Get out the kevlar gloves: this is hot stuff. Rennie is a prostitute. Jules is an aspiring writer who lives next door. She listens and watches when Rennie plies her trade or gets it on with her special friend, Francisco. Richard ("Professor Dick") is the college prof who loves Rennie and whose compulsions are going to cost him everything: wife, family, career, and more.
One evening Jules rushes in to rescue Rennie from a man whom Jules thinks is choking her. In the ensuing fracas, Jules kills the man with a pair of scissors. From that point on, things go downhill. Lots of people die in unpleasant ways. Hendricks doesn't flinch from describing any of them or from describing sex in any number of different combinations. There's no way to predict how things will turn out. You'll want to know because you care about the characters and their fates.
Can it really have been more than ten years since I read Miami Purity? I remember the pleasure of discovering a new writer with a noir sensibility that was brand new and old at the same time. She's just gotten better, and Cruel Poetry is the proof. Check it out.