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

Josh Bazell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $6.10 (41%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

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" Brnwna 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 Brnwa 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.


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: 393 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316032220
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 7, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NXK242
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 310 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 Ways of Looking at "Beat the Reaper" 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
5.0 out of 5 stars style is substance 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
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Debut Novel... January 5, 2009
By Scott
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
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this [audio] book! 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Lie down with dogs and you're gonna get fleas. 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great style and substance
Although not a literary work of art, this entertaining read has enough wit, style and bravado to amuse any Palahniuk/Delilo fan.
Published 7 days ago by mvp
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning debut.
Electric, gritty, intense. This novel had me hooked.

And for those complaining that it's "too violent" - the title is Beat the Reaper, what else did you expect?
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Marchant
2.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar and disappointing
This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.be

The promise of reading an "international bestseller" as well as the synopsis... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maryline -M's Bookshelf
2.0 out of 5 stars Utterly ridiculous
Not so much "funny" as "snarky". Our hero is a ER doc who secretly is a badass Mob Hit Man in Witness protection. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Douglas J. Bassett
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong start for a series
This was a really fun book. It was paced very quickly, but it didn't throw a million silly plot twists and subplots at you like some cheesy thrillers are wont to do. Read more
Published 1 month ago by max
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a really fun book. Peter is strangely likeable semi reformed...
This was a really fun book. Peter is strangely likeable semi reformed mafia hit man turned doctor. He's funny and his take on hospital stuff is darkly funny. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MavisE
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Summer Read
This was an out of the ordinary, non stop, fast paced summer read. I started yesterday and finished at the beach today. Read more
Published 3 months ago by octopusturtle
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Violent, crude and unrealistic
Published 3 months ago by leslie bowman
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was a waste of my
Really? This book was a waste of my time
Published 3 months ago by Mike
1.0 out of 5 stars There was absolutely nothing I liked about this book
There was absolutely nothing I liked about this book. Since it was selected as the book for our monthly book club I had to read it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alexa Elkington
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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.

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Topic From this Discussion
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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