Beat the Reaper

The story of author Josh Bazell is an interesting contrast to that of Stieg Larsson's; while Stieg died shortly after delivering his manuscripts for what would be a bestselling series, Josh wrote his debut novel to kill time during his medical internship, already having a BA in English from Brown and a MD from Columbia. In short, I felt the Larsson's story made me want to read his book, whereas Bazell's story made me want to roll my eyes at his already achieved levels of success. Really, you went to Brown? You have an MD? You make lots of money? And you can write? Puke!So, my guard up, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the praise heaped on Bazell's book is largely deserved. His style reminded me a lot of Charlie Huston, only Charlie's "Caught Stealing", which this reminded me of, is superior is every way. Beat the Reaper is a solidly entertaining book, but feels like a first effort. More details of the characters should have been put in to flesh them out, and the ending felt truncated. Certainly enough medical insights and gore to keep your average reader glued, this was a good debut that will earn a look at his second, but not enough to expect a great sequel.

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