Nominated for an Edgar Award!
2008 Best Paperback Original
Renata is young, beautiful, and enjoys sex for money and kicks. Few are immune to her intoxicating allure – even her pet Burmese python, Pepe, seems captive to her charm. Richard, a poetry professor with a wife and two sons, refuses to give up his erotic fascination with Rennie, though it threatens his home and career. Julie, a shy wannabe-novelist, spies from her next door room, lusting for Rennie between bouts of frustrated writing. Both would do anything to save Rennie from her dangerous occupation and become her one true love.
Praise for Cruel Poetry
"I loved this book. It’s a private ticket into a secret world of desire and sex and the raw edge between them. I don’t know why the book has chapters. I read it page to page with the fever of the addicted."
— Michael Connelly
“Steamy crime doesn’t get much better than this tale of obsession, sex and death.”
— Mirror, London
“A powerful story, told in hard, vivid prose, set in Florida’s violent underbelly.”
— The Times
“The authentic heir to James M. Cain, Vicki Hendricks is the high priestess of neo-noir. A fierce and fearless talent.”
— Dennis Lehane
“I never miss a book by Vicki Hendricks. No one on the current scene is writing supercharged, erotic, real noir novels like these.”
— George P. Pelecanos
“Cruel Poetry opens with a sex scene as hot as the scorching Florida sun and grips as tightly as the heroine’s pet python. Strap yourself in for another rollercoaster ride of sexual obsession and perversion from Vicki Hendricks, reigning queen of American noir.”
— Lauren Henderson
“. . . An enormous amount of damn fine sex in Vicki Hendricks’ take on the folie a deux—mad passionate beach-front lust, entertaining sexual practices, and an ever-welcome python. But more than this, in Renata she gives us a femme fatale with the courage to see herself honestly . . . enough blood to turn the Everglades red . . . a Thelma and Louise with the guts to stay alive.”
— Stella Duffy, author of Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore: A Novel
“Vicki Hendricks is a true original. She is undoubtedly one of the most important noir writers of the past twenty years.”
— Jason Starr
“Works like a dream . . . fast-paced, sweaty in the extreme and damn sexy.”
“Frighteningly close to perfection.”
— Allan Guthrie