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HEAVEN IN HIGH GEAR by Joan Brady

HEAVEN IN HIGH GEAR

By Joan Brady

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-671-00772-6
Publisher: Pocket

 It's no great compliment to call Brady's sequel a two-character knockoff of The Bridges of Madison County, as was said here of her debut, God on a Harley (1995). In that earlier work, Christine Moore, generally dissatisfied with her life as a traveling nurse and feeling dead-ended, got straightened out by a motorcycle hunk who happened to be God Himself. Now Joe (as He calls Himself) is dealing new cards to hard-case 29-year-old stripper Heather Hurley. Proud of her body, Heather enjoys supporting her Brentwood condo and BMW with cash from L.A.'s Pink Pussycat, where she shows off a body she keeps in trim shape with a personal trainer. If she shows anything but stomach muscles, it's never mentioned, since this is a novel that can be read by solemnly straitlaced Minnesota PTA members, and if filmed does not need even a PG rating. One night Joe appears at the Pink Pussycat and helps Heather fight off a panic attack without her usual sedative, and the two fall into a cautionary conversation that goes on until book's end. The only slight wisp of suspense has to do with whether Heather will have a sexual thought about Joe-- and she doesn't, even when they go swimming together. Their dialogue, meanwhile, could hardly be more waterlogged. When Joe reveals at the beach that he has a prosthetic leg, Heather declares: ``I desperately wanted to make sure I understood everything he was teaching me. `So how do you deal with the loss of your leg?' I urged him. `Can any lesson really be worth that price?' '' At end, Heather learns seven commandments that lead to spiritual health in her new line of work as a composer of greeting-cards who doubles as a torch-singing lounge act. Lounge act? She goes from selling sex to shilling for booze? One's jaw drops. Smarmalade.