BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell


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The past comes knocking for a physician with a fistful of secrets.

Medical resident Bazell opens his debut novel with a bone-crunching interlude between Manhattan ER doctor Peter Brown and a mugger whom he beats senseless, then treats for injuries. Brown soon confesses that his real name is Pietro Brnwa. He’s a former hit man whose lethal trade drove him into the witness-protection program, where he reinvented himself as a pill-popping trauma physician. “It’s a weird curse, when you think about it,” says the killer turned doc. “We’re built for thought, and civilization, more than any other creature we’ve found. And all we really want to be is killers.” The past catches up with Brown when a terminal patient at the hospital recognizes him as the mob assassin called “Bearclaw.” The patient threatens to out Brown if he does not work to save the man’s life. Bazell’s profane, hyperactive novel is readable and fun, and no fan of shoot-’em-ups or medical dramas can afford to miss it. Among the book’s highlights is a riotous set of doctor’s rounds that find Brown making out with a cancer patient, chasing down a wheelchair-bound fugitive and suffering a particularly vile needle stick.

A wildly funny mashup between genres that makes ER and St. Elsewhere look tame.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-03222-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2008


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