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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Peter Brown, former mob hitman, now an emergency room doctor thanks to the Witness Protection Program is having a bad day. Mugged on his way to work, charts and patients stacked up, and now a patient recognizes him as a former hitman and threatens to disclose his identity and location to the mob. And its not even lunch time yet.

Beat the Reaper is filled with such interesting characters that the reader has to occasionally stop and wonder exactly how the author put himself through school. After all, aren't authors supposed to write what they know? And if Bazell actually knows these people, well, I'm just sayin', one wonders!

Beat the Reaper is Josh Bazell's debut novel. Bazell is a medical resident who has both a MD from Columbia and BA in writing from Brown. He also has a wicked sense of humor. As you read this novel, you want to believe its all fiction, that the questionable treatments, cheap hookups, illicit drug use, and even the disregard for basic hygiene within the hospital setting can't really be true. But Bazell has the uncanny ability to make us go..."ewwww" while in our gut, we sort of understand that he's probably writing about what he's actually seen. It kind of makes you want to head to your local witchdoctor instead of the local ER!

I'm not usually bothered by graphic descriptions, but I'll admit that the end was almost too much for me. Graphic, yep. Gory, double yep. But that wasn't really my problem with it. My problem was that I just didn't buy it as a viable option to the character. The situation was well described, the reasons for the protagonists decision explained thoroughly, and yet, I just couldn't believe it could actually happen. But it was most certainly an unexpected solution to the problem, you've got to give the author that! He is darn clever and creative! But still...uh....ewwwww.........

Beat the Reaper is funny and graphic, witty and gory. Probably not a book for reader who dislikes graphic bloody description,but I liked it nonetheless, and look forward to Bazell's second book.

My rating:


Anonymous said...

The ending was extraordinary, but I've heard of people amputating their own limbs in order to survive, so I was able to go with it. I really liked this book.