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Wild Thing: A Novel (Dr. Pietro Brnwa) Hardcover – February 8, 2012

Book 2 of 2 in the Peter Brown Series

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"Act of God" by Jill Ciment
Part horror story, part screwball comedy, Ciment’s brilliant suspense novel looks at what happens when our lives—so seemingly set and ordered yet so precariously balanced—break down in the wake of calamity. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Dr. Pietro Brnwa
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (February 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316032190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316032193
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This is a throwback to that time a decade ago when praise went to crime novels that “transcended the genre,” or tried to. Thus this promising story of a hired killer on the run from his own clients is constantly being stalled by digressions that are—depending on your point of view—fascinating or just mannered. We meet the killer after he’s taken a job on a cruise ship, and the descriptions of boat life are dead-on. We follow him when he’s hired by a billionaire to join the search for a mysterious sea creature in the northern U.S., and the narrative is propulsive. But the “transcend” argument believes it’s low rent to tell a story, so we have flashbacks, dream sequences, and endless footnotes. We get disquisitions on the Jewish state, the lives of trees, and the fallacy of cryogenics. One senses an author who can’t quite keep his mind on his book or maybe wishes he was writing a different book. Could be that’s why the intimate moments sound like scenes from an Adam Sandler movie. --Don Crinklaw

Review

PRAISE FOR WILD THING:

"[Bazell's books] are hard-boiled thrillers, written in one of the most distinctively entertaining new fictional voices I've run across in years, in any genre. There is a massive density of information in [Wild Thing]...but Bazell wields it with wonderful lightness. Reading him is like being able to monopolize the attention of the most interesting person at a party...It's so rare that you see a really brilliant writer who is committed, 100%, in every sentence, to giving you a good time. Bazell is, and he does."
Lev Grossman, Time

"Carl Hiaasen fans will relish Bazell's frenetic sequel to 2009's Beat the Reaper...Bazell expertly blends action, farce, and political satire, and his wide-ranging imagination bodes well for the future of the series."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"The book is composed in Bazell's propulsive, profanity-laden style, peppering startling violence with detailed footnotes that cover subjects like tooth reinsertions and human cryogenics...Props to Bazell for not cranking out an idle retread of Beat the Reaper. A funny, unexpected journey for our hero that sets up the next installment with finesse."—Kirkus

"Is this novel better than Bazell's debut? It's as good as and more. In addition to the mayhem and madness of the original, there's an element of ecoconsciousness and political satire (the long-delayed appearance of the government official is worth the purchase price) that will leave readers wanting still more. Bazell makes being smart sexy and footnotes fun."—Bob Lunn, Library Journal

"Insanely funny...the work of a crackpot genius."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"A rousing, fast-paced sequel...Bazell's mix of violent lunacy and social commentary should appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen...The novel is packed with witty footnotes, and when Brnwa isn't lusting after the paleontologist, he's a profanely trenchant social observer."—Washington Post

"Bazell's inventiveness and a series of plot twists ensure that Wild Thing never lets up...For suspense, the monster plot sinks its claws in, blending the best of Jaws with the comic sense of your favorite episode of Scooby-Doo. At its heart, this book is wildly fun."—San Francisco Chronicle

"A very thoughtful examination of the collision of rationality and superstition...Comes with the funniest footnotes and appendix (no kidding) ever written."—Daily Beast

"The novel is violent, sexy and relentlessly funny."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Wild Thing walks, talks, and squawks like a crime thriller, but it makes casual passes at left-field absurdity that aim for Hiaasen or Vonnegut...a fun, fast read."—Entertainment Weekly

Customer Reviews

Not as good as his first book which I couldn't put down and this one I couldn't wait to put down.
beerayg
I was entertained by Josh Bazell's debut novel, Beat the Reaper, so I expected to enjoy his second novel, Wild Thing.
Stephen T. Hopkins
A somewhat over-the-top plot that wasn't that amusing to me with enough footnotes to fill half the novel.
Konrad Kern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By CTMom on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted to love this book as much as I loved it's prequel- BEAT THE REAPER. The problem is that this book was really, just barely a sequel that I'm not sure why Josh Bazell bothered. In BEAT THE REAPER, Dr. Peter Brown was living a double life- medical intern/reformed hitman- trying to hide from the mob who wanted him dead. And it was FASCINATING! A book that went a mile a minute and refused to be put down.

In WILD THING, which takes place several years down the road, it's as if Bazell said, "I have a successful character, & since he's in WITSEC I can do anything with him" which is sort of true. But not. This book isn't about a man hiding from his past. It's about a monster in a lake. Every once in a while, there is a flash of the character that was so interesting before, but it's so brief (& frankly kind of out of no where).

This could be an interesting mystery if allowed to develop on its own, but its reliance on the few characters from BEAT THE REAPER is almost a hindrance. I expected more from them than they delivered. It read more like a miniseries than a novel frankly. And the very strange inclusion of Sarah Palin as a character truly had me scratching my head.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EPAllman on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very solid read filled with lots of fun, colorful characters as well as adventure and suspense.
However, it's very hard not to compare this book to Beat The Reaper, which I found to be more entertaining and an overall better read.
It was enjoyable, and I would recommend this book to others.
Can't wait for more by Josh Bazell!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jupiter Child on December 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
I loved the first book and was very excited about Wild Thing. But.....please don't waste your money. I should have put it down after the first five pages, and won't be able to get those hours of my life back. It missed the mark in every way, but character development and bothering to explain portions of the plot are missing. Can anyone tell me who the priest was, how he was connected to the plot, why he was killed and why was he killed first? He was mentioned on a regular basis by name and everything else was just left to the readers imagination. Other reviewers are correct in that this author makes every effort to sound like a jerk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lincott on June 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author's problem is that he clearly loves violence, and yet deep down he'd kind of a PC, little girl. He has no audience as a result. The women aren't that into this adventure stuff, and the men don't want to hear about how Jurassic Park is a sexist movie as they read about some guy's arm getting torn off.

I liked BEAT THE REAPER, but even in that book, I thought about half way through, I can tell I don't like the guy who wrote this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason on May 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
If you're tight on time you can really enjoy reading 1/2 of this book then putting it down assured you aren't missing much. Enjoyed the first book...just not this one
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Marcus Jr. on March 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book has some humor to it and shows signs of real writing ability. It is somewhat marred by excessivel sophomoric use of vulgarity. The last 25% is an appendix of impressive looking hand picked facts used in a method reminiscent of Ann Coulter's writing although the writer holds very different views.
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Format: Paperback
Like many other reviewers of this novel, I feel that 2009's Beat the Reaper was one of the most shockingly good reads of that year. It was the perfect mash-up between Medical Drama and Organized Crime Thriller, with bitingly saracastic humor and witty footnotes. When I found out that the author, Josh Bazell, was writing a sequel (about a lake monster, nonetheless!), I was more than excited.

Now, as I sit down to write this review, I am struggling to put into objective terms why I felt the need to rate this book two stars. IN all honesty, I might have rated it one star, if not for something holding me back. But we'll get to that later.

Wild Thing is about the continued adventures of Pietro "Bearclaw" Brwna, Mafia Hitman, AKA Dr. Peter Brown, Hospital Doctor, AKA Dr. Lionel Azimuth, Cruise Ship Dentist, as he encounters a mystery in smalltown Ford, Minnesota, involving the possible existence of an enigmatic lake monster. Teaming up with sexy paleantologist Violet Hurst, our main guy goes on an adventure that involves much more than whatever is lurking beneath the waters of White Lake.

The first red flag, when reading this book, was from the prologue, which describes a scene of brutally gorey (and fun) carnage. While the scene itself is well written, and technically still narrated by Brwna, he acts as a 3rd person omniscient narrator: not part of the scene, but he knows a little bit too much about it to just be a spectator. These chapters, also called "Exhibits" (like evidence, ha-ha), are sprinkled throughout the novel, and each one of them is as jarring as the rest. Where Beat the Reaper alternated time periods and jumped settings, it was always Brwna's thoughts we were getting, always something relevant to the plot.
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Format: Hardcover
I had a four-star fondness for Beat the Reaper, Bazell’s first assault on decency and good taste. The star of that show, Pietro Brnwa, is back for a return engagement in Wild Thing with unfortunately less happy outcomes.

In this episode, doctor/fugitive Mob hitman Brnwa is tagged by a reclusive billionaire to play bodyguard to one of the more improbable paleontologists you’ll run across this month as she looks for what may or may not be a fraudulent Loch Ness-type water monster in upper Minnesota. A lot of generally indescribable strangeness ensues involving meth cookers, various delegations of bodyguards, wilderness guides, LSD, right-wingers and a not-fictional politician. There may also be some kind of lake creature.

Why am I being cagy about all this? I’m not – it really is indescribable. Wild Thing is all over the place, full of incidents that hardly make sense *in* context, far less out of it. While Beat the Reaper had a strong thruline and a weird kind of focus to carry you through the truly outrageous parts, this one doesn’t really. Don’t get me wrong; there are a number of funny bits in here and some good scenes, but it never seems to gel and it peters out rather than ending.

Part of the problem is that Brnwa never gets a whole lot to do other than moon over the female paleontologist. His voice is still intact from the first book and he still can pump out entertaining footnotes (yes, footnotes), but he’s neither the center of attention nor the driving force behind the narrative. Brnwa is disconnected from the world set up for him in his debut and doesn’t get to use his various skills to any effect. I've read theories that Wild Thing was meant for a new lead character and was converted to a Brnwa story under pressure.
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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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