Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
Miami PurityMiami Purity
By: Vicki Hendricks
Busted Flush Press (Originally published by Random House)
ISBN: 0979270936
May 2007

Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

A lot of people have described my writing as hardboiled.  Or was it half-baked?  It had something to do with cooking and the foreign words they used probably meant “noir” in French.  Early on in my writing career someone actually said, “Your writing reminds me of Mickey Spillane.”

“Is that because it’s a good story that’s well told?” I asked.

“No,” they said.  “You remind me of him because I can’t stand that bastard either.”

I mention all of this only because I’ve been reading Vicki Hendricks’ hardboiled noir thriller, Miami Purity, and I figured it would be apposite to indicate that I’m familiar with this genre, if not an authority. 

Miami Purity has been rightly described as “a modern noir masterpiece.”  The story follows the first person narrative of Sherri.  Sherri is trying to get her life back together after a spell in prison, the accidental murder of her long time partner, and a history of substance abuse that she wants to put behind her.  Working at the dry cleaners – the eponymous Miami Purity – seems like the ideal way to get rid of the dirt from her past and make a clean start.

But Sherri hasn’t anticipated meeting someone like Payne.  And, whilst Sherri has enough emotional issues to disturb the sleep of a trained psychiatrist, Payne is an even darker character.  By most people’s standards Payne should be a bastion of the community and ideal material for a heroic template.  He’s a hard working businessman, takes a personal interest in the company’s finances and the staff’s development, and he loves his mother.  However, it’s possible to take all of those beneficial traits to a sinister extreme and Payne does all of that and then some.

One of the repeated failings of contemporary noir is that post-modern cynicism is often overtly represented, masquerading as black humour at the author/reader level – usually above the level of character interaction.  Invariably this comes across with the I-narrator making some abstract intertextual reference that is intrusive for readers familiar with noir and too oblique to be relevant for those new to the genre.

Yet Miami Purity has none of these failings.  Hendricks’ protagonist has a fresh voice and enthusiasm that flourishes and shines within the bleak world of noir Miami.  She is practical enough to realise that life is crap, hopeful enough to believe that change might just be possible, and sufficiently pragmatic to deal with the after-effects when everything starts to fall apart. 

Sherri’s healthy appetite for sex, its application hindered by the accidental murder of her previous partner, is foregrounded early on in the story.  This incessant libido drives her into the arms and the bed of the story’s disturbed antagonist Payne.  The sex in this story – used as a device to provide depth for Sherri, complications for Payne, and a motive for the story’s progression – is harsh, brutal and (usually) satisfying. 

It is genuinely refreshing to read a stylish noir thriller that is not trapped in the quagmire of patriarchal hegemony.  Admittedly, Sherri could be considered socially oppressed by her occasional lapses back into stripping and easy, casual sex.  And her salacious sexual appetite is one of the driving forces that power the plot to its delicious, dark denouement.  But Sherri’s resolve to get the job at Miami Purity, her determination to conquer Payne and to forcefully deal with the issues that trouble and threaten their relationship, make her dynamic enough to be a post-modern icon of the feminist femme fatale.  Whilst the genre still subscribes to the belief that men are men and women are either dangerous or convenient, Miami Purity brings a fresh approach to this masculine-dominated world of story-telling.

Miami Purity is neither a HEA [happy ever after] romance nor is it erotica, even though elements of love and the erotic are presented in the narrative.  From beginning to end Miami Purity is 100% hardboiled noir and every page is worth the investment.  So, fill your glass with neat bourbon, light up a smoke and have your weapon close by as you sit back to enjoy Vicki Hendricks’ Miami Purity