Vicki Hendricks is often compared to James M. Cain. In here stories, it’s the woman who is led astray sexually or romantically into a dark and dangerous world while the man plays the seducer. Of course, Hendricks’ world is much more violent.
And interesting. Iguana Love, however, differs from Miami Purity in that it’s more an erotic tale than a crime fiction story. In fact, the crime fiction takes up only the back quarter of the story. Ramona Romano, a woman whose mother probably got naming tips from the father of Ed McBain’s Meyer Meyer, is bored with her marriage. She is bored with her body. She craves adventure. She craves sex. She craves making herself into a muscled goddess. Ramona dumps her husband Gary and begins hanging out with a pair of divers, Charlie and Enzo. Both want Ramona, and she takes them, along with a few of the other divers in her rescue class. Meanwhile, she decides to bulk up with steroids as she begins body building. This is a woman who wants to take control. Eventually, she settles on Enzo, but discovers that his way to make money is by running drugs from the Bahamas to Miami, using his diving skills to discreetly retrieve product.
As I said, the book is more erotic than criminal. Three fourths of the book concerns Ramona’s physical and sexual experimentation, as well as her goal to become a rescue diver. The last fourth is almost a short story unto itself with Ramona willingly trapped in her relationship with Enzo. This being noir, at least in name, it does not end well. For the characters, that is. For the reader, the ending is bizarrely ambiguous.