Voluntary Madness

Vicki Hendricks, Author Serpent's Tail $23 (215p) ISBN 978-1-85242-666-8
Mimicking the hard-edged cynicism of James M. Cain and reminiscent of James Haley Chase, Hendricks (Iguana Love) probes the psychosocial baggage of two outside-the-mainstream characters intent on creating art out of the wrecks of their lives. Against a pornographic Rorschach of unwashed sex fueled by marijuana and alcohol, the author offers up a quixotic, marathon Chamber of Commerce tour of the eateries and tourist attractions of Key West. Sexually abused by her father since she was nine, 22-year-old ex-Cracker Barrel waitress Juliette has had little happiness in her life. When she meets 44-year-old half-Jamaican, half-Italian, diabetic, alcoholic Punch in Fort Pierce, she falls desperately in love with the self-styled novelist. Using proceeds from Juliette's abusive father's life insurance, the ill-starred couple migrate to Key West and make a pact that they will live out the year (and their bankroll) indulging themselves sensually and instigating ""experiences"" that Punch will chronicle in a novelDart imitates life. The plot takes a more serious turn when Punch accidentally kills a security guard at the Hemingway House, where the two adventure-seekers are trying to have sex. Having squandered one-third of their remaining capital on a used motorcycle with a ruined engine, they become ""Burrito Bandidos"", holding up popular Island eateries for sustenance. Copious, steamy sex scenes; gritty, Bukowskiesque characters; and popular Key West hangouts definitely focus the book's appeal and make this a Leaving Las Vegas on a tight budget. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 215 pages - 978-1-85242-751-1
Paperback - 260 pages - 978-0-692-37772-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-8283-7
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