Hot Debut Reviewed

The WSJ  predicted  that Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper will be THE debut novel of January and the American Bookseller’s Association’s Indie Next list picked it as their top selection for the month.

Looks like it’s a hit with reviewers, anyway. This Sunday, both the NYT BR and the Washington Post Book World give it raves in their Jan 11 issues.

Ron Charles, a senior editor for the Book World, calls Beat the Reaper a “reader’s dream” and a “comic thriller.” The narrator of the novel is Dr. Peter Brown, formerly a member of the mafia, who escaped witness protection to become an ER doc in a rundown Manhattan hospital. As Charles describes the plot,

Beat the Reaper opens with a mugging, followed by sex in a hospital elevator with a cute drug rep, and then it races along for eight manic hours in what looks like the last day of Peter’s career — and perhaps his life.

He sums it up,

Bazell has sutured together Alan Alda’s Capt. Hawkeye and James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano, and so long as he keeps everything operating fast enough, it’s too much fun and too much gore to take your eyes off the page. Beware the risk of dependency: This is the first of a planned series, and movie versions aren’t far behind. 

The last reference is to the fact that Variety announced this week that Leonardo DiCaprio has bought the screen rights, and plans to star in it.

Variety notes that there was a major publishing auction for the book and Bazell, a doctor, “was in his hospital scrubs on the night shift as publishers waged a seven-figure fight for his first novel.”

The author is scheduled to appear on the Today show on Jan. 13. 

Libraries have ordered it in modest quantities, with holds in some areas. 

Beat the Reaper

by Josh Bazell

  • Hardcover: $24.99; 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0316032220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316032223
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; $29.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1600244327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600244322
  • Also on OverDrive
  • Paperback: $24.99; 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0316037559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316037556

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