Iguana Love by
pbk out May 99
Iguana Love appeared a little while back, but the buzz around it
continues to resound. The second novel by Vicki Hendricks is a
genuine stunner and proof positive (if anyone still needed it) that
deepest, darkest noir is not the sole prerogative of male writers.
Iguana Love is raw, graphic - at moments even a bit shocking -
and as deliciously nasty a piece of work as you can find.
Hendricks is Jim Thompson in a g-string. Iguana Love tracks the rise/descent (it's all a matter of
perspective) of Ramona Romano, a Miami nurse who is looking for
more than the nice guy husband and quiet life that she's got. After
she discovers scuba diving, bodybuilding and some dangerous
men, she ditches hubby and pursues her new interests with the
vengeance of a Fury. Those interests lead her into some seriously
nasty business, but no matter how far out of control things seem to
go, Ramona is always ready to take it one level further. Ultimately
her transformation becomes as much physical as it is emotional
and psychological, until she lands in a place where even she's
scared to be.
There is a truly delicious inevitability about Ramona's dark
trajectory in Iguana Love. Even as you know things can only
get worse and worse, Hendricks still manages to shock with where
she takes her heroine. It's a difficult balancing act to move a
character into so unsympathetic a landscape while maintaining
identification - this, I think, is why the Thompson analogy is so apt;
the book made me think of The Getaway in its feel - but
Hendricks manages not to fall off the tightrope. Though the ending
is a bit too abrupt, Hendricks drags her readers to places they
probably wouldn't choose to go if they had a choice. Her prose
isn't brilliant, but it moves and it sustains.
This is dynamite stuff. A star is definitely born.
- one of the greatest talents the horror industry has produced for some time… (Black Tears))