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Hardcover Beat the Reaper Book

ISBN: 0316032220

ISBN13: 9780316032223

Beat the Reaper

(Book #1 in the Peter Brown Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (ex-library)

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Book Overview

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 has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Laugh Filled, Attention Getting Thriller

Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan Catholic, what some would call the city's worst hospital. He's cynical, critical, comical and one tough guy. He's big, not so good looking (in his own words he looks like an Easter Island Sculpture of a longshoreman) and he used to be a mafia hit man. He went into witness protection, got a new identity and that explains why he's a half dozen years older than most of his contemporaries. His hours are long, but drugs help, so does attitude. One day he has to tell someone about his cancer and it turns out to be Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, someone from his pre witness protection days. At first LoBrutto thinks Doc Brown has come to kill him, because the good doctor has an AKA as well, he's AKA Pietro Brnwa and he is also known as "Bearclaw." It doesn't take long for LoBrutto to start the squeeze on Peter. Either Peter saves him or he turns him over to the mob. As long as LoBrutto lives, Peter is safe. And thus begins the zaniest thriller I've had under my eyes in just about as long as I can remember. This book has sex in all the wrong (and the right) places, bodies galore, blood too. Tough guy talk and doctor talk abound. Wit is here in all it's glory. If you don't laugh yourself to death reading this book you'll at least laugh yourself silly. You'll be wound up like a spinning toy top too and sadly or gladly, depending on your point of view, you'll still be dizzy with the spinning long after you've finished this story.

Descriptive, amusing book

I wasn't dissapointed. He left nothing out for the development of the plot. The ending is exceptional. All I can say is that it incorporates a weird medical fact from earlier in the story. And, I agree with the earlier review that this book is something you won't want to put down. I read this because it was in First Person Narrative and I expected similarities between "Fight Club" or "Elling". Bazell's characters are top notch and believable. I laughed several times. I recommend this to someone who doesn't mind reading something with obscenities thrown throughout the book. I'm looking forward to Dr. Bazell's next novel.

An original, very funny novel

I loved Beat the Reaper. It's a comic thriller, very heavy on the crude, black comedy. So often I read a book blurb that says 'laugh out loud funny,' and I rarely laugh out loud. Well, I laughed out loud many times reading this hysterical novel. A novel about a former gang hit-man, fans of gangster stories will be drawn to this. Actually, it's as much about medicine as the Mafia, and it is the funniest book about medicine that I have ever read. It's full of footnotes, and be sure to read them, as they are the most humorous parts of the novel. The beginning is so engaging and funny that it is impossible to keep up at that level. While it falls off a bit, I still loved reading this from start to end. Long after finishing this, I still sometimes think back on funny parts and smile.


When the very FIRST sentence... in the very FIRST book... written by a new author is: "SO I'M ON MY WAY TO WORK AND I STOP TO WATCH A PIGEON FIGHT A RAT IN THE SNOW, AND SOME F*HEAD TRIES TO MUG ME!... you know you could be in the right place... at the right time... to be part of a magical... riotous... unruly... maiden voyage... with an author... who... based on his wild concoction of multiple "fictional"... biographical... background... demographics... has created a protagonist... as unique as an individual snow flake. But in no way... can the central character... ever be described... as being as pure as the newly fallen snow. Born Pietro Brnwa... later known as "Bearclaw" Brnwa... and still later... once he enters the witness protection program... he's known as Peter Brown. And if you want to be really technical... even later... he's known as Dr. Peter Brown. Pietro was raised by his Jewish Grandparents until they were murdered, and then the parent's of his best childhood friend... "Skinflick"... raised him. The fact that "Skinflick's" Father... David Locano... was a Mafia lawyer... greased the skids... that lead Pietro... into the life of a Mafia hit man. (It also... probably didn't hurt that Pietro's childhood role models were Batman and Charles Bronson in "DEATH WISH".) What is absolutely mesmerizing about this fast-paced story... is that it constantly shifts from the present time... where Pietro... aka... "Bearclaw"... aka... Peter Brown... is now Doctor Peter Brown... and the author who is a REAL-LIFE-INTERN at UCSF... spews out real life medical terms (with definitions... when he feels they're needed at the bottom of the book pages) coated with raucous "black-humor"... and then shifts... to Mafia "hit" flashbacks... with gruesome detail... all with tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek... without missing a beat... on the medical side... or the Mafia murder mayhem side! If that isn't tantalizing enough... interspersed within these two realms... is a trip to Poland for revenge against Nazi loyalists... that turned his Grandparents in during the war... resulting in them being imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. In a historically correct... and compelling... presentation... the author presents details about the death camps... with the same type of notes on the bottom of the page as he provides on medical terms. What a remarkable literary juggling act... balancing medicine... Mafia hits... and Holocaust history... all the while racing full speed ahead... with an action-packed... gripping... "dark-humor"... drenched... thriller. If all this isn't enough... we also have shark attacks... and the reader is left still wanting more! Thank goodness the author is already working on his second novel. Josh Bazell has hit a tape measure homerun on his first at bat!

13 Ways of Looking at "Beat the Reaper"

1. As if it were a TV show: It's "House" meets the "Sopranos." 2. In historical context: It's the best comic crime fiction debut since Robert Crais's "The Monkey's Raincoat." 3. Through a mourning veil for David Foster Wallace: Greatest footnotes since he died. 4. If you are one of those who only read nonfiction: It will teach you cool stuff about medicine, the Mafia and Auschwitz. 5. In case you like dramatic irony: The violence in it is clinical, the clinical sloppy and vile. 6. As if it were on Facebook: Its friends would be Jonathan Lethem's "Motherless in Brooklyn" and Richard Dooling's "Critical Care," but it would be the funny, outgoing one. 7. On a personal note: It is only the fourth book in my adult life I stayed awake to finish once starting it that night. 8. As if it had already been made into a movie: The book is better. 9. As a bar mitzvah present: Coolest ever. 10. As if flipping through its pages randomly: Did you notice fat men have diagonal creases in their nipples? Who does Michael Corleone imitate when he drops the gun after he shoots the cop? How about an exquisite description of the Hudson in midwinter? There's at least one of these on every page. 11. If you were to judge it by its cover: Don't. It's not Dean Koontz. 12. As an investment; Get the first edition. 13. As if it were the first of many: Please.
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