Fizzy Thoughts

Beat the Reaper

with 29 comments

Beat the Reaper
Josh Bazell
Narrated by Robert Petkoff
6 hours 48 minutes
Hachette Audio


Since I knew I was going to be spending a little bit of quality time with my car stereo this past weekend (I drove down to Pasadena…more on that another day), I asked twitter to recommend the most “kick-ass” audio book ever listened to. I got all sorts of suggestions, and ended up going with Beat the Reaper, recommended by Cass, who is pretty kick-ass herself. I remember seeing this book around the blogosphere for awhile, but all I knew about it was the cover is butt-ugly. (Sorry, Hachette, but it is.)

I gotta warn you, this book isn’t for everyone (if you don’t like bad language, or graphic medical scenes, or blood, or sharks, or guns, or even Dr. House, then avoid this book like the plague). But as I listened to the sample, and heard the sarcastic tone of the narrator, and the frequent (VERY frequent) use of fuck-head (or is it fuck head without the hyphen? Audio books have their disadantages…) I knew that this was the book to keep me entertained. I must’ve looked like a crazed fool as I drove down Highway 101 alternately laughing and grimacing (especially when it came to that freezer scene…I’m sure my face was all kinds of contorted at that point).

Beat the Reaper is one day in the life of Dr. Peter Brown, formerly known as Pietro “Bear Claw” Brwna. As Dr. Brown goes about his doctorly duties (and dude’s got a bizarre bedside manner…think a younger, brawnier Dr. House with some surprising moments of compassion. However, as a general rule, Doc Brown says whatever the fuck he wants, just like House), he gets tossed back into his life as Pietro Brwna. He talks about how he got sucked into the mob, and then spit out and into the Witness Protection Program. Along the way there’s a shitload of bad language, bad doctoring, bad behavior, and just all around bad shit.

It’s a pretty wild ride. And if you think I cuss a lot in this post, it’s nothing (NOTHING!) compared to the book. Just be glad I didn’t discuss the freezer scene.


Written by softdrink

June 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

29 Responses

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  1. I **loved** this book! And I ***hate*** (normally) as much bad language as is in this book, but what a riot – and the freezer, well, best scene ever!!!!! He has a new book coming out supposedly this fall, supposedly called Dick, about a cruise ship doctor, which will be a play on Moby Dick. It will be perfect for us to do a readalong!!!


    June 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

  2. I loved this one when I read it, and I’m looking forward to the sequel. I don’t know if I could have gotten through the freezer scene on audio (I barely made it through with one eye closed in print), but I’m glad to hear it translated well to audio!


    June 14, 2011 at 7:03 am

    • I was never so grateful for the fact that I have a strong stomach as I was during that freezer scene!


      June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

  3. I loved this book too. I laughed and laughed, and then covered my mouth – he didn’t really do that! but yeah, it’s not for everyone.

    The sequel sounds promising…


    June 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    • I loved the epilogue, too, in which he emphasizes it’s ALL fiction!


      June 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

  4. I have a copy of this one and am even more excited for it now! It sounds like it was perfect for your road trip – I find that humorous things in the car (Tony and I have a certain podcast that we looooove) really make the time pass quickly!


    June 14, 2011 at 7:41 am

    • Yes, I barely remember the drive, which is kind of scary in a way!


      June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

  5. I have also heard a lot about this book, and since bad language and behavior doesn’t offend me, I think this might be a book worth reading. I bet the audio would be a fantastic choice for my husband and I to listen to together as well. Glad you enjoyed it Jill, and nice review, by the way!


    June 14, 2011 at 7:57 am

    • Thanks…never in a million years would I have chosen this on my own, but it really is good in a very bad way.


      June 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

  6. I loved this book when I read it but have to admit that I read that particular scene through my fingers. I’m not sure I could have taken it on audio. Did you know the author has a new book coming out next February?

    bermudaonion (Kathy)

    June 14, 2011 at 8:10 am

    • It was hard to keep both hands on the wheel…even in audio, you want to cover your eyes and mouth.


      June 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  7. I also loved this book (and listened to it in the car). I found that in some of the reeeeallly gross parts it was almost hard to drive because my attention would be so wrapped up in the book and my hands would involuntarily fly to my ears, mouth, face to (somehow?) protect myself from what I was hearing. In my review I actually warned readers about that! But it was SO incredibly entertaining. They are working on the movie version right now.


    June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    • I was doing the hand shaking thing that goes along with saying ewwwwwwwww. Also bad when you’re driving.


      June 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  8. Well . . . that sounds fun. Like Kathy, I’m not sure I could take it on audio. I think I might actually have a copy of the book from a drawing win, but I might be imagining that. The cover really is eye-catching in an awful way.

    Bookfool, aka Nancy

    June 14, 2011 at 10:34 am

  9. That cover is awful! It looks like some kind of comic book with lots of “ka-pows!”

    I’m a big fan of House and his unconventional bedside manner so this book sounds like something I’d love. I’ll probably have to get the actual book. I don’t think I could handle the audio.


    June 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    • I hear the book has footnotes, which I love. I know they were in the audio, but I couldn’t tell.


      June 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

  10. Bad language and bad behavior don’t bother me but graphic medical scenes . . . *flees*

    EL Fay

    June 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    • And there were more than just that freezer scene, so I’d recommend just pretending you never saw this post. Or the book.


      June 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  11. That freezer scene was a doozy wasn’t it? I read this and was in the wrong mood for it at the time. It must be taken with a giant grain of salt and not seriously in any way shape or form.


    June 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    • But it’s perfect for mini-road trips! As long as there aren’t any kids around.


      June 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  12. The butt-ugly cover is what’s kept me from picking this one up so far!


    June 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    • It’s easier to ignore the cover when you listen to the audio.


      June 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

  13. Haa! This sounds awesome!!!! I love House and cringe-worthy stuff. Sold!


    June 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    • Every time I watch House I’m all “he didn’t really say that, did he??”.


      June 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  14. I loved this audio! Listened to it a few years ago when I was training for the 3-Day Walk (yikes, I could still push The Little Guy in his stroller then).

    Very good choice for a long (solo) car trip!

  15. My brother read this book when it first came out and LOVED it (and he’s not much of a reader, so that’s saying something). I don’t know, though…doesn’t quite sound like my type of book! I don’t mind House, but the rest of it…not so much.


    June 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

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