Beat the Reaper Review

Author: Josh Bazell Publishing date: September 7, 2008 Genre:  Medical Thriller/Suspense Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manha...

Author: Josh Bazell
Publishing date: September 7, 2008
Genre:  Medical Thriller/Suspense

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.

Rating: 4/5 


The way this book was written is both a strength and a weakness at times. For a first person book that involved a lot of complicated action, it did very well. As far as the narrator, Pietro, his attitude made the book funny and easy to read for hours without putting down. However, at some points the constant back and forth between the present and flash backs could be dizzying, and I often found myself wondering what the heck had been happening before. At certain times when there was a lot of description, I found myself skimming as well. But all in all, the book managed to grab and keep my attention. The medical parts were interesting and described well enough that even without any medicos knowledge, one could easily understand what was going on. And my favourite part had to be the sassy side comments he made in the footnotes. 


Here is where I get a but more annoyed. Now, I absolutely LOVED Pietro. He was an asshole and sometimes a bit...well, much, but he was funny and oddly relatable at times. What I mean by that is, he was human. You understand why he did the things he did, and why he feels the way he feels about those things. Whether you agree or not, you can't exactly blame him or hate him, because the book does such a good job of putting you in his shoes. And he doesn't think he's great, or invincible, or even that anything he did was right. He can be a decent person, and in the end that really has you rooting for him. So hey, anyone that can get you symphasing with a hitman definitely deserves some points. BUT, there are also some characters that just get on my nerves. Magdalena, a, important character I suppose,  really added nothing to the book but some groans of "oh not her again".  The parts with her often felt superfluous and we're just plain boring, not to mention just randomly raunchy. The point was that she brought some sort of light into Pietro's life, but I just couldn't see it. Maybe if she had actually DONE something to show why she was so special I woukd have liked her better, but I honestly came to think that Pietro was just under that weird spell of first love where everything is sunshine and daisies. Seriously, I never saw him give one real, substantial reason for caring as much as he did. It was all just "oh she's the light of my life". 


The plot was one of the best points. Aside from the boring parts which are honestly still interesting enough to get through relatively quickly, the plot was surprisingly interesting. It was far more than I had expected. It was complex behind belief, but everything tied together and at the end it leaves you going "ooooh". And "oh MAN". Because damn, you wouldn't believe some of the stuff that happens to Pietro-or that he does to others. Basically, he could write a book about it. Aha! Okay but seriously, most of the reason I have this book 4 stars and not like, a 3 1/2 was because of the plot. Yeah, it can get slow or a bit much to wrap your head around at times, but it usually clicks pretty quickly, and you
find yourself even more driven to read on. Honestly you just have to be impressed with some of the things this guy comes up with, even if it does gross you the hell out. So kudos to you, Josh Bazell. You have amazed me with your imagination. 


A great book. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the sequel. However, it's not so fantastic that I'm going to buy the sequal right away. It's more of a, "I look forward to it, but it can wait" thing. Now, that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. It definitely is. If I had to read the book over again, I probably would. It has enough strong points to balance out the things that can get annoying, and all in all it's a pretty fast read. So I'd say, if you want something fast and interesting, pick this up! You're probsnly going to like it either way, you just might not rave about it. Though if you know someone who has read it also, it definitely makes for some very interesting conversations. Id like to see a book club tackle this baby. 


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