A skeptical magician's son drives across country and finds love and musical success, thanks to an intervening angel: a debut novel by the author of the nonfiction The Geography of Nowhere (1994, not reviewed). Guitarist Joe Findlay is in headlong flight from a loveless marriage when he finds a scruffy young woman and her baby asleep in his van. Violet Tansy, who's penniless and idiotically (adorably?) naive, insists on a ride to San Diego (she wants to surprise the baby's father), and so, despite the lure of a big audition in New York, Joe decides to drive her west. Along the way, they stop at her grandfather's to pick up a guitar; Joe strums a song he wrote; and the old man goes nuts: Years back, a winged circus freak known as Bird Boy wrote that very same song before flying off into the night. Next, Joe hears his song on the radio: Now it's called ``Open Tuning,'' it's a huge hit, and it's supposedly written by someone named Zak Bendzi. Later, at a pagan convention, Joe deduces that his wife stole and marketed ``Open Tuning,'' and tells his story to a journalist. Then Joe receives an urgent summons home: The authorship controversy has stirred up media interest, but Zak, a computer nerd who pepped up Joe's tape on his Mac, is too shy for the talk-show circuit. Joe's wife and dad beg: Will he please pass himself off as Zak for a cut of the song's profits? Joe agrees, then it's off to reunite Violet and her man. It takes a flaming angel straddling the interstate for Joe to realize that maybe he'd better keep Violet. Meanwhle, a cuddly walk-on casta French-fry- loving Tibetan monk, a good ol' boy pagan, and so onadd unconvincing flavor. Neither satiric of nor sympathetic to the spiritual searchers it portrays, Eberle's would-be New Age Baedeker surveys cartoony scenery with a deadpan stare.