Book review: Beat The Reaper - Josh Bazell


The Doctor will see you now....

Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan ER Doctor who has a past he'd prefer to stay hidden. When a figure from the old days emerges it looks increasingly unlikely that his secret will stay intact.

Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is given three months to live, and it's clear to Peter that the clock is ticking for both of them. He must do whatever it takes to keep him - and his patient - alive.

It's time to beat the reaper....

My opinion.
The promise of reading an "international bestseller" as well as the synopsis got me really excited about this book. I even liked the cover. When I first started reading though, I felt really confused. A few chapters into the story things became a bit more "cohesive", although the overall book feels schizophrenic. Josh Bazell alternates between the past and the present and makes his MC, Peter Brown, tell the story about his past almost up until it catches up to the present. Although I liked that concept and it actually worked for the story, those two parts felt too different to make it into one story about one person. From the start I felt really disgusted by those "present parts" of the book. The way things were going on at that hospital, the way he handled his colleagues and patients, his drug abuse,...  
I quite enjoyed the parts about his mafia past. It felt like a crime journal and it's really those chapters that encouraged me to continue reading. Although I struggled through those as well.
The footnotes more often than not interrupted the story and I caught myself skipping more and more of them as the story went on.
The medical malpractice and the overall organization of the hospital, the profanity and unnecessary vulgarity made what could have been a great mafia-crime-novel into a book I very much disliked. The last chapters, both in his "past" and "present", were just too much. The sharks, the descriptions of her body, the freezer,... Not for me, unfortunately.




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