Is there any need for me to tell you that Vicki Hendricks had me at the cover of this collection of her stories? I didn't think so. But wait! There's more! Florida Gothic Stories includes the irresistible (for me) "Gators," with this great opening line: "It was a goddamned one-armed alligator put me over the line." Here's what I said about the story in my column for Mystery Scene: "It involves a one-armed gator and a one-armed woman, but they’re just for starters. The plot concerns a woman who wants to get rid of her good-for-nothing lout of a husband, permanently. She devises a clever plan for doing so, but things gang aft agley with plans like that, as we all know. I shall say no more except that this is a clever variation on a theme and that I didn’t know where it was going."
And speaking of great beginnings, the first page of "Stormy, Mon Amour" is guaranteed to grab your attention. Two words from me: Interspecies sex. I can say no more for fear of spoiling it for you.
"Sinny and the Prince" has identical twins and a femme very much fatale. A good twist, too. "The Big O" might not be what you're thinking, but it's got a heck of a storm and another good twist or two. And that's just, what? Four stories? There are seven other good ones in the book, some of which I'd read before but was happy to read again. Not that everybody in the stories is happy. Hardly anyone is. Hendricks writes about the doomed, the damned, and the despairing., and she does it wonderfully well. Sometimes, yes, sometimes she even gives a little glimmer of hope at the end.
Add to the stories a fine introductory essay by Megan Abbott and a nice closer by Michael Connelly, and you have a book that's more than worthy of your attention. Check it out.
Update: I should have mentioned that the book I have is an ARC. The book comes out in May. So check your local bookstores then. Or Amazon.