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Bookmarks: Pages raise readers’ pulses

26 January 2014 By Laura Antonucci, Columnist 8 Comments
Review: "Beat the Reaper"

“Beat the Reaper” is no ordinary novel. It is not like anything I had ever read, from the first to the last page.

It’s like if “House” met “Die Hard” and they were books instead of TV and movies. To say it’s fast paced would be an understatement, and even though it’s pretty lengthy, I couldn’t put it down.

Josh Bazell does an awesome job incorporating what might seem like almost too many plot lines into the same book.

There is romance, revenge, societal influence, avenging family members, mafia activity and medical jargon in hilarious footnotes and Bazell keeps all these aspects of the story in line for the reader.

When something new was introduced, I never once felt overwhelmed or confused. Bazell keeps all these storytelling elements straight by telling two stories about the same person at the same time.

It’s both a day in the life of and the life story of the narrator, Peter Brown. Sound too much like an average name to you? Well, you would be right.

However, Peter Brown is no ordinary doctor, and his “life story” provides the insane background for the “day-in-the-life” plot. I would say “day from hell,” but I don’t want to give too much away.

“Beat the Reaper” sounds like an intimidating read at first, and with the medical aspect of the novel, I can understand why it was not widely read. However, the medical jargon is fully explained and doesn’t weigh down the rapid-fire movement of the rest of the story.

The dialogue and the narration make the reader feel like they are inside Peter Brown’s head, allowing the reader to literally come along for the ride and experience the reality of “the day from hell” in full force. It was a relief to make it to the last page, but when I did, I wanted more. Fortunately, Bazell left the ending open, and even wrote a sequel.

A thrill ride of a novel, “Beat the Reaper” is like a getaway—a mental escape from everything else.

Easily read in one or two sittings, it can be found on sale (or at least super cheap) and is worth the shelf space.


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