Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catching Up #20: Voluntary Madness by Vicki Hendricks

Vicki Hendricks is fucking nuts in the best possible way. She fuses James M. Cain-style noir with hardcore erotica without missing a beat and - here's the thing, dear reader - it seems completely fucking natural. And I'm not talking about like, fucking Evanovich uses erotica in her bounty hunter books (where she lamely talks about Ranger's taut muscles and steely eyes and all that lame-ass bullshit) - no sir. This stuff is "thrust his cock in her pussy" kind of stuff, no "engorged members entering her womanhood" neutered crap that wouldn't even make a Quaker read one-handed. This is FUCKING, this is PORNOGRAPHY, this is...fucking awesome. But naturally, The Nerd wouldn't even give a shit about any of that stuff if it wasn't at its heart, stone-cold noir.

Voluntary Madness is indeed that. But you knew that, didn't you reader-who-is-looking-at-a-site-called-Nerd-of-Noir. You knew the Nerd would not bend the rules just so he could talk about stroking it to some book. That's not his style, that's not why you're here. So let's just walk away from the steamy stuff and head towards the fucking BLOOD. You want tits and asses, might I suggest looking JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET.

Voluntary Madness is about Juliette and Punch, a star-crossed couple in Key West looking to live it up for a few months before they end it all at Fantasy Fest, go out in a blaze of glory befitting their crazy love. Before they off themselves the mission is simple: Punch will write an amazing book and the two of them will do crazy shit to "inspire" his creative process. Also, they'll fuck a lot and Punch will get drunk off his ass most of the time. Not a bad plan, but yeah, they are some crazy motherfuckers.

Their forced adventures start out simple enough. Juliette decides to flash people late at night. They break into Hemmingway's house to fuck. Shit like that. But as their final day approaches, the stakes are raised and the shennanigans start to get pretty fucked up - like batshit stupid violent fucked up.

What makes such a nutso story work is how deeply Hendricks is able to get inside of Juliette's naive little brain. She is our narrator and we come to see why she likes a puke like Punch, see how intense her love is, how ignorant and unworldly she is. It's a helluva trick to pull off and Hendricks succeeds beautifully. As the book goes on and shit gets crazier and crazier, we almost grow to sympathize with Punch when at first such a thing doesn't seem remotely possible.

Hendricks also packs the book with great Key West shit too - a town that she renders as both extremely appealing and pretty much as annoying as you thought it was (no matter what lame-ass Parrothead shitfuckers tell you). There's also great supporting characters like a hot lesbian Wiccan named Isis who wants some sweet Juliette ass and an overly friendly cop named Woodly...who wants some sweet Juliette ass as well...pretty much everybody is running around with their pelvises leading the way in Hendricks' Key West.

And that's the way it should be. The only thing more powerful than money in the noir world is sexual obsession. Hendricks knows that better than anyone currently writing crime and Voluntary Madness is a prime example of her wonderfully dark world view. I can't wait to dip into my handsome copy of Iguana Love for another sweaty, sick ride.

1 comment:

Victor Gischler said...

I love all of Vicki's work, but this one has always been my favorite.