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Beat the Reaper: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Crackling dialogue and rich characters distinguish Bazell's debut thriller. Dr. Peter Brown is living a double life and one of his patients may have uncovered the doctor's secret. Brown was formerly Pietro Brnwa, a vicious mob hit man who would be the last person you want to see in your hospital room. Robert Petkoff delivers a solid performance as both Brown and Brnwa, distinct and well-crafted personalities whose flaws, needs and desires somehow coexist in this mystery. Bazell's writing is raw and endlessly witty, a combination that isn't always realistic, but with Petkoff behind the microphone it's a great ride. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 27). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Beat the Reaper, a criminal and medical thriller, received praise across the board. Written in a tough pulp-fiction style, this debut, with "enough male fantasy packed into these pages to temporarily relieve the worst case of mid-life crisis," noted the Washington Post, won't fail to entertain. But despite its quirkiness and brutality, it contains surprisingly thoughtful scenes. Beat the Reaper also addresses real—and serious—issues that both doctors and hospitals face. A few critics commented on the ludicrous love scenes and disagreed over whether the footnotes added value, but all commented on the ending (imagine a locked medical freezer—we won't say more). But since this is the first novel in a planned series, we're pretty sure the adored protagonist survives.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (September 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600248195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600248191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Bazell is a doctor and novelist. He has a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia. He has worked as a screenwriter, and while in medical school investigated suspicious deaths for the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York. He is currently a resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and is writing his second novel.

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
JJ
Beat the Reaper is the debut novel from author Josh Bazell.
Craig Clarke
Highly recommend this book - a fun read.
Mitzi Gee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

271 of 309 people found the following review helpful By Dmitry Portnoy VINE VOICE on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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39 of 50 people found the following review helpful By R Candlewood on January 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It has tremendous energy right from the first page, and it doesn't let up pretty much the whole way through. It's fast and smart, and I never felt that the author was talking down to me -- he expected me to keep up, and nothing is throw-away, not even the funny footnotes (that are much more than footnotes in the end...). I'm not sure I'd recommend it for my wife, who likes her thrillers a little more civilized. The ending is over-the-top and not for the squeamish. Then again, it's so consistently outrageous and enjoyable that I want her to read it just so I can talk to her about it! It's that kind of book. I can't really think of anything I've read that's like it. Patsy Cornwell? This is way more fun. Tarantino, sure. And "House," maybe. But nothing on the page.

Still, I'd prefer to give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, because it isn't perfect; there are some spots that seem a little less polished, some things that are maybe too hard to follow. It's not always smooth. But those are quibbles, because overall, this is the coolest, smartest, most exciting book I've read in YEARS. It's a rush.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Scott on January 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is definitely worth checking out. It's fun, violent, medically informative, and action-packed. I know it's rather cliche, but this book is honestly very hard to put down. Once you start you'll want to keep going to the brutal end. Josh Bazell has been compared to Chuck Palahniuk. There are definitely aspects of Chuck Palahniuk in his writing. From the heavily detailed medical references to his anti-hero leading character. However his voice and perspective are definitely his own. He offers something new and exciting without coming across as a complete carbon copy of other progressive/alternative/whatever you want to call them/fiction authors. Hurry and read this one before it's turned into a mediocre Hollywood feature film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By emma force on October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what kind of experience it would have been reading the paper version of this book, because the audio version kicks so much butt I don't want to experience it any other way.

I'm not an audio book snob or anything - I get turned off very easily by boring narrators with weird voices trying to fake voices enough so that you know when a different character is supposed to be talking. It takes a lot to grab my interest. But Beat the Reaper just grabs you from minute 1 and doesn't let you go until the end!

The narrator is an amazing match for the force and clarity of the main character. I was completely entertained, even as I was shocked, disgusted, amused and tickled. In the audiobook, the "footnotes" are backed by a kind of quick drum beat that doesn't distract at all from the story. Somehow the narrator manages to change his voice to an "as an aside" tone , breaking away from the action in an almost freeze-frame effect to fill you in on usually gruesome medical or historical details that give context to the action itself. And some of the action scenes have a cool back beat as well.

I listened to it on my ipod, with the ipod tucked in my running armband and my headphones in as I cleaned my house and finished some really boring projects in my basement over the course of a weekend. I was so bummed when it ended and so psyched to come here and read that the sequel is coming out in Feb.

I've rarely enjoyed an audio book as much as this one!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre books I have ever read, a virtual bloodbath of murder and mayhem (complete with footnotes), as intern Doctor Peter Brown, comes face to face with the consequences of his criminal past. On his rounds one harried shift, Brown is shocked to see an equally flustered familiar face, the pre-op LoBrutto, known as Squillante, putting Brown's new life at risk with one phone call. It is in Brown's interest to make sure that Squillante keeps breathing after his surgery (yet another tragi-comic scene), but circumstances escalate beyond Brown's control, the ugly realities of a violent connection to the mob resurfacing in a final, gore-filled denouement.

Apparently Brown is on the road to redemption at Manhattan Catholic hospital, making restitution for the many deaths he delivered for "refined" mobster David Locano. Raised by loving grandparents who are killed in a home invasion robbery when the boy is fifteen, Pietro Brnwa sets out to deliver justice to the killers, but becomes enmeshed in Locane's family, nuclear and in the larger sense, seduced by their welcome and absolute acceptance. How a vulnerable young man becomes a mafia killing machine is explained by a panicking intern who sees the end of his dreams in that encounter with Squillante. A gruesome story unfolds, Pietro inured to the mindless carnage he leaves in his wake, unperturbed until the predator becomes the prey.

Bazell accomplishes this brilliant farce through the force of his acerbic dialog, an outrageous mix of murder, romance and black humor, a deeply-flawed justice system, a roiling shark's tank in New Jersey and the brutal pragmatism of hospital life, where Death stalks the surgical ward with careless disregard.
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