Beat the Reaper
By Josh Bazell
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316032223, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 2009
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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.
Josh Bazell has a BA in English literature and writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia. Currently a resident at the University of California, San Francisco, he wrote Beat the Reaper while completing his internship at a hospital not at all like the one described in this book.
"BEAT THE REAPER is way cool and ice-cold. A ferocious read."
-Don Winslow, author of THE DAWN PATROL
"Fast, fun, furious, fierce... or better yet, stop reading the accolades for BEAT THE REAPER, open up to page one, and start reading. See you at the cash register."
-Harlan Coben, author of HOLD TIGHT
"BEAT THE REAPER is a blast. Josh Bazell blew me away with this story that is as relentless as a bullet."
-Michael Connelly, author of THE BRASS VERDICT
"BEAT THE REAPER is terrific-fresh, original, funny, and a dynamite read. Dr. Peter Brown-aka Pietro Brnwa, aka 'the Bearclaw'-is my new favorite character."
-Robert Crais, author of CHASING DARKNESS
"I didn't want to like it. I mean, a doctor writing a novel is kind of obnoxious. What, you don't have enough to do already? But maybe that's me. Anyway, I didn't want to like BEAT THE REAPER, but I did; I loved it. It is completely original, an utter page-turner, bold, shocking, hilarious, complex and even educational. It's that book you wish you had with you when you were trapped in an airport for a three-hour flight delay. My only complaint is that I've already read it."
-Lisa Lutz, author of THE SPELLMAN FILES
"Josh Bazell is an unusually talented writer....[he] more than earned my indulgence as a reader. If there's a better recommendation for a story than that, I don't know what it is."
-The New York Times Book Review
"It's an ingenious premise for a thriller, and Bazell pulls it off....BEAT THE REAPER only gets better, turn by turn, page by page. Savvy and savagely diverting, it's a Tarantino movie made with Scorsese looking over his shoulder."
-New York Daily News
"Unpredictable, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking."
"Beware the risk of dependency....a hypochondriac's nightmare but a reader's dream.... Bazell has sutured together Alan Alda's Capt. Hawkeye and James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano, and so long as he keeps everything operating fast enough, it's too much fun and too much gore to take your eyes off the page."
-Washington Post Book World
"Electrifyingly hilarious in that Elmore Leonard way."
"Fiction reviewers live for openers like this...[a] breakneck cross between a hospital drama, The Godfather and a Quentin Tarantino film....Moxie must be Bazell's middle name. Asking us to sympathize with a hardened doctor is tough enough. Getting us to identify with a contract killer who packed .45 automatics with silencers is a coup."
"Four stars...[a] fast, funny ride...Bazell keeps the story moving at warp speed."