Beat the Reaper

Customer Reviews

2,982 Ratings

Overall Ratings

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars

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5 out of 5 stars
By Chris - Audible on 04-17-12


This was recommended to me by a fellow editor, and I’m thankful that it was. Bazell’s writing is reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk, and Petkoff’s pacing and tone match perfectly. The narrator is also pretty skilled at accents. Our protagonist, Peter, introduces himself as a doctor in a Manhattan hospital, but we quickly learn about his past as a mob hitman, and how those two worlds collide. It was a great car listen, and a promising start from a new author.

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42 of 43 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By DMcClureDVM on 05-29-09

Crazy Mix of Medicine and Mafia

Beat the Reaper is a crazy mix of medicine and Mafia. If you like medicine that it technically accurate and deservedly cynical, add in a Mafia hit man who becomes a doctor and you will be on track. Clearly, Josh Bazell used the on-call sleepless hours of his medical training letting his imagination run in a variety of misguided directions. Even when you know where he is taking you can’t really believe it. This is a book I couldn’t wait for friends to read so we could talk about the crazy ending. Catch the YouTube trailer and you will get the flavor of Beat the Reaper.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By mindusq on 01-07-13

Fun, funny, fantastic!

If you like Don Winslow, if you like Lawrence Block, if you like Thomas Perry--even Jim Butcher, chances are you will love this novel as much as I do. Like others say, it's part Sopranos, part ER, part scary, part hilarious, part inventive, part ridiculous, a little bit sexy and completely entertaining.

Go Josh Bazell! Since I live in Oakland I want to go hunt him down in San Francisco and just stand there grinning at him.

And go Robert Petkoff--geez! What a terrific talent.


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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sylvia on 01-29-09

Listen and You'll Love it

This book was short but packed with everything you can imagine: mafia hits, love story, revenge, betrayal…The list goes on and on. The writing is fantastic and very funny. The book description does not do this book justice. The main character Pietro/Peter goes on a roller coaster ride throughout his life and you would love to just tell him to stop and walk away from it all. By far the most surprising part of this book is about the last 15 minutes – WHAT AN ENDING! Out of all of the books that I have listened to, this by far has the best narration. You must LISTEN!!!!!!!! Download the book and I know you won’t regret it.

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47 of 49 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 03-07-16

2009, What Happened?

When this came out in 2009, it was hot. A look at when the glowing reviews came out, show that most of the Bazell lovers listened in 2009 or 2010. Since than the overall rating has dropped to 3.9. Makes you wonder what happened.

From the beginning I felt this was a pretty cool story. It involved the mob, the holocaust, and doctors. After a couple of hours the mystery of who killed the main character's parents is solved and now the story is plotless. As a documentary it would be pretty cool. A documentary with attitude. I bought it though thinking it was a suspense novel. Josh could not make up his mind if he wanted his documentary to be about the mob, Jews or medicine, so he threw a bunch of stats and descriptions at us peppered with the F bomb constantly. I prefer, to read Puzo, when getting my mafia fix, or Elie Wiesel to learn about the holocaust and if you catch me reading Gray's Anatomy take my temperature.

Narrator is excellent

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132 of 142 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Patrick Stone on 06-17-10

Dude Lit?

Beat The Reaper is squarely aimed at men -- DUDES, actually -- with plenty of violence, sex, profanity, and assorted other "tough guy" stuff. It's a fun, different, and fast-paced thrill ride. Its narrator uses medical and scientific explanations of things that happen to him. These expositions provide a sense of medical credibility and realism that entertain and even educate. Where the story lacks is in realism of another sort, related to is its plot focus on the mafia, hit men, hit jobs, the Federal Witness Protection Program, and just about any way that these things connect to the physician narrator's life--even if he is supposed to have a checkered past. Beat The Reaper is not a taut medical thriller or even a suspenseful medical story. But it's a fun ride, set in a hospital, centered around a doctor, and chocked full of testosterone, blood, and bravado. If you can suspend your disbelief, you will enjoy the story; it moves at a refreshingly fast, and action-laden pace. Forget what you thought you knew about doctors and strap in for an adventure.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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