Synopses & Reviews
Reality TV hunk and People
magazine's "sexiest man alive", Sepp Gregory goes on a book tour to promote his debut novel, a thinly veiled autobiography. Not that Sepp has actually read the book, he doesn't have to, he lived it! The book becomes a sensation, a New York Times
bestseller, and, surprisingly, it even gets rave reviews from serious critics. Aside from Harriet Post, that is.
One of the blogosphere's most respected critics, Harriet hears the host of her favorite, high-brow, radio show gush about Sepp's abdominal muscles on-air and fears the end of civilization is upon us. She takes matters into her own hands and sets off to reveal the truth behind the bestseller and to show Sepp as the buff fraud he really is. But then Harriet reads Totally Reality, Sepp's novel, and it's totally great. Now she needs to find Sepp's ghostwriter and find out why he's wasting his talent.
She finds him, appropriately enough, at the Playboy Mansion, where he's supposed to be interviewing Sepp's former television love Roxy Sandoval for his next, highly lucrative, project. Reality and reality” collide, and a tragic accident sends Sepp and Harriet off on a sex-fueled roadtrip through the southwest. The mind meets the body, and both will be changed forever. Raw: A Love Story is Mark Haskell Smith at his best, dangerously sexy and wickedly funny.
"A goofy streak leavens Smith's fifth novel, an overly broad satire that takes potshots at reality TV, the Internet, and the publishing industry. Former beach volleyball player Sepp Gregory, who became a household name by winning the steamy hidden-camera show Sex Crib, is famous for his abs and his romance with fellow contestant Roxy Sandoval. Now his adoring public swarms to meet him on the book tour for his novel, Totally Reality, while his ghostwriter, Curtis Berman, sulks in hipster obscurity in Brooklyn. The novel's critical and commercial success enrages Curtis as well as blogger Harriet Post, who decides to confront Sepp on his tour and expose him as a literary fraud. But Sepp has bigger problems: his once-legendary libido still hasn't recovered from his breakup with Roxy, and now she plans to write her own tell-all about their split. When the exes collide at the Playboy Club with Harriet and Curtis in tow, Sepp realizes he has to break free. Smith overplays his hand early with characters drawn to extremes (one is described as having an 'Easy Bake Oven head') and later forced to meet in the vague middle, but he packs his paragraphs with cleverness, mapping out a soapy, exciting plot. When Sepp goes off course, his unpredictable path gets seamy but leaves a glimmer of hope for a self-obsessed society at least for one willing to laugh at itself. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gleefully absurd....[Smith] turns what could have been just an amusing book into an incisive, caustic and hilarious one....He's able to pull it off because his prose is so hard-boiled and self-assured he comes across as the slightly more well-adjusted offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and James Ellroy....A hilarious and occasionally an unexpectedly sweet illustration of why we write and read in the first place.” Los Angeles Times
Audacious satire.” Vanity Fair
Outrageous...consistently surprising, fast-paced and nearly always funny, Raw is more than just a lively romp. Smith saves his best satire for a topic he knows all too well: the publishing industry. In Raw...Smith skewers it with as much gleeful zeal as he attacks his much easier targets." Daily Beast
No contemporary pop culture touchstone or literary idol emerges from the book unscathed by Smith's playful scrutiny.” Los Angeles Magazine
Readers familiar with Mark Haskell Smith's novels know all about the sharp, oddball sense of humor that permeates Raw. For those who don't, think somewhere along the lines of Carl Hiaasen social commentary combined with outrageous laughs....[A] brash and brainy slice of satire that skewers our base and high-minded interests in one fell swoop....Hilarious.” Shelf Awareness
The four strangers brought together in Raw are at times so vivid that you want to meet them....[A] fast (and fun) story.” Los Angeles Review of Books
Amusing and intermittently outright funny....[Smith's] caricatures land squarely on the mark.” Boston Globe
Thoroughly enjoyable....By turns racy and profound.” Booklist
"LA writer Smith is back with another frothy satire." Kirkus Reviews
Sepp Gregory, a reality-TV hunk and one of People
magazine's "sexiest men alive," is on tour to promote his debut novel. Not that Sepp's actually read the book — he doesn't have to, he lived it! And everyone just wants him to take his shirt off.
The book has hit the bestseller list and is even getting rave reviews from serious critics. Aside from Harriet Post, that is. One of the blogosphere's most respected literary minds, Harriet fears that the novel's reception means the end of civilization is upon us. Determined to pen an expose on the publishing industry, Harriet hijacks the book tour and uncovers the ghostwriter. Reality and "reality" collide, and a tragic accident sends Sepp and Harriet off on a sex-fueled roadtrip through the southwest. Raw: A Love Story is Mark Haskell Smith at his raucous best, dangerously sexy and wickedly funny.
About the Author
Mark Haskell Smith is the author of five novels, Moist, Delicious, Salty, Baked, and Raw, and the non-fiction Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Vulture, National Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Smith is an award-winning screenwriter and assistant professor in the MFA program for Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Graduate Center. He lives in Los Angeles. He likes Mexican food.