Bazell, Josh. Beat the Reaper (Peter Brown, #1). Little, Brown and Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0316032223 320 pp. $
Intern Peter Brown is inconveniently mugged on his was to his shift at Manhattan Catholic Hospital early one morning, but it’s no worry–he used to be a professional hitman, so he manages to disarm and knock out his assailant before confiscating his gun and carrying him to work with him. When he responds to a page about a patient in the resort styled VIP wing, he’s stunned to find his worlds collide again; the patient calls him Bearclaw, breaching Brown’s WITSEC identity, and jumpstarting the novel’s tandem stories, Brown’s past as a teenage hitman, and his present shitty day.
Bazell brilliantly and successfully mixes the mafia with a medical thriller. I loved all the little tidbits of information I gleaned from the book, loved the voice, loved the black humor, the footnotes, the pacing. His use of tense to distinguish the present from the past was successful for me.