Customer Reviews for

Beat the Reaper: A Novel

Average Rating 4
( 156 )
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5 Star

(67)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

the book everyone's talking about!

don't be the last on your block to read this high-octane and hilarious thriller which will have you breathing hard through the whole 5 hours you'll be holding the damp covers in your clammy hands.
hard to imagine a book that is educational AND sensational but here i...
don't be the last on your block to read this high-octane and hilarious thriller which will have you breathing hard through the whole 5 hours you'll be holding the damp covers in your clammy hands.
hard to imagine a book that is educational AND sensational but here it is. you'll be lost in a uniquely entertaining world and ready for the next installment from this young author! (and also primed, it seems, to see the Leo DiCaprio movie they're planning to make from this hot little number.....)

UNLEASH THE HOUNDS!

posted by NancyHardy on January 20, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not For Everyone

I'd give this another 1/2 star if I could. I had seen some mixed reviews on this book, but decided to read it anyway and form my own opinion. I enjoyed this book a lot. Yes, it's violent and vulgar at times, but I expected that from the outset and didn't mind it a bi...
I'd give this another 1/2 star if I could. I had seen some mixed reviews on this book, but decided to read it anyway and form my own opinion. I enjoyed this book a lot. Yes, it's violent and vulgar at times, but I expected that from the outset and didn't mind it a bit. I've read books containing much worse. If you are expecting the next great piece of literature, this book is not for you. If you want a quick read that's a wild ride with outlandish action and are willing to forgive the believability for awhile, you definitely need to read this book. Pretty much an action movie in print. I enjoyed the cast of characters, laughed out loud many times, and am looking forward to the next installment in Peter's saga. Oh...and I also hope I never have to spend another minute as a hospital patient after reading this book!

posted by TWTaz on March 23, 2009

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Page turner

    The footnotes in this book are great. Page turner that will have you finishing this book in short order. Great premise.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outrageous and oddly haunting

    I saw this book in the bookstore at the weekend with a blue cover, and again in yellow. My copy's red. Very odd. And it's a very odd book, besides being thoroughly entertaining, intriguing and absorbing.

    The story's set in a Manhattan hospital, where a doctor tries to "beat the reaper" in the medical sense, whilst also trying to escape his own personal reaping. His past-well, you'd have to read the story. The tale is told in first person present tense, which works perfectly. It feels like listening to a very strange, possibly deranged, but superbly intelligent person telling his life, and it draws you in completely. I learned the oddest of medical facts from the footnotes, including why bone grafts come from the leg. And the story took me from the world of Polish Jews to the Italian Mafia, to murder, mayhem and hospital.

    There are scenes that are definitely not for the squeamish, told with a deft hand that lets this slightly squeamish reader safely off the hook-a very deft hand. And the whole is a curiously satisfying madcap adventure with just enough seriousness to haunt you when it's done. Highly recommended. Outrageous fun.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Okay, I¿ll admit to a soft spot for books I describe as ¿a box f

    Okay, I’ll admit to a soft spot for books I describe as “a box full of crazy.” Beat the Reaper certainly fits that description. An exercise in audacious bad taste from page one, it takes on both Mob procedurals and medical thrillers and leaves them with bloody noses (and other things).

    Books of this sort need an antihero protagonist, and this one has two in the body of one man: Dr. Peter Brown, intern from Hell at the hospital from Hell, and Pietro Brnwa, stone killer for the Mob until he disappeared into Witness Protection. Dr. Brown takes us on a forced march through a couple days during which one of his patients recognizes him from his previous career, with unfortunate results; Pietro spends some time explaining how he ended up in this situation in the first place. Both stories are kaleidoscopes of bad behavior, random nasty death, recreational and occupational pharmaceutical abuse, sex in improbable places, sharks – finned and two-legged – and exceedingly unattractive people with unusual nicknames. No, really, it’s a lot more fun than you might think, especially if you have a strong stomach.

    Brown/Brnwa, despite being a brutal, nearly reflexive killer, is actually okay company, the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind hearing tell stories at the bar (thinking he’s making them up) as long as you can sit closer to the door. His footnoted digressions are usually both funny and informative. It’s hard to call such a person “sympathetic,” and he isn’t really, but he’s less repellent than most of the other major characters and you need someone like him to make it through this wild trip, so he’s the one you ride with. That the most sympathetic character is a big-pharma sales rep tells you something about this novel’s universe.

    Settings are well-realized and the characters are vivid and distinctive. Bazell is a doctor, and those medical scenes have an aura of disturbing authenticity that will make you vow to die before you ever step inside a hospital again. At the same time, the Mob-life scenes also have a kind of reality even though they’re about as different from The Godfather as you can get.

    As in Savages, there’s really nobody in this book you’d want to spend a lot of time with; after you left that bar you met Brown/Brnwa in, you’d be looking over your shoulder for weeks. The climax goes so over-the-top and gets so nasty that all the stuff you’ve been shoving back into your stomach up to that point will come knocking on your larynx’s back door…and then things get wrapped up amazingly neatly in a fictional world that’s been hella messy until the last chapter. That’s what happened to the fifth star, in case you wondered. I really, really want half a star.

    Twisted, brutal, crazy, funny, outlandish, messy – did I miss anything? Doesn’t matter. If you think Savages is too reality-based and that Serge Storms could really rock if he started getting serious about his killing, you’ll love this. If you’re tired of introspective addiction-of-the-week protagonists Trying to Do the Right Thing and want to see the hero do the wrong thing most of the time, you’ll love this. Beat the Reaper will cleanse your palate of that Nordic-noir thing you just read. Did I mention there’s a sequel (Wild Thing)? There is. I’ll read it, let you know how it goes. You? Get cracking on this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    This is a very descriptive and winding tale. Past and present ev

    This is a very descriptive and winding tale. Past and present events are interwoven into a cohesive and enjoyable tale of a man running from the past. In a way, the tale is reminiscent of a graphic novel (without the graphics.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Sick and twisted-a good read

    I alternated between cringing, laughing, and frantically turning the page to see what happens next. Part Pulp Fiction,part "House", this is an original story by an original voice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    A good, easy read.

    An intense and enjoyable ride. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments keep the pages turning while your thirst for the truth is maintained through various twists and surprises. A good read a long as you dont mind vulgarity and violence.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Gasp!

    Beat the Reaper will have you gasping in shock throughout this strange, but compulsive read. Bazell combines the weird and tender with James Bond-style traps, but the outcomes are all unique to this author. This is a whole new genre for Dexter fans, Godfather aficionados, Valley of the Dolls experimentation with drugs and sex, all with organ-by-organ, medical settings with more blood than both of the above. Truly, a one-of-a-kind novel, fast read, unbelievable, but unable to put it down. Can't wait for the Bazell's next book.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Awesome imagination! (or was it REALLY imagination??)

    I ordered this book since it was so highly recommended and it did not disappoint. Original plot, GREAT footnotes, unique characters... I started reading on Sunday and was late to work on Monday morning because I couldn't put the book down! The dark and dry humor was just my style! The only semi-disappointing aspect was the ending. I don't need full closure but MAYBE a little more resolution on this one. It was almost like the author was in a hurry to finish. BUT the book is still on my gift giving list!

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  • Posted December 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Almost too hot to handle!

    An amazing page turner that keeps you engrossed from the very beginning. The story is told in a gripping stream of consciousness style that I couldn't put down.

    The narrator takes us from the murder of his grandparents/guardians; through his plot to extract revenge for their deaths; to a time as a mob assassin; into the Witness Protection Program and finally into his current life as a doctor at Manhattan Christian Hospital, the bottom rung of the city's hospitals.

    Follow Dr. Peter Brown through his most daunting challenge of all, when he's identified by a terminal patient (and mob made man!) as The Bearclaw, his old mob moniker, and threatened with exposure to mobsters seeking revenge, if Dr. Brown doesn't bring him through life threatening surgery safely! Can he beat the reaper?

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Entertaining, a Must Read!

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Beat the Reaper." Pietro's (or Dr. Peter Brown) character was intriguing and humorous and this book put a new spin on the traditional mafia story. Even though the main character had few, if any character flaws, the book was very different and a refreshing read. It reminded me of Chuck Palahnuik's books alot (author of Fight Club.)

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A good ride

    A great comedic thriller about a former mafia hitman who, via the witness protection program, becomes a doctor working in a busy hospital in Manhattan. The book is completely ridiculous and I mean that (mostly) in a good way. The author is an MD himself and has sprinkled the book with a ton of footnotes describing dubious medical "facts" as well as insights about large hospitals and the American medical system in general - many of which are rather frightening but, while still absurd, somehow seem very plausible. There are a couple of scenes towards the end of the book where things go from ridiculous into the realm of "oh come on now" but still, overall the book was great entertainment and I definitely look forward checking out to any new work from Bazell.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Good for a rainy day

    Enjoyable fast read

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  • Posted May 14, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Wide-Eyed and Slack-Jawed

    Wow. Wow. Beat the Reaper felt so scattered, yet it all came together so well. I look forward to whatever else Josh Bazell has to put on the market. Beat the Reaper is about Peter Brown, a drug-addicted sex maniac that used to be in the mob. Oh. And he is a practicing doctor in a hospital. This book is not for children. Beat the Reaper was highly amusing and held my attention better than anything else I have read, except perhaps the books I have in my recommendations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    A doctor with a very interesting skill set

    I picked this book up after seeing Bazell in a promotional interview. I didn't read it right away, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. Beat the Reaper is wildly original, offbeat and funny. I'll look forward to more from Bazell in the future.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Didn't Quite Know

    what to expect. New Author, a honest to goodness Doctor now writing a humorous fiction book??? Well, I can't wait for the next one!!

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    Posted March 2, 2010

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    Posted January 20, 2010

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    Posted August 8, 2012

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    Posted October 23, 2009

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    Posted January 8, 2009

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