by E.B. Hauk
1986–OSU assistant coach Johnny Hazard is a man who has everything: the woman of his dreams, a recently remodeled Dutch Colonial home, and a budding Benadryl habit. But when his wife, Janet, leaves him to “find herself,” Johnny’s Benadryl abuse grows out of control, and his nightmares follow him into the daylight. Reality melts, and he’s introduced to the world behind the world, meeting a cast of wayward characters who know what he knows, and offer a safe harbor from the storm of his life. But Johnny craves terror, and his downward spiral tightens as he examines a growing sickness within society and himself.
The Perilous Awakening of Johnny Hazard is a deconstruction of the every man dedicated to the horrors of human existence, isolation, self-loathing, and everything we keep hidden. The supernatural terrors that haunt his step mirror his internal struggles. Watch a human dumpster fire in action.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author and it was such a fun read that will make you laugh and make you think. The dramatic exploration of the human psyche in “The Perilous Awakening of Johnny Hazard” by E.B. Hauk is captivating. Its core is a skillfully created fusion of psychological horror and dark comedy with a splash of moving drama that holds your attention from beginning to conclusion. The story of Johnny Hazard, an assistant coach at OSU, is told against the backdrop of the 1980s and follows his dramatic path from having it all to gradually losing his sense of reality.
The story deftly uses Johnny’s escalating Benadryl dependency as a mirror to represent the larger societal problems and internal agony that plague so many people. As Johnny’s world implodes around him, the distinction between the real and the imagined becomes hazy. Inspiring and eerie, the author’s portrayal of the “world behind the world” serves as a playground for a cast of unique, misguided individuals who both lead and mislead Johnny.
What jumps out is Hauk’s talent for capturing the unedited, unfiltered feelings of a guy on the verge of losing everything, deftly fusing terrifying and darkly humorous moments. It is an eerie reflection on loneliness, masks, and the creatures that live inside each of us.
Reading this is akin to watching a gripping tragedy unfold, where one can’t help but be both horrified and mesmerized by the “human dumpster fire” that is Johnny Hazard. A must-read for those who appreciate a tale that’s as thought-provoking as it is terrifying.
Live on September 9th on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions, and on Kindle Unlimited (KU).
E.B. Hauk is a hyper-intelligent raccoon who learned English through a thrown-out collection of tabloid magazines. They planned to write a scintillating tell-all on the lives humans bury in their garbage but wrote some novels instead. After rounding up some other raccoons for a weekly game night, they started fiddling with their own tabletop RPG and took up dice making, too, because they didn’t have enough to do.