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Beat the Reaper: A Novel (Peter Brown series Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 305 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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.

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 945 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (December 15, 2008)
  • Publication Date: January 7, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NXK242
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,687 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

277 of 315 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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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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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Darcia Helle VINE VOICE on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
I expected to love this book. As it turns out, I was not nearly as enamored with it as most readers seem to have been. I enjoyed the opening couple of chapters. The narrative starts out with an edge of dark humor. It's fast-paced. The story and the main character felt unique.

Then we're jolted out of the present and, from there through to the end, the story vacillates between flashbacks and present day. The constant back and forth gave it a disjointed feel.

A lot of sections felt like they were more about the author showing off his knowledge than about building a captivating plot. And some of the things that happen along the way seemed ridiculous to me.

I have to mention the footnotes. I hated them. Unless a novel contains foreign words and phrases, I don't think fiction should ever need footnotes. I read a lot of nonfiction, which is where I expect to find them. In this book, the barrage of footnotes (sometimes every page and often long paragraphs) was just distracting. The information in the footnotes was unnecessary. I couldn't decide if the author felt the need to show off more of his knowledge, or if he thinks his readers aren't smart enough to understand the context of his references within the text. Either way, I found them annoying and stopped reading them about a third of the way through.

In all, it's a quick easy read that, for me, had an equal measure of good and bad.
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No Footnotes on Kindle Edition
Not true - the footnotes are there. You just have to scroll up to the footnote mark (a * or cross) and click the scroll wheel, the select the note... it'll take you there. Then you can select (back to text) and return to where you were reading.
Mar 2, 2009 by DrBiohazard |  See all 5 posts
Can't wait for this book to come out
Advanced industry copies were released a couple months ago. I loved it!!
Aug 5, 2008 by LC |  See all 2 posts
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