January Magazine: Crime Fiction: Voluntary Madness by Vicki Hendricks, reviewed by Steven Nester
“Ask yourself this, you outlaw bohemians who view the suburban cul-de-sac at the end of the bourgeois rainbow as a fate worse than death: If you planned to chuck it all to avoid having to endure an undistinguished life; if you wished to live large and make a last-ditch statement of your existence, then check out with some Bonnie and Clyde panache (didn’t they die pretty — at least in the 1967 film?), what would you do? You would live dangerously in order to acquire material for a novel, write it, party until your money ran out, then dress up as a skeleton and overdose on sleeping pills on a prominent float in Florida’s Key West Fantasy Fest parade, right?”
From the Publisher
Beautiful, sexy Juliette is madly in love with Punch. She’ll do absolutely anything for him. She also loves getting buck-naked on dark Key West byways and flashing strangers by moonlight. Punch loves Juliette … sort of. He loves even more the booze he drinks like a fish, Juliette’s inherited money on which he’s happy to live, the image of himself as a wannabe writer, and the idea of flaming out in a joint suicide when his novel is done and the money runs out. Together Juliette and Punch have come to Key West in a desperate quest for something vital, something eloquent in their lives-some antidote to their hollow loneliness. One day Juliette wanders into a pawnshop and buys a “cute” little Beretta .25 caliber pistol-like a snake in the Garden of Eden. Then the real trouble starts. Voluntary Madness is a crazed, unputdownable motorcycle ride to either perdition or salvation that has become a noir classic in its own time.
You May Also Like: Writes of Spring: Fresh Crime Yarns to Chase Away the Chill, by J. Kingston Pierce, reviewing “A June of Ordinary Murders” by Conor Brady in The Rap Sheet (A Kirkus Reviews blog focused on crime fiction)