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" Brwna 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 Brwna 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.
In between dodging bad guys Brown tries to keep up his hospital rounds and patient care while becoming more and more sleep-deprived and even more "upper" drug dependent. Things become increasingly zany to the point where he notes that, "you may have taken things too far…when you're holding a knife you've just made out of your own shinbone." Oh, yeah. Beat the Reaper is just that gritty. But it is testament to Bazell's skill that he can deliver a message of personal responsibility and accountability while making readers simultaneously cringe and cackle. (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
The New York Times - Matt Ruff
This blend of criminal and medical drama works well, and the back-and-forth between timelines keeps things moving. Bazell has a knack for breathing new life into the most timeworn genre conventions.
The Washington Post - Ron Charles Beat the Reaper is a hypochondriac's nightmare but a reader's dream…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
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.
A propulsive, savvy read featuring characters both well shaded and shady, this debut thriller...also offers the garnish du jour in the form of elaborate and funny footnotes. Heartily recommended.
A wildly funny mashup between genres that makes ER and St. Elsewhere look tame.
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.
Michael Connelly Beat the Reaper is a blast. Josh Bazell blew me away with this story that is as relentless as a bullet
Robert Crais 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.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Susan Reiners Those with Delicate Sensibilities, Beware! Despite using an f-word as a noun, this book grabbed me harder faster than just about any book I can think of. It was difficult to put down, and at first I would have recommended it to just about anyone, including my German physician... Read More
Rated of 5
by bridgiebee Wanting Fast and Furious? Read this one! This is a very funny, fast paced book. Actually a book for everyone who is looking to be entertained! You won't be able to put it down. Beware, if a lot of cursing and foul language offends you; as there is a lot. I loved this book! Only bad... Read More
Rated of 5
by PDXReader What a ride! Beat the Reaper is a fast, furious, fun roller-coaster ride of a book, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Its protagonist was unique, entertaining, and three-dimensional. I kept waiting for the plot to take some predictable turn, but it never did; I... Read More
Rated of 5
by Carol K. Unique Debut Beat the Reaper is an unique read. Read it for the quirky characters. Read it for its dark humor. Read it because it's one heck of a thriller. Read it for the history, or for the medicine. Read it before it's turned into a bad movie. Read it for... Read More
The United Partisan Organization
In Beat the Reaper the fictional Peter Brown/Pietro Brnwa recounts the story of how
his grandparents met in the winter of 1943 when they joined the Jewish
resistance movement in Poland, hiding out in the Bialowieza Forest. According to
Brnwa family legend the young couple (they were both fifteen at the time) were
duped into going back to Krakow in order to save her brother from the Nazis. It
was a ruse and they were sold into Auschwitz. They survived because both were
sent to work in the manufacturing part of the famed death camp. In one of the
more poignant passages of the book Brown tells about when, as an adult, he made
a trip to Poland to seek out the man who had betrayed his grandparents and,
while there, he visited Auschwitz.
Although he doesn't say one way or the other, the group in the Bialowieza
Forest might have been part of a larger...
From the author of the international sensation Fight Club, a powerful (and hilarious) novel about love and strife between mothers and sons, the addictive power of sex, the terrors of aging, the ugly truth about historical theme parks, and much else. (Excerpt contains explicit content).
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