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Beat The Reaper Paperback – 5 Feb 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Feb 2009
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (5 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434019232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434019236
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,137,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Publishers are given to attempts to whip up excitement about debut novels (it’s their job, after all), and often such fireworks splutter out all too quickly. But that’s not going to happen with Josh Bazell’s debut thriller Beat the Reaper, which is (it has to be said) quite as impressive as his publishers are trumpeting – in fact, if this book doesn’t take the crime and thriller world by storm, there's no justice. What marks the book out from the rest of an increasingly overcrowded field is its vibrant, glittering prose – streaked through with a mordant wit (highlighted by a series of pithy – and highly entertaining – footnotes; an unusual element in the thriller genre)

The plot is highly original. Peter Brown is a young Manhattan intern who is not all he seems to be. He has a past – and as any reader of crime novels knows – the past never stays buried for long. Peter has had an edgy run-in with a mugger and a more congenial elevator one-to-one with a female pharmaceutics rep. But his most significant encounter is to be with a new hospital patient, Nicholas LoBrutto – a man who knows the truth behind Peter’s artificially contrived façade: the young intern is, in fact, in the Witness Protection program, and he remains in the gunsights of some unpleasant New Jersey heavies. And things are about to get very hot for both Peter and LoBrutto. Josh Bazell, as Beat the Reaper, demonstrates, is the real deal, and the auguries for this debut are very good. If he can just sustain this level of invention and energy thoughout that difficult second novel… --Barry Forshaw

Review

Hold on to your hats. Josh Bazell's first novel is a roller-coaster ride from the very first page, fast, furious, and - believe it or not - funny...A cross between ER and the Sopranos, this is House on speed, with a little Dexter thrown in and wisecracking dialogue to boot. It's breathtakingly accomplished for a debut. Bazell is a name to watch.' --Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail (23.1.09)

`Beat the Reaper is way cool and ice cold. A ferocious read.'

`Beat the Reaper is way cool and ice cold. A ferocious read.'

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Beat the Reaper is one of the best books I have read for a long time & I read a lot of books. It's Sopranos meets Scrubs meets Quentin Tarantino and had me gripped throughout, one moment in fits of giggles at the sardonic humour the next slightly nauseous at the gore & pain our reckless protagonist goes through.

All I can say is if you like your fiction cutting edge, buzzing and fast paced buy this book you absolutely will not regret it.
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By J. Cronin VINE VOICE on 7 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Beat the Reaper is described on its cover as being like "mixing a hospital drama with Godfather and Tarantino" - rather apt I think.

Peter Brown is an intern at a New York hospital - he's also a member of the Witness Protection Programme, having been a mafia hitman in a prior life. He's the guy you want around when things start to go bad, but you probably would be slightly worried if he sat next to you on the bus. When an old connection turns up in the hospital with potentially terminal stomach cancer, Peter's new life changes in a heartbeat.

Peppered with violent scenes, medical tips, expletives and fun, Beat the Reaper is a great piece of humourous, lightweight reading with a dark touch.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I must say I'm using my husband's account as he bought the book for me. I also must apologize about my writing, as I'm spanish. As one of the reviewers above, I usually don't have much to say about books apart from love/hate it, but I feel compelled to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in record time. Never had read a book like this before. It made me laugh and it actually made me dizzy (oh that walk-in freezer scene!), I don't know if it was because I was on a bus. It feels like a Tarantino film; and I guess maybe we'll see it on the big or small screen some time soon.
My only criticism is when the book starts taking off from reality, like the shark-tank part and again that memorable walk-in freezer part. It reminds me of those old films where the good guy fights fifty really mean guys, wins and doesn't even get a wrinkle on his perfect suit or a hair out of place (I know that Dr Brnwa ends up with a bit more than a hair out of place, it's just a manner of speaking) I also found the 'avenging angel' attitude a bit stale. Well, maybe I still need a few more books like this to get used to, I'll keep trying.
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Format: Paperback
This is a high-concept story about an ex-hitman making up for his past transgressions by becoming a doctor, from taking lives to saving lives. It's an unputdownable, often hilarious and frenetic romp with short sharp chapters like perfectly sized bullets and many twists and turns. The author is a doctor with a BA in English and it shows on both counts, perfectly balancing masterful storytelling with well informed facts and trivia many in the form of footnotes. The drama is deftly handled weaving edgy medical drama and mob-life exposition with skill and expertise. It's rare to find a book that can have you chuckling away to yourself one minute and squirming with unease the next. The only reason I knocked off half a star is that the pacing in the closing chapters seemed a tiny bit rushed to me. I was expecting a suitably grand-guignol showdown with splashings of trademark witty dialogue like in the preceeding chapters but it wrapped everything up far to quickly for my liking. It's a minor complaint though as this book is definitely worth buying and is one of the best books I've read in a long time!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was a wicked delight to read. The initial idea of mixing medicine and the mafia seemed a little unlikely but the result is a gripping, witty, well-written page-turner. It indulges in instances of brutal violence, goes into graphic detail about the bloodier aspects of human anatomy, exposes personal holocaust histories, dabbles in recreational chemistry, isn’t scared of an occasional explicit sex scene... and lets rip with some bitingly bitter observations on modern medicine, relationships and society. Just my kinda thing.

The hero is a junior doctor in a chaotic New York hospital, hiding from the wise guys via the Federal witness protection plan. All is going swimmingly (apart from patients bringing lawsuits, wandering off, losing limbs, etc), when he’s suddenly recognised by an old mob associate. In his previous existence, the Doctor was a hitman. He’s trying to make amends for those previous actions by healing the sick. But now they know where he is, the Doctor’s previous employers and compadres would like a word. Several words. All of which are likely to end unpleasantly for him…
How he came to be in this situation is told in flashbacks, with the action alternating between his past as a criminal hitman and his present predicament. The writing is stylish and snappy, threaded through with bleak and black humour. The author uses wee footnotes to lift the lid on medical mishaps and misunderstandings about the mafia, which I’d normally find irritating and interrupting. But in Beat The Reaper these extra details add authenticity to some of the outrageous medical mishaps, and make the mafioso moments all the more credible.
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