In Sweet and Vicious
, acclaimed author David Schickler treats readers to a magical, mystical tale of star-crossed lovers who develop an electrifying bond while trying to evade the nagging ghosts of their respective pasts. In what can be described as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde
meets Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet
, Schickler invites readers into a world of crime, passion, shame, fury, and ultimately awe-inspiring love.
Henry Dante is a Chicago enforcer who, after a work call takes an ugly turn, hits the road with a briefcase containing the Planets, the seven diamonds he was supposed to deliver to his boss, legendary gangster Honey Pobrinkis. While stopping for gas in a small Wisconsin town, Henry encounters Grace McGlone, an ethereal beauty who walks through a car wash to meet the man she instantly recognizes as "the one." Tucked in between miles of endless highways, campgrounds, and quickies in the back of a pickup truck, Schickler offers readers the backstories of these two unlikely heroes. Henry "muscles" for Honey as a way to "chew up the clock," while Grace is "trying for heaven" as a way to absolve herself from a shameful encounter with a famous evangelist at the age of fifteen. Yet what proves most striking about this unlikely couple is the immediate intensity of their relationship, and Schickler's ability to sustain that coup de foudre sensation throughout the novel's somewhat bumpy ride. In fact, it is only when Schickler strays too far from this explosive couple that the story begins to drag, and readers may find themselves skipping ahead to the more exhilarating aspects of the book.
Kissing in Manhattan, Schickler's widely praised debut, gave readers a delicious taste of this richly imaginative and refreshing literary voice. Sweet and Vicious will certainly take fans to the next level of author appreciation. As Henry says, "There are bold moments sometimes, moments that scare you and call to you all at once." Readers who heed the call are sure to be rewarded with a thrilling adventure. --Gisele Toueg
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From Publishers Weekly
In the much anticipated follow-up to 2001's Kissing in Manhattan
, his highly acclaimed story collection, Schickler tracks a pair of gloriously wacky, star-crossed young lovers on the lam from a gang of goons. Driving across the Great Plains in a stolen pick-up truck, loner thug Henry Dante and flame-haired temptress Grace McGlone are bent on giving away a set of seven famous stolen diamonds in a series of impetuous, extravagant gestures that are every bit as improbable as their relationship itself. From the omen-laden day that they first meet—when Grace walks through a car wash to introduce herself to Henry—Schickler rewinds to relate their vivid and bizarre backstories. Myriad off-kilter characters are entwined in the trajectory of Henry and Grace's month-long romance, including Grace's club-footed, treehouse-building classmate; the smarmy radio evangelist who deflowered her when she was 15 while whispering "God's will"; and the vengeful Chicago mobster who happens to be Henry's boss. Delightfully but believably nutty, Grace and Henry each have a precisely modulated moral code and a sense of honor forged in the weirdness and tragedy of their respective pasts. Though their largely innocent misadventure—think Bonnie and Clyde
as it might have been written by Tom Robbins—comes to a somewhat disappointingly tidy conclusion, the ride is more than worth the price of entry.
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