Today’s Debut of the Day pick is Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, the rare book that could be described as both a romp and a murder-mystery. Bazell, who trained as a doctor before writing the novel, serves up plenty of laughs alongside the action in a story that will please fans of Janet Evanovich and Timothy Hallinan.
When it comes to the human body, Bazell knows his bones. He has an M.D. from Columbia University and is a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco. His protagonist, Pietro Brnwa, is also a doctor—an overworked Manhattan hospital intern who goes by the name Peter Brown. Pietro took an unusual road to his Hippocratic oath, having spent his earlier years as a mob hit man nicknamed "The Bearclaw." After seeing the error of his ways—which in the mafia means he testified against his former employers and joined the witness protection program—he became a doctor as penance. Not surprisingly, Brnwa's former life catches up with him.
Read the full review from our January 2009 issue here.
Middle-aged death-metal rock star Jude Coyne doesn't know what he's in for when he buys a Floridian ghost from an online auction site to add to his collection of ghoulish curiosities, which includes a 16th-century skull and a snuff film that effectively ended his marriage. The ghost arrives in the form of a black suit folded into a black heart-shaped box, but it doesn't stay there. As soon as the suit emerges from the box, Jude's life is invaded by Craddock, a dead man with a deadly plan. And in facing this very real ghost in the present, Jude is forced to face many ghosts from his past, including his terrifyingly abusive father, a girlfriend who died tragically and his fallen band mates.
Read the full review from our February 2007 issue here.