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Extended Audio Sample Beat the Reaper: A Novel Audiobook, by Josh Bazell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,832 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Josh Bazell Narrator: Robert Petkoff Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Dr. Peter Brown Series Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781600244339
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Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, and topped off by a visit with a new patient—and from there Peter’s day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder. It just so happens that his new patient knows Peter from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he’s a doctor now is thanks to the witness protection program—and even they can’t protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he’s got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time—and beat the reaper.

Beat the Reaper is not just the only novel that will be compared to Quentin Tarantino’s films, Grey’s Anatomy, and Chuck Palahniuk—it’s also the most original and entertaining debut thriller you’ll read for a long time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Electrifyingly hilarious in that Elmore Leonard way.”

    Time

  • This mordant and maniacal debut has junkie doctors and negligent nurses galore, which is somewhat brow-raising given that it was penned by a genuine doctor. Robert Petkoff does an excellent job integrating the author's dispassionate asides (figured in the printed book as footnotes) into the main story. Audible.Com Editor's Pick
  • I couldn't wait to slip in the next CD...It's not just this setup that works so wonderfully; it's Bazell's brutal, completely contemporary way of telling his story that is so compelling. Brown is a fully realized, pill-popping, arm-twisting maniac whose back-story is told exuberantly by first-person narrator Robert Petkoff, in a brilliant performance. Winston Salem Journal
  • I couldn't wait to slip in the next CD...It's not just this setup that works so wonderfully; it's Bazell's brutal, completely contemporary way of telling his story that is so compelling. Brown is a fully realized, pill-popping, arm-twisting maniac whose back-story is told exuberantly by first-person narrator Robert Petkoff, in a brilliant performance. Winston Salem Journal
  • “The hero’s wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazell’s artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro’s past, are a winning combination.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “There’s enough male fantasy packed into these pages to temporarily relieve the worst case of mid-life crisis.”

    Washington Post

  • “[It] won’t fail to entertain. But despite its quirkiness and brutality, it contains surprisingly thoughtful scenes. Beat the Reaper also addresses real—and serious—issues that both doctors and hospitals face.”

    Bookmarks

  • “It’s an ingenious premise for a thriller, and Bazell pulls it off…Beat the Reaper only gets better, turn by turn, page by page. Savvy and savagely diverting, it’s a Tarantino movie made with Scorsese looking over his shoulder.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Bazell’s attention to character detail and plot twists creates an impressive work.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 Audie Award Finalist
  • Selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A 2010 Barry Award Finalist for Best First Novel
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • Selected for the January 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alyson | 2/16/2014

    " Fun book! Dr. Peter Brown is a character not to be forgotten anytime soon. Much more than a bad boy doctor, this cold blooded killer's vast medical knowledge helps to keep him and chosen others alive through many near fatal scrapes that seem to occur regularly in the realm of the mafia. This is a very fast paced and often humorous account of a man who fell into a life that was perhaps more predictable that it seemed at first. The body count is high and blood and gore are everywhere. Drugs too; Nurse Jackie has nothing on this doc in the rx department. Yet Pietro loves, and is loved. And can care and show compassion to his patients and other human beings. This murderer is not so much a villain. So I rooted for him. In the real world would I want Dr. Brown at my bedside? Definitely. But only on the written page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irina Paley | 2/13/2014

    " I liked almost everything about this book - the main character was well developed and intriguing, the action was fast paced, the drama was intense, the moral ambiguity was just right, the biology was really disgusting, but in that good way that teaches you interesting facts while completely grossing you out. I must admit, this book reads a bit like a comic book (a very good comic book) and if you approach it with that mind set you will enjoy it tremendously (whereas if you approach it like you would a high-falutin' novel of great significance, you will definitely feel a bit off throughout). Overall, this was a fun experience, and an impressive debut. I highly recommend it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emilio Amaro | 2/11/2014

    " This book is an absolute buzzkillington. I picked up this book assuming I was getting an action packed story and instead I get a book written by an intern who fills the need to inform everybody how much he's learned in the medical field. Good for you, you know more about hospitals than J.D., Turk, Dr.Cox and Creepy Janitor combined. If I wanted medical facts I would've just picked up a copy of Grey's Anatomy. I seriously cannot stress enough how every paragraph of this book is like the medical version of the Buzzkillington character from Family Guy "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lizpeveto | 2/9/2014

    " Mafia hitman turned medical student thru witness protection program. A little far fetched and too much cussing plus the ending is a little uncertain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margot | 2/8/2014

    " This is the first and ONLY book I've ever reread. It's that good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 2/6/2014

    " ARC from Regal "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 1/31/2014

    " Fantastic. Fantastic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alyssa | 1/29/2014

    " I didn't finish this. Started out kinda funny and interesting, but the deeper we got into the mob stuff and the gruesome details of that and the medical issues the main character now faced as a doctor, the grosser and ickier I felt. It was getting to where I had to force myself to pick it up to continue reading, so about halfway through I stopped. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/20/2014

    " Pure brain candy. Brilliantly executed, terrific pace and plotting. It's also hilariously funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/5/2014

    " I completely enjoyed this quirky book! Smartly funny, quick-paced and just plain fun. It's about an ex-mafia hitman who enters witness protection and becomes a physician at a Manhattan hospital...written by a real doctor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Art | 12/17/2013

    " Great book. Endlessly inventive and smart. Fast paced. Couldn't put it down; hated to finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Benjamin | 12/8/2013

    " I really wanted to like this book, and I did in the beginning. Then it got boring, I really don't care about nursing jargon and wish the author spent less time talking about that. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 David | 11/30/2013

    " Funny moments, but all flash in the pan thriller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Timis Daniel | 9/15/2013

    " The plot is a very film like, the dialogs filled with cursing make it all seem a bit fake but the irnoy makes up for moast of the downfalls. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 William | 6/29/2013

    " Engagingly written, but just too silly a premise and plot to be really good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel Cooksey | 6/23/2013

    " Profane and brutal, but also engrossing and captivating. The medical aspects of the book elevated it beyond just another crime thriller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brandon | 5/23/2013

    " Seem to drag in the beginning and didn't pick up until more then half way trough it. Overall probably one of the slowest(in the fiction area) books I read all year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Mann | 11/22/2012

    " What a strange trip of a book. Very gory, the main character is unlikeable but you get involved in his story anyway. Quite interesting until the end, which I found to be a mess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Pietrosante | 7/30/2012

    " Best use of one's own shin bone to kill someone in literary history. Pretty solid. Scary to think medical facilities really run like this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuliya | 12/30/2011

    " Why doesn't good reads allow half stars? I want to rate this book 3.5 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Harmer | 9/26/2011

    " I truly enjoyed this book. I appreciated the story and the author's writing style. i would definately read another book written by Josh Bazell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danette | 7/29/2011

    " Despite the vulgar language, this had a good story if you like mob-like fiction. The footnotes on almost every page were distracting. Hard to believe a Dr. (or even an educated person) wrote this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tiffany | 6/28/2011

    " I loved this book! Read my review here "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nur Izzati | 6/20/2011

    " Didnt finish this, when it gets to the killing and mafia thingy, it gets boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 5/22/2011

    " This is "Dr. House" meets the the "Soprano's" and the fight scene is not for the faint hearted "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 5/18/2011

    " Husband got me this book. I was skeptical at first b/c the plot sounded super cheesy, but it ended up being pretty good. I enjoyed it, at least. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reggie | 5/14/2011

    " This was an interesting book. It is written in a kind of course manner but it really works for the story line very well. I won't give away any spoilers other than to say "Holy Crap!" for the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tetsu | 5/10/2011

    " It's Awesome!I'm waiting next "Wild Thing". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 5/8/2011

    " Different. It was all over the place and yet held my attention enough to finish the book and see what happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Genine | 5/8/2011

    "
    Offbeat, fascinating; I liked this book. My friends did not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leif Erik | 5/3/2011

    " Hilarious. Imagine a young sociopathic House as scripted by Chuck Palahniuk. Fiercely unsentimental & Bazell doesn't make the mistake of being needy about the reader liking the protagonist. The prose is Atul Gawande channelling Dashielle Hammett. Strongly recommended.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 B. | 4/30/2011

    " Beat the Reaper is like The Sopranos on crack. Lots of gore, double crosses, machismo, and more than a little gratuitous sex thrown in for good measure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 4/29/2011

    " Very funny and very rough good for early twenties, late teens "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jake | 4/28/2011

    " Good, entertaining thriller. Went down easy. Quickly forgotten about afterwards. Really enjoyed some of the weird little medical factoids in it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vasil | 4/23/2011

    " Very, very, very good. Good story, great writing, a real pleasure to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drew | 4/20/2011

    " Solid, fun, quick read. Very enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 4/20/2011

    " A mashup of hospital drama and mafia intrigue, this book certainly has a lot of action to it. Parts of it are also very funny. And yet, it missed a certain undefinable likability that prevented me from being able to give it a higher rating. "

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About the Author
Author Josh Bazell

Josh Bazell’s first novel, Beat the Reaper, was a New York Times bestseller, named one of Time’s ten best novels of 2009, and has been published in thirty-two languages. He has a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia University. Bazell currently lives in Brooklyn.

About the Narrator

Robert Petkoff is an audiobook narrator who has won a prestigious Audie Award and twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime.