Gregory Kirschling
September 03, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sweet and Vicious

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Schickler
publisher
Dial Press
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

”I’m Grace McGlone. This is Henry Dante. We’re trying for heaven.” So announces the heroine of Schickler’s totally cracked, lushly written, but (as its title suggests) zanily uneven first novel. Grace is a small-town Wisconsin girl, Henry a reformed heavy carrying a suitcase full of stolen million-dollar diamonds. ”Trying for heaven” means driving around the country after meeting at a car wash, giving the loot away as unforgiving gangsters give chase. Schickler ambitiously follows his fantastic 2001 story collection Kissing in Manhattan with a precious fairy-tale version of a bloody pulp novel. At times the book careers like a car without the brakes, but Schickler spins sentences in a way that keeps you in your seat.

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