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Beat the Reaper: A Novel (Dr. Pietro Brnwa Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Josh Bazell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.00 (33%)
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.

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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: 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,693 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
268 of 306 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hip and brash medical mob thriller July 2, 2011
Format:Paperback
Beat the Reaper is a fun read. It reminds me of some people from New York who I know and like -- a little overwhelming at first but, once you make the adjustment, fun to spend time with. The book is loaded with foul language along with a generous serving of drugs, explicit sex and violence that could turn some people off. But beyond that it's a good, well-plotted story, and a fun mix of medicine and the mob. In it's most memorable scene, there is even an autofibulectomy (removal of one's own fibula). I came away from the book not only entertained, but feeling like I learned something about disease (uterine tissue migrating into the leg), human anatomy/physiology (the fibula actually supports no weight), and the history of the mafia in New York City (everyone outside of the hills of Virginia probably already knows that they ran the garbage industry). I also learned that the LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of people) for defenestration (being thrown from a window) is 5 stories! These facts may not be true, but the pleasure I take in my new-found apparent knowledge is very real. And Josh Bazell is an actual doctor, so maybe some of it is true.

This is a quick read, and is unlikely to change your life (hopefully). But it's a good as a summer read or an escape from a bad day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool book
It was a cool book, worth the rea in my opinion. Got a little weir at certain points but i still enjoyed it thoroughly
Published 27 days ago by where did that two hours go!? great game
2.0 out of 5 stars Raunchy, don't waste your time or your dime
Definitely written towards a male audience (at least I hope that was his intention) with an okay plot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hooked on Books
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow. How do I say this?
At first, I thought this was going to be a fun book. While there's nothing wrong (that I could hear) with the grammar and sentence structure of this novel -- the author writes a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by dflawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Debut
I’m a Charlie Huston honk. There, I admitted it. Like the first step out of twelve, I recognize my problem. And I feel unburdened. Free almost. I’m a Huston-holic. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gamma Mouse
2.0 out of 5 stars Beat the Reaper
Chosen by our 12 book club members. All were disappointed in the book to the point that no one finished reading it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Sarcasm
And mob stories you will love this. The snarky footnotes had me laughing out loud. Loved that it wasn't the typical "hitman with a heart of gold" cliche.
Published 4 months ago by Veronica Douglas
1.0 out of 5 stars One of worse I have read
Disjointed. Disappointing in that it was nothing like described. Realize it was fiction. but too fictitious. Bought another but may not read it
Published 4 months ago by MCCRNA
4.0 out of 5 stars Great creativity
Josh Bazell is a good talent on writing with consistence. There is a great control on the medical content and an amazing creativity on developing a plot on gangs. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Albert Gonzalez Farran
2.0 out of 5 stars I felt cheated
An interesting premise, and although the gratuitous violence in places was a bit off-putting, I was enjoying the book, particularly the detailed medical descriptions and "facts"... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gobi
3.0 out of 5 stars starts dark and chilling, ends silly
The first 2/3 of this book is a fresh twist on the mob hitman story with our hitman The Bearclaw being a medical Dr too. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Minatel
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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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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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