Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Beat the Reaper

Beat the Reaper Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a flat-out silly book. Part tough-guy Jewish fantasy -- the hero routinely takes out mini-platoons of Mafia hitmen with his fists or a knife -- and part medical procedural, the story moves quickly but never asks you to take it too seriously.

That said, the book is redeemed in some real measure by its strong narrative voice. The epilogue tells us that the entire work -- including the medical background -- is fictional, but there's a knowing, semi-condescending/semi-"hang with me bro'" quality to it that I really enjoyed. When, to take one example, he explains what happens to a human body when a bullet flies into it, it's a strangely illuminating moment. Our tough guy hero knows what he's talking about.

That voice might get old over an extended time, but the whole book is a shot of adrenaline, and -- over so small a space -- I generally enjoyed it. It's fun enough and clever enough to work.

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