as noir, noir-otica, neo-noir and other terms I cant 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. Theyre basically doomed to a low-life existence. Hendrickss 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. Its 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.