Monday, April 20, 2015

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Fast-moving, fluid, and joyously dark, Beat the Reaper sucks you into the worlds of Peter Brown, MD, and Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwna, Mob hitter-- one man, two identities, one of which is protected.  Guess which one?

In the present, Peter's life as an intern is something like Hell.  He lives on pharmaceutical samples of speed in a hospital so riddled with racism and corruption that everyone is just out to cover their own ass.  He's getting through it though, sometimes even making a positive difference in the lives of the staff and patients he works with.

Then the past comes to call, in the form of a Mob guy with stomach cancer who recognizes him and blabs before Peter can figure out what to do.

My problem with Mob books in general is that I can't bring myself to care what happens to the characters-- if you're embroiled in the world of violent crime, what do you expect but a bad end?  Predictable.  But Beat the Reaper is not a Mob book-- it's a book about a kid whose love, loyalty, and need led him to the wrong family.  Full of liars, betrayal, and moments of grace, it comes at you like a speeding train.

This one I listened to via Library2Go, but we have the hardcopy  and the book on CD too.

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