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

143 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Peter Brown Series

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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



"[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

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Product Details

  • Series: Dr. Pietro Brnwa (Book 2)
  • 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 (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,867 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 42 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacek Paszkowiak on June 17, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book is terrible. Story is absolute chaos. My 10 year old son can write a better story line. And then there is Sara Palin as a character in the book. I can understand that author have an obsession but please.
Then story ends and literally 25% of the book (pages in printed version) is just liberal/ecology/anti Republican/Bush rant. Basically turn on MSNBC and you will now what I am talking about. It is like know body want to listen to author political statements anymore, so he decide to write the novel. You think you getting the novel and instead you getting his manifesto. I always wonder why Beck wrote Arguing with Idiots and now I know.
Good luck to all the readers and I want my money back.
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2 of 2 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 Ethan Dials on February 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just reread Beat the Reaper for the 3rd time and it made me think about Wild Thing. Which is one of the only books I ever truly hated. Now there are books that are a lot worse then Wild Things but they usually come from someone on my writing level without a real story to tell. Maybe as Josh Bazell was writing Beat the Reaper he had this character arch in mind the whole time, but I saw no signs of the second book in the first. The first book is like House mixed with Punisher in a modern tragedy. Wild Thing is like a terrible episode of Scooby-Doo that was written just to get across how much the writer hates the celebrity guest. Again all in all this doesn't come close to the worse book I ever read but with the expectations I had from the first in the series it hands down the biggest disappointment.
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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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