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Wild Thing

Wild Thing: A Novel by Josh Bazell (Reagan, Arthur Books, $25.99, 400 pages)

Eagerly awaited by fans of Beat the Reaper, Josh Bazell’s caustic, damaged, mob hit man-turned-doctor is back – still running from the mob and marked for death.   This time, hiding out as Lionel Azimuth, a physician on a cruise ship, he’s tapped by a reclusive billionaire for a mercenary mission in the wilds of Minnesota.

Wild Thing is funny – loaded with footnotes in which the scientist in Dr. Azimuth documents his sources and explains his assumptions.   It’s also profane and raw, and the sexual tension between Azimuth and Violet, the beautiful paleontologist he accompanies on the junket to validate or debunk stories of a man-eating Loch Ness-type beast, is only partially due to his overly obvious attraction to her and to air so thick with pheromones that it crunches.   The flame is also fanned by their easy banter, which swings from Greek history to Scooby-Doo.

“How many people have you killed?” she asks, after he finally decides to trust her enough to reveal his past.

“I don’t know.   Around twenty.”

“You don’t know?” she asks.

“There were some situations where some of them might have lived.”

Azimuth is a hulking man whose physical size adds a layer of monstrousness that belies the funny, intelligent, sensitive man that he is at heart.   But Wild Thing has a tough act to follow.   Beat the Reaper, Bazell’s bestselling first novel, put the same protagonist (aka Pietro Brwna/Peter Brown) in the struggle that defines him: the quest to come to grips with the violent events that orphaned him both physically and emotionally.   Although the tension between good and evil is still present, the demons Azimuth faces in the sequel are cartoonish and played for laughs.

Post-traumatic stress disorder nightmares?   LSD-enhanced monsters?   Sarah Palin in a speaking role?   Bring on, as Azimuth would say.   But the despair that made him so compelling in Beat the Reaper – a brooding, misunderstood, pragmatically lethal Shrek who kills to stay alive – is missing in Wild Thing.

Wild Thing, an entertaining romp through contemporary U.S. politics and evolutionary zoology, is well recommended.   But if you haven’t read either of Bazell’s books yet, save Beat the Reaper for last.   That’s the one that will leave you wanting more.

Kimberly Caldwell

This book was purchased by the reviewer.   Wild Thing was released on February 8, 2012.

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A review of Wild Thing: A Novel by Josh Bazell.

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We have winners!

Yes, Munchy did his feline duty and drew five winners from the large plastic container that contained many, many entries.   The winners of a fine trade paperback copy of Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell are:   Angela C., Jessica L., Lindsay Pasch, Bookfool, and Pearl Berger.

Our winners came from the states of Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia.

Many thanks to Valerie at Hachette Books for the copies of Beat the Reaper.Beat the reaper audio 

Congratulations to our five winners, and thanks to all who entered this contest!   At some point in the near future, we’ll be hosting our fourth book giveaway.   Bookmark this site!

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A Book Giveaway: Beat the Reaper

We’re going to give away five (5) trade paperback copies of Beat the Reaper, a fun debut novel from author and M.D. Josh Bazell.   This is a debut thriller “so utterly original you won’t be able to guess what happens next.”   (Google Books)   Beat the Reaper is about Pietro Brnwa, a contract killer for the Mafia, who winds up entering the federal Witness Protection Program.   In order to keep him safe, the feds turn Pietro into Dr. Peter Brown, a reknowned surgeon.   Well, it turns out that mobster Eddy Squillante, who knows Pietro, is scheduled to have surgery for stomach cancer.  When “Dr. Peter Brown” comes to consult with Squillante prior to surgery, the jig may be up.   Or is it?

It seems that Squillante may be willing to bargain with “Dr. Brown,” and keep his identity safe if Pietro/Peter can keep Squillante on planet Earth.  This sounds like a real fun ride…   As per the New York Times, it’s a tale of a person who now “heals people instead of murdering them”!

Thanks to Valerie at Hachette Book Group for providing the giveaway copies.

Are you ready for the simple and easy contest rules?   To enter, you must be a resident of the United States or Canada with a valid street address; not a post office box.   Send your entries to josephsreviews@gmail.com by October 2, 2009.   To be entered once in this contest, send in your name and e-mail address; the latter will only be used to contact you if you are a winner.   To be entered a second time, tell me what identity you would assume if you were to enter the Witness Protection Program – doctor, lawyer, baker, candlestick maker, rock star, book reviewer?   Feel free to have fun and be creative!Beat the Reaper

All entries received by the end of the day on Friday, October 2nd will be placed in a very large and inexpensive plastic container and Munchy the cat will pick out the 5 winners.   The winners will be notified by e-mail on October 3, 2009.   Note:   The winners of our prior two book giveaways are not eligible for this contest; everyone else is.

That’s it.   Good luck and good reading!              

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