Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Florida Gothic Stories

Vicki Hendricks
Florida Gothic Stories

Kitsune Books, 2010

Nowhere on the cover of this book states that it is a collection of noir short stories, so Vicki Hendricks is called the queen of modern noir. And rightly so, that it is not specified. Vicki Hendricks is not queen of noir, she is queen of neonoir: Now, when the term "noir" clings to all the books and movies, where there is murder, it had already lost its original meaning and actually depreciated. Period of film noir was - and passed. On his shift neonoir came, so it's fair to replace queen of noir to queen of neonoir.

And it's really the royal collection. Typically author’s collections and anthologies are vulnerable because in them one half is good stories, the other one is bad stories. And I think I first saw the author's collection, where there is no bad story. That is, in general, not one at all. All the 11 stories collected here are damn good (some of them reprints, there are a couple of originals).

All three words in the title of the book could not better describe what the full collection is. Florida in stories exists on an equal terms with the heroes of stories, becoming a full participant in the events. Crocodiles, tornadoes, beaches, ocean, luxury homes, monkeys - Florida is rich in exotics. Not all stories are realistic, and in general, noir has never been a separate genre, and often contained in itself the elements of different genres, from science fiction to melodrama. In «Stormy, Mon Amour» heroine, tired of the bad boyfriend, gets bonded with a dolphin and becomes pregnant by him, and later hopes to escape with a dolphin. A loser and a married man, Gregory Waxman is left by his wife and gets cold-blooded mistress - an iguana, in the «Cold-Blooded Lovers». Too intelligent and sexually preoccupied chimpanzee named Big Man takes the former master into the sex slavery, in «Must Bite!».

But above all - Hendricks can tell a good story. Catchy, original (the elements of the old film noir are the same, but the new scenery of the old stories so refreshes a story that you forget about the original), tough and brutal. Heroes of the stories in this book are most often women. They can be cunning, deadly dangerous, resourceful, independent, but they all at heart want to be affectionate and want to have a little wealth, if only in their lives was a man. However, the men these women often choose are not ideal: spoiled, rude, cruel, power, recognizing a woman not as fully human being, but merely a sex toy. In «Gators» wife plans to frame her own husband for killing the husband of his sister:

«It was a goddamned one-armed alligator put me over the line. After that I was looking for trouble».

In «Must Bite!» as a means of revenge it’s chosen a giant ape, for a meal ready to devour the man. In «The Big O» to get rid of the boyfriend a woman against the backdrop of an approaching tornado pits boyfriend with a local drug-dealer.
Finals of stories are often instructive: If you use illegal methods to fix your life, life most likely will use a forbidden method in relation to you, too.

Incredibly good book.

1 comment: