If you remember, I hosted a book giveaway for Beat the Reaper earlier this month. I hope that all of my winners have received their copies, because I can't wait to chat about this one!
Beat the Reaper is a day in the life of Dr. Peter Brown -- only, that's not his real name. It's the name he was given by WITSEC, otherwise known as the Witness Protection Program. We learn what happened in Peter's life to lead him to this day, probably the worst day of his life.
To anyone following along, I'm from New Jersey. Peter Brown grew up in West Orange, and, surprise surprise, gets involved with the mob (the author takes the mob thing so over the top, it can't help but be hilarious). I don't know how Josh Bazell does it, but even though this guy could snap a man's neck without blinking, and has the most sarcastic pain-in-the-ass attitude on the planet, I couldn't help but root for the guy!
Josh Bazell has a BA in literature from Brown and an MD from Columbia. Penned during his medical residency, Beat the Reaper, blends Bazell's two talents perfectly. Throughout the book, there are footnotes, which sound as if they could be distracting to the rhythm and flow of the book, but they aren't. Instead, they feel like "asides" from a play, when an actor speaks directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall, while staying in character. Beat the Reaper is being made into a movie with Leo DiCaprio. I really hope they don't lose this nuance of the story.
Beat the Reaper has been described by critics as a cross between Tarantino films and Gray's Anatomy. In my mind, it's a little more House, and way more Tarantino - lots of blood, lots of violence, and lots of great one-liners. All you need is Harvey Keitel. It's twisted, but it's smart, too. I had a hard time putting this one down.
Good thing there's going to be a sequel!
First line (because it's my new thing):
"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!"
For more on Beat the Reaper, visit Hachette Book Group's website, where you can read excepts, about the author and find the Reader's Group Guide.
About the Book: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 14, 2009)