| || Miami Purity (1995)|
From Publishers Weekly
White trash women find a voice for the ages in Henricks's simple yet searing first novel. Sherry Parlay, 36, may be the most oversexed antiheroine in noir-a genre rife with hotblooded femmes-and she's one of the more fatale, in the first sentence here knocking her "old man" dead after he slugs her. Sherry slays two more people before her story ends, but killing isn't what she does best: "He climbed on top and I put a bite on that lower lip. We got a sweat worked up real fast. He had me lathered inside and out. He was all I could take, but I could take him over and over." The guy who just "got his" is Payne Mahoney, hunky underboss of the Miami dry cleaner where Sherry has gone to work to escape the fate of an aging stripper. The overboss is Payne's mom, who turns out also to be sleeping with Payne-a situation Sherry remedies by suffocating her rival with a plastic clothes bag. It's at this point that Hendricks's tale loses some of its power, as the plot unravels like a tossed ball of thread: Jim Thompson this author may want to be, but she isn't. Further killings and sexual betrayals seem contrived, and characters appear to act not out of natural motivation but simply to propel the increasingly predictable plot. Still, the self-loathing Sherry remains as mesmerizing as a rattler about to strike (readers' knuckles will whiten as she plays Russian roulette with a .357 magnum inserted into an orifice that isn't her mouth). And, if what Hendricks finally offers us is a one-note novel, it's a piercing one that few will forget. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
| || Iguana Love (1999)|
From Library Journal
In Hendricks's second novel, Ramona has a big thirst for thrills, cheap and otherwise. She also wants freedom from her marriage. She satisfies both of these longings by learning to dive and by picking up her fellow divers at seedy bars in southern Florida. However, Ramona gets in way over her head; very quickly the thrills turn dangerous and then deadly, especially when Enzo, one of Ramona's diving instructors, as trashy and shameless as she but a lot more sinister, enters the picture. Maybe Ramona should have stayed home to look after her pet iguana instead of piling up credit card bills for diving lessons and equipment. Certainly, she should never have let Enzo persuade her to be his drug-courier accomplice on a run to Bimini. Some feminists will cheer the ending of this book, but it's not much of a victory for the one left standing. Hendricks (Miami Purity), an English professor and an amateur diver herself, writes in clear, crisp prose that is also quite sexually explicit. Her descriptions of the serenity and vastness of the ocean surface or of the aquatic species living underneath will mesmerize readers.ALisa S. Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
| || Voluntary Madness (2000)|
In Voluntary Madness, the doomed lovers, twentysomething naif Juliette and alcoholic writer Punch, are sympathetic in that antisocial, rule-breaking way typical of so many noir couples (see Sailor and Lula in Barry Gifford's Wild at Heart ). "It's hard to be unusual in Key West," Juliette complains, but that doesn't stop her from trying. The idea is to come up with outrageous pranks that give Punch material for his novel-in-progress and keep him entertained enough to postpone the couple's plan to kill themselves on Halloween. Unfortunately, the cavalcade of increasingly dangerous high jinks grows tiresome after a bit, and we never really understand Punch's motivation (he exists more as a plot device than a character). On the other hand, Juliette is a compelling if pathetic figure (gender aside, she's reminiscent of Sal Mineo in Rebel without a Cause ), and her obsession with Punch rings achingly true.Hendricks' talent is undeniable, but perhaps she needs to branch out a little. Her female characters could use a good night's sleep. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
| || Sky Blues (2002)|
From Publishers Weekly
In this straightforward thriller, the sex-starved veterinarian Destiny "Desi" Donne believes she can get through her dull life in the flatlands of Florida without a man, thank you, until hunky Tom Jenks prowls into her office. Jenks has an obviously illegal lion cub he wants her to check. She knows better, but takes that small ethical misstep he is so cute that sends her literally plunging into adventure and plans for murder. Jenks is a professional sky diver, with an inconvenient wife, and draws Desi into the thrills of this sport and ever deeper into a web of conspiracy. Occasionally, Desi realizes the mistakes she's making "I'm a much bigger fool than I ever expected to be" but one graphically described session in bed after another always seems to keep her under Jenks's, um, thumb. Desi, of course, is little different from her dumb male counterparts in noir films and paperbacks of 50 years ago, lured to their doom by some femme fatale. That women too can play the sap may not be news, but adds a nice twist to this time-worn genre. Hendricks (Miami Purity; Iguana Love) bases the skydiving scenes on over 300 jumps she has made herself, but they never reach the visceral pitch of the best extreme sports writing. As erotica, though, with a dash of mystery (vets have access to neat, potentially lethal drugs like rhino tranquilizers), the story is quite effective. Regional author tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
| || Cruel Poetry (2007)|
From Publishers Weekly
Renata-called Rennie by friends, lovers, and people who pay her for sex, which is to say just about everyone in Miami Beach-doesn't so much like living dangerously as she likes doing fun things that happen to be dangerous. One of those fun things is Richard, an English professor who's risking his marriage by continuing to see Rennie but just can't help himself. Her reckless allure has also captivated her colleague Francisco and her next door neighbor Julie, who eavesdrops on Rennie's exploits and struggles to turn them into the great American novel. The blood, lust and drama are vivid and visceral, but Hendricks is so determined to avoid trite lessons and happy endings that she fails to assemble any kind of ending at all, relying instead on entropy and disaster to bring her story stumbling to a halt. These exquisitely developed characters deserve better. As Hendricks refines her hallmark noir style, perhaps she'll get a better handle on which clichés are worth keeping.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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