Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson



Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$2.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse ADV- THRILLERS

More copies of this ISBN

Beat the Reaper

by

Beat the Reaper Cover

ISBN13: 9780316032223
ISBN10: 0316032220
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $2.50!

 

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:

"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:

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

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

Review:

"Beat the Reaper is terrific — fresh, original, funny, and a dynamite read. Dr. Peter Brown — aka Pietro Brnwa, aka 'the Bearclaw' — is my new favorite character." Robert Crais

Review:

"Beat the Reaper is way cool and ice-cold. A ferocious read." Don Winslow

Review:

"Be warned: One of the final scenes reaches new heights for gory." USA Today

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

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.

Synopsis:

In this wild and hilarious debut thriller, Peter Brown is a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with a past, a secret, and a gun — and he has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper.

Synopsis:

An aging but formidable strip club owner, Claudiu "Manco" Kapak, is robbed as he places his cash receipts in a banks night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his henchmen out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is too new to Los Angeles to realize hes stolen from a gangster. Their search leads to Joe Carver, an innocent who evades capture and sets out to make Kapak wish hed chosen someone else. Meanwhile, the real culprit, Jefferson Davis Falkins, and his girlfriend Carrie seem to believe theyve found a whole new profession: robbing Manco Kapak.

Lieutenant Nick Slosser, the detective in charge of the puzzling and increasingly violent case, has his own troubles, including worries about how hes going to afford to send the oldest child of each of his two bigamous marriages to college without making their mothers suspicious. As this odd series of difficulties explodes into a triple killing, Carver finds himself in the middle of a gang war over Kapaks empire, while Falkins and Carrie journey into territory more strange and violent than either had imagined.

Video

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

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Sam Roodvoets, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Sam Roodvoets)
Re-read this book last week and it really stands up well. Funny, smart, intense. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Michelle Burnett, August 24, 2009 (view all comments by Michelle Burnett)
This first time novel by Josh Bazell has me eagerly awaiting his follow up. Beat the Reaper kept me thoroughly engaged in the characters from the opening page clear through to the end. The story is fast paced and jumps from past to present often but it was not at all difficult to keep up with the story. The flashbacks do an excellent job of explaining the protagonist’s current circumstances. Although he was a ruthless killer in his past I found myself rooting for Peter “Bearclaw” Brown to survive when his past comes back with a vengeance.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
lesismore9o9, May 16, 2009 (view all comments by lesismore9o9)
When you look at mainstream television and wade past the slew of reality shows and generic comedies, scripted drama tends to be dominated by two genres. First is the criminal world, represented by epic series like “The Sopranos” or “Law and Order”-style procedurals; and second is the medical field, headed by the “ER” juggernaut and a slew of comedic dramas such as “House” or “Grey's Anatomy.” Both series have their own distinct traits but also share common threads: overly tense environments, a heavy dose of gallows humor and a professional lingo that takes a few episodes to understand.

Despite the similarities between and popularity of both genres, the two rarely come together – which is a mistake, if Josh Bazell's first novel “Beat the Reaper” is any indication. A mix of “ER” and “A History of Violence,” casting a hitman in the role of a downtrodden medical resident, “Beat the Reaper” is a book with a distinctive voice, an educated grasp of its subject matter and a talent for delivering some truly shocking scenes.

The hitman in question is Pietro “Bearclaw” Brnwa, alias “Peter Brown” – a contract killer for a New York crime family who has been placed in witness protection and now works agonizingly brutal graveyard shifts at Manhattan Catholic. At the start of one of these shifts, he finds out a terminal cancer patient not only recognizes him, but has contacted a friend to put the word out in the event of his death. With the patient about to go under the knife, Brnwa has to feverishly find a way to keep him alive – while at the same time dealing with every other demand an understaffed hospital encompasses.

Obviously there's a big difference between the Hippocratic oath and murder for hire, but Bazell does a surprisingly solid job of melding the two. The story, told in first-person present tense, shows how Brnwa's mind processes the situation from a medical standpoint, such as when he downs mugger with brutal efficiency and goes through the anatomy of breaking the elbow. It's a wry, cynical voice reminiscent of Edward Norton's narration in “Fight Club,” and it drives the story on through his narration and a variety of wry footnotes rattling off medical facts and legalese.

Brnwa makes for an interesting character, but it's the hospital he operates in that commands your attention. Bazell, who holds both an MD and an English literature degree, has stocked the book full of details that could only be known by someone operating in the healthcare trenches. Readers will learn how residents function during obscenely long shifts (stimulants procured from drug reps, Milk of Magnesia poured over cold cereal), see just how sexist an oncologist can be in the operating room and how a doctor can tell how old you are at first glance. All of these asides are offered in the same cynical and resigned tone, resembling the narration for “Scrubs” as read by Mel Gibson.

The medical terminology is so well mastered that the mob chapters regularly come up short. There's a fair share of gratuitous violence and commentary on the state of America's legal system, but many of the characters depicted lack the realism and personality of the hospital residents. A few scenes are simply over-the-top even in the book's context and there are also one or two unnecessary plot twists – one in particular involving the background of Pietro's grandparents – that feel like Bazell is reaching for impact.

And reaching isn't something he needs to, as the book is ripe with truly disturbing scenes. Beyond the burnout and apathy of the general hospital staff, Manhattan Catholic is rife with events that require a strong constitution to even witness. Syringes of unidentifiable contents, legs that swell up with blood for unknown reasons and clearly unsanitary surgical equipment all populate the area, and give Brnwa more immediate concerns than mafia shooters. The last few chapters are particularly macabre, with a trapped Brnwa once again falling back on medical school to create the most wincingly painful improvised weapon in literature.

While the book is a bit too eager to set up a sequel – the epilogue chapter is almost ham-handed in presenting plot threads – the majority of the volume is so well done that its continuation is encouraged. “Beat the Reaper” is entertaining and fast-paced, a thinking man's suspense novel with enough of the real world in it to make readers even more uncomfortable about their next visit to the hospital.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316032223
Author:
Bazell, Josh
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Author:
Perry, Thomas
Subject:
Organized crime
Subject:
Physicians
Subject:
General
Subject:
Medical
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Assassins
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
January 2009
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in

Other books you might like

  1. Lush Life: A Novel Used Trade Paper $4.50
  2. Ravens Used Trade Paper $2.50
  3. The Brass Verdict
    Used Hardcover $2.75
  4. The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs... Used Trade Paper $10.50
  5. Evil at Heart Used Book Club Hardcover $5.95
  6. The Shotgun Rule: A Novel Used Trade Paper $9.95

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers

Beat the Reaper Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 360 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316032223 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 , "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 , "Who would have thought that extreme violence liberally sprinkled with obscenities could be both funny and tender?...A remarkably accomplished debut."
"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."
"Review" by , "Beat the Reaper is terrific — fresh, original, funny, and a dynamite read. Dr. Peter Brown — aka Pietro Brnwa, aka 'the Bearclaw' — is my new favorite character."
"Review" by , "Beat the Reaper is way cool and ice-cold. A ferocious read."
"Review" by , "Be warned: One of the final scenes reaches new heights for gory."
"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."
"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.

"Synopsis" by , In this wild and hilarious debut thriller, Peter Brown is a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with a past, a secret, and a gun — and he has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper.
"Synopsis" by ,
An aging but formidable strip club owner, Claudiu "Manco" Kapak, is robbed as he places his cash receipts in a banks night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his henchmen out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is too new to Los Angeles to realize hes stolen from a gangster. Their search leads to Joe Carver, an innocent who evades capture and sets out to make Kapak wish hed chosen someone else. Meanwhile, the real culprit, Jefferson Davis Falkins, and his girlfriend Carrie seem to believe theyve found a whole new profession: robbing Manco Kapak.

Lieutenant Nick Slosser, the detective in charge of the puzzling and increasingly violent case, has his own troubles, including worries about how hes going to afford to send the oldest child of each of his two bigamous marriages to college without making their mothers suspicious. As this odd series of difficulties explodes into a triple killing, Carver finds himself in the middle of a gang war over Kapaks empire, while Falkins and Carrie journey into territory more strange and violent than either had imagined.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.