Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

"Beat the Reaper" by Josh Bazell

Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group

Rating: 4 stars

"Beat the Reaper" is about hitman for the mob named Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwa. It is also about Dr. Peter Brown, an overworked intern working at Manhattan Catholic hospital. Through the use of vivid flashbacks, readers learn that Peter is also Pietro, and his past ridden with a trail of murders and tragedy is finally catching up to him. Having been recruited into the mob by a close friend's father many years ago, he must now face the consequences of his actions. With the imminent threat of death upon him, he has eight hours to stay alive and 'beat the reaper'.

What I love about this book is its' originality. I was drawn to the unique storyline and especially the interesting characters, even though it all seemed a bit crazy. The writing style is engaging and direct, which is why I was a little confused by the seemingly random footnotes included throughout the book, which I don't think contributed much to the story.

There is a fair bit of vulgarity and one particular nausea-inducing scene, and yet I was always intrigued. The unexpected twists in the book were appreciated and made the book more enjoyable. Although there seems to be some method to the madness of this book, I was a little let down by the ending and was hoping for more of a dramatic turn of events for Peter/Pietro.

This book makes for a fast read and I finished it one sitting. I can't say that I felt particularly connected or sympathetic for any of the characters but they successfully held my attention and kept me turning the pages until the very end. "Beat the Reaper" is nothing if not fast-paced, exciting and even a little dangerous!

BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for my review copy.


Anonymous said...

I really liked this book too. I know the scene you're talking about - I literally read it through my fingers.

Anonymous said...

I keep missing a chance at this book but after reading your review, I am going to be more aggressive in trying to get my hands on one! Thanks for a wonderful post!