Crashin’ the Real
by Deb Hoag

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When gonzo columnist Eve Petra is fired by her magazine’s new owner, she spends a couple of days (okay, a week or so) wallowing in self-pity and Jack Daniels. To her great dismay, no one wants to hire a middle-aged female version of Hunter Thompson. The market has changed. People have changed. The only thing that hasn’t changed is Eve.

Lying on her bed wondering what the hell has happened to her life, it comes to her. Who has weathered every whim of the fickle public for nearly five decades? Who has shown the ability to rise from the ashes of every disaster? Who is looking down at her from a poster taped to her bedroom ceiling?

Rock god Steven Tyler.

Armed with a Glock and a bottle of Jack, accompanied by her adventurous Grandma Rose, Eve starts on a cross-country trip to find her hero, and to ask him to explain the meaning of life to her. Along the way, she escapes murderous circus performers, becomes a Girl Scout cookie and meets a Wild Man in a sharkskin suit–just a few of the adventures that open Eve’s eyes and change her perspective on life.


Acclaim for this Novel

‘ . . . an exhilarating ride, a kind of CANDIDE in reverse, as the protagonist Eve, as unpredictable as Boadicea on a bad hair-AND-Roman day, learns to see through her false shell, which far from protecting her has imprisoned and impoverished her. Every scene (with not a single wasted word daring to show itself) packs a witty punch . . . A really remarkable first novel, which I can fully recommend to the cool and the uncool alike.’ —STEVE REDWOOD (Author of Fisher of Devils)

‘Crashing the Real is about a brilliant, barely-functional Gonzo journalist for whom the party has just ended. The book opens as she strolls into the office of the alternative paper where she works, gets into another fight with the receptionist, and sets said woman’s desk on fire, unaware that the paper has just been purchased by the receptionist’s corporatist uncle. Forced, completely unprepared, into a 21st Century economy, the protagonist and her grandmother cross the country in a `55 Corvette convertible to receive alms, advice, and emissions from Steven Tyler. Although the threat of the post-counterculture economy looms in Crashing the Real, this is primarily an optimistic book of one rather mercurial woman’s self-discovery. Protagonist Eve Petra races maniacally through hilarious road-trip adventures and encounters, interspersed with rock-’n'roll, sex-and-drug-drenched flashbacks on her way to a Los Angeles of a remarkably unrealistic fantasy. Various bits of Americana, self-aware and remarkably twisted, scatter themselves over her path with seeming randomness, sending her through a journey that is often exhilarating and terrifying, and consistently confusing. The bizarre circumstances surrounding Eve’s erratic behavior give us page after page of mystified laughter.’
—JONATHAN PENTON (Unlikely Stories)

‘Dog Horn Publishing have long been known, feared, loved, envied, reviled and propitiated for Polluto, their Spectrum Fantastic Arts Award-winning magazine of cultural subversion. And, among the wildest Polluto authors has been Deb Hoag, the former mental health worker among the Apaches. She has jolted the pages of Polluto with such gems as “Werewolf of Sappho” and “Sex in the Time of VHS.” A lot of folks have been biting their nails in anticipation of Deb Hoag’s new novel. Well, stand back, because here it is! It’s the story of a magazine columnist who, in a world of starched yuppies and ferns, cherishes the forlorn hope of being the female Hunter Thompson. With “visions of hash oil dancing in her head,” she grabs her grandma and goes in search of a certain “juicy monkey sex god in a striped spandex jumpsuit.” Says Granny (the Dean Moriarty of this road trip): “Eve’s agenda is of a metaphysical nature, but I just want to bang him.” Crashin’ the Real is guaranteed to cause an Anglosphere-wide epidemic of risible muscle seizures. Funniest and loveliest book in years!’
—TOM BRADLEY, author of LEMUR and VITAL FLUID

‘Great stuff! Wasn’t completely sure I’d like it when I read the blurb partly because I’d never heard of Hunter Thompson, gonzo, Steven Tyler, Glock, or Girl Scout cookie. And that’s just the back cover! (Come on, the world needs a few old farts for the sake of balance!) But in fact an exhilarating ride, a kind of CANDIDE in reverse, as the protagonist Eve, as unpredictable as Boadicea on a bad hair-AND-Roman day, learns to see through her false shell, which far from protecting her has imprisoned and impoverished her. Every scene (with not a single wasted word daring to show itself) packs a witty punch. Eve remains superbly consistent, there’s a fascinating and sometimes quite moving relationship with the gay Max (as well as with the sexually super-confident Blue, her former boss), memorable extras (in addition to a randy grandmother who wants her Heaven this side of the Great Divide) including a Zombie King who hypnotizes people into swallowing swords, a plump Samoan priest reminding me a bit of Don Camillo’s relaxed and healthy attitude to orthodoxy, or a rainbow couple whose optimism at first almost makes you squirm, and yet has its own unanswerable logic. The book is much more than wildly wicked hit-the-road-in-America episodes, threaded as it is with serious reflections upon life, and the power (too often destructive) of our self-image (nicely symbolized in the image of a pearl where a whole existence is wound round and shaped by that first single grain of sand), and tons of great one-liners that often go beyond mere quips. A really remarkable first novel, which I can fully recommend to the cool and the uncool alike.’
— STEVE REDWOOD (Author of Fisher of Devils)

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Filed in Books on April 1, 2012