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.
So I'm on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some fuckhead tries to mug me! Naturally there's a gun. He comes up behind me and sticks it into the base of my skull. It's cold, and it actually feels sort of good, in an acupressure kind of way. "Take it easy, Doc," he says.
Which explains that, at least. Even at five in the morning, I'm not the kind of guy you mug. I look like an Easter Island sculpture of a longshoreman. But the fuckhead can see the blue scrub pants under my overcoat, and the ventilated green plastic clogs, so he thinks I've got drugs and money on me. And maybe that I've taken some kind of oath not to kick his fuckhead ass for trying to mug me.
I barely have enough drugs and money to get me through the day. And the only oath I took, as I recall, was to first do no harm. I'm thinking we're past that point.
"Okay," I say, raising my hands.
The rat and the pigeon run away. Chickenshits.
I turn around, which rolls the ...
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).
Full Review (1212 words).
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 ...
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