As the '90s spiral towards the new century, a Manhattan nightlife ingenue and her gritty East Village dive-bar crowd fight long odds to win at love, friendship, and ambition.
Enter the fairy-tale of pre-dawn Fifth Avenue, as '90s nightlife ingenue Lilly Lejeune strolls past Tiffany's. Her plan is to live her own best version of the iconic Manhattan film Breakfast at Tiffany's. The actress Audrey Hepburn is Lilly's north star. See Lilly on Avenue A as you muscle up to the packed bar to order a shot of tequila in the smoke-laced neon shadows. Lilly glides from velvet-roped clubs to packed, sweaty dives, comforted by her fashion choices, her dirty martinis, the story of her glamorous rebellion, and the arrangements she has with men to support her independence. But despite Lilly's nostalgia, this is the '90s, and the grungy, heroin-chic, pre-gentrified NYC isn't filmed in 1961's Eastman color-film stock. In this world, the extras are cloaked in hoodies as pagers beep and votive candles flicker. This is a decade when famous models search out private spots to shoot pool, cigarettes clenched in their teeth as the jukebox clicks to Alice in Chains' Man in the Box. Time for one more round? Hell, yeah! Because no one leaves the East Village until night fades into the searing flames of day. Much like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Lilly, her new writer friend upstairs, George Nichols, and her dive-bar locals have a choice: hide in the neon or wake up and face the day. Join them on the streets of Manhattan and see how they face the journey of this Sweet Ride.
Bruce Craven is a writer, public speaker, and educator. He teaches leadership at Columbia Business School, including his popular management elective "Leadership through Fiction." His nonfiction book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones was published by MacMillan in 2019. The book was also published in paperback in the United Kingdom and has been translated into Serbian, Turkish, and Russian. His poetry collection Buena Suerte in Red Glitter was published by Red Dirt Press in 2019. He also cowrote the feature film Fast Sofa (Lion's Gate Films), starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey, and Crispin Glover. The film was adapted from his novel Fast Sofa (William-Morrow), which was translated into German and Japanese. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.
"Bruce Craven's Sweet Ride intrigues and entertains from page one, beginning as a film noir meets rom-com homage to '90s era New York City, segueing to a dark rock 'n' roll search for redemption and a business leader's hard look at love; the novel hits the avenues, bars, and iconic Manhattan locations in an exploration of friendship, passion, and resilience. Craven deftly pulls the three storylines together in an ending that can only be described as a true leap of faith." — K. A. Wozencraft, author of Neglect
"Sweet Ride shows Craven at his best, which is no small thing. I marveled at the pace, the voice, the structure, and, of course, the great story. Add it all up and you've got exactly what this is: a must-read." — Rob Roberge, author of Liar: A Memoir, guitarist and singer, the Urinals
"Sweet Ride burns with youthful irreverence, risk, and the tragic beauty in self-destructive acts. Bruce Craven's prose is alert to the moment, in a hypnotic chase alongside his characters whose lives like 'broken shards spin flashing sun.' A seductive adventure, which begins with the flesh, a ruthless surrender to impulse, the promise of love, and which ends—in free fall. The novel effortlessly synchronizes the class '60s glamor of Breakfast at Tiffany's, the grit and adrenaline rush of Uncut Gems, and the sensuality of Henry Miller's Black Spring. Bruce Craven is a master story- teller and Sweet Ride transcends its own obsession with the moment-by-moment, arriving at the timeless." — Abbigail N. Rosewood, author of If I Had Two Lives
"The fantasy of past glamour is one woman's solution to survival in the sharky, intoxicated waters of '90s New York City. Sweet Ride's characters elbow past the sedated, the coked up, the spiritually bankrupt, searching for their path forward on malefic streets as dysfunctional and medicated as a dream." — Chris D., singer/songwriter of the Flesh Eaters and author of No Evil Star