Joe Eszterhas’ latest book is another shocker, said David Yonke in The Toledo Blade. The Hungarian-born wild man, whose screenplays for Basic Instinct and Showgirls all but defined 1990s pulp culture, has found God and transformed his life. In Crossbearer, Eszterhas recounts the moment when everything changed. Recovering from cancer surgery in 2001, he was walking alone in his suburban Ohio neighborhood on a hot day. Already trembling as he fought cravings for booze and cigarettes, Eszterhas started gasping for air when mosquitoes swarmed the tracheotomy tube in his throat. Dropping to the curb, he was sobbing when a silent prayer formed in his mind: “Please God, help me.” A deep sense of peace overcame him.
Eszterhas admits that God wasn’t much help with the new book, said Dick Donahue in Publishers Weekly. Faith and the consolation of weekly Catholic Mass couldn’t change the fact that he’d used nicotine and alcohol as writing aids since his teens. For a couple of years, he says, he struggled to write. “I was lucid and straight and simply couldn’t do it.” A promise he claims to have made to God forced him to finish the memoir. Now that it’s done, Eszterhas has decided never again to write about the “dark” subjects that fascinated him before. “I see a brighter side of people than I did before,” he says. “I’d like to bring that out in my writing.”