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Beat the Reaper

by

Beat the Reaper Cover

ISBN13: 9780316032216
ISBN10: 0316032212
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"Beat the Reaper is a hypochondriac's nightmare but a reader's dream. Josh Bazell concocted this comic thriller while working as a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and if anything he describes here is true, we should all become Christian Scientists. After I gulped down the doctor's story, my pulse was racing so fast I didn't know whether to recommend his outrageous first novel or sue for malpractice." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan's worst hospital, with a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he'd prefer to keep hidden. Whether it's a blocked circumflex artery or a plan to land a massive malpractice suit, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

Pietro Bearclaw Brnwna is a hitman for the mob, with a genius for violence, a well-earned fear of sharks, and an overly close relationship with the Federal Witness Relocation Program. More likely to leave a trail of dead gangsters than a molecule of evidence, he's the last person you want to see in your hospital room.

Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is Dr. Brown's new patient, with three months to live and a very strange idea: that Peter Brown and Pietro Brnwa might — just might — be the same person ...

Now, with the mob, the government, and death itself descending on the hospital, Peter has to buy time and do whatever it takes to keep his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption alive. To get through the next eight hours-and somehow beat the reaper.

Spattered in adrenaline-fueled action and bone-saw-sharp dialogue, Beat the Reaper is a debut thriller so utterly original you won't be able to guess what happens next, and so shockingly entertaining you won't be able to put it down.

Review:

"Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced 'Browna') after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietro's performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazell's artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Beat the Reaper" is a hypochondriac's nightmare but a reader's dream. Josh Bazell concocted this comic thriller while working as a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and if anything he describes here is true, we should all become Christian Scientists. After I gulped down the doctor's story, my pulse was racing so fast I didn't know whether to recommend his outrageous... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A wildly funny mashup between genres that makes ER and St. Elsewhere look tame." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Who would have thought that extreme violence liberally sprinkled with obscenities could be both funny and tender?...A remarkably accomplished debut." Booklist

Review:

"A propulsive, savvy read featuring characters both well shaded and shady....You can prescribe this to fans of Carl Hiaasen and quirky abrasive fiction..." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Bazell...more than earned my indulgence as a reader. If there's a better recommendation for a story than that, I don't know what it is." Matt Ruff, New York Times

Review:

"Fast, fun, furious, fierce...or better yet, stop reading the accolades for Beat the Reaper, open up to page one, and start reading. See you at the cash register." Harlan Coben

Review:

"Beat the Reaper is a blast. Josh Bazell blew me away with this story that is as relentless as a bullet." Michael Connelly

Synopsis:

Making a hit-man-turned-medical-intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell does just that in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel.

Synopsis:

Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient — and from there Peter's day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder.

Because that patient knows Peter from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he's a doctor now is thanks to the Witness Protection Program — and even they can't protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he's got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time...and beat the reaper.

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About the Author

Josh Bazell has a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia University. He is currently a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and is working on his second novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Alfred Ritter, January 22, 2010 (view all comments by Alfred Ritter)
Beat the Reaper is written by Josh Bazell, one of those hyper-capable people that might irritate you if they didn't do things so well. While he was in medical school, he came up with an idea for a comic novel about a doctor who is also an anti-healer, a hitman. I guess it helps that he was an English major in college.

Anyway, the book is great fun. We see former hitman Pietro Brnwa, now Dr Peter Brown in the witness protection program, go through his day as an intern in a run down Manhattan hospital. His days are rough enough, but get worse when one of his former colleagues from the Life surfaces and lets his enemies know where he is. Now he has to dodge assassination while saving lives in the hospital.

The book alternates between Peter's life in the hospital and Pietro's life as a hitman. At first, I thought we had some of the dread Killer with a Heart of Gold* here, and to be honest, it is still hard to believe that someone who takes money for murder is going to turn out to be a peachy guy who risks his life to prevent an unnecessary amputation. I accepted it here, because the writing is flashy and hilarious and because there is a life changing event for Pietro that arises from his life of crime.

There is so much to enjoy here, including all sorts of little nuggets about medicine. At the end Bazell puts in a disclaimer that the whole book is fiction, but I like to think there are some fun facts to be enjoyed.

*An example of a book that is killed by the Killer with a Heart of Gold is the Electric Church. Here again we have a supposedly hardened killer, who keeps claiming life is too hard to go easy on people, but who constantly finds reasons to do the ethical thing. Sorry, don't buy it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Larry Robinson, January 19, 2010 (view all comments by Larry Robinson)
I'd read great reviews of Beat The Reaper, but kept putting it off. I don't know why I did. If you like your mysteries/thrillers hardboiled, this is the book for you. The chapters alternate between present and past of Pietro Brwna's life. We start out wondering how a doctor (Pietro) was so easily able to beat a would-be mugger to a pulp. It isn't long before we learn that he used to be a Mafia thug. As we follow what has to be one of the worst days in anyone's life, we also learn how Pietro became who he is today. A funny, exciting debut. One of the best "mysteries" I've read in some time.
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View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316032216
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Bazell, Josh
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Medical
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Espionage/Intrigue
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Subject:
Doctors; Hitmen; Mobsters; Revenge; New identity; New beginnings; Witness Protection Program; Extortion; Threats; Patients; Organized crime
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090914
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.68 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General

Beat the Reaper Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316032216 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced 'Browna') after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietro's performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazell's artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Beat the Reaper is a hypochondriac's nightmare but a reader's dream. Josh Bazell concocted this comic thriller while working as a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and if anything he describes here is true, we should all become Christian Scientists. After I gulped down the doctor's story, my pulse was racing so fast I didn't know whether to recommend his outrageous first novel or sue for malpractice." (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Review" by , "A wildly funny mashup between genres that makes ER and St. Elsewhere look tame."
"Review" by , "Who would have thought that extreme violence liberally sprinkled with obscenities could be both funny and tender?...A remarkably accomplished debut."
"Review" by , "A propulsive, savvy read featuring characters both well shaded and shady....You can prescribe this to fans of Carl Hiaasen and quirky abrasive fiction..."
"Review" by , "Bazell...more than earned my indulgence as a reader. If there's a better recommendation for a story than that, I don't know what it is."
"Review" by , "Fast, fun, furious, fierce...or better yet, stop reading the accolades for Beat the Reaper, open up to page one, and start reading. See you at the cash register."
"Review" by , "Beat the Reaper is a blast. Josh Bazell blew me away with this story that is as relentless as a bullet."
"Synopsis" by , Making a hit-man-turned-medical-intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell does just that in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel.
"Synopsis" by , Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient — and from there Peter's day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder.

Because that patient knows Peter from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he's a doctor now is thanks to the Witness Protection Program — and even they can't protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he's got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time...and beat the reaper.

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