Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, 304 pages
published in '09
What a hoot! From the opening mugging to the final, extremely unbelievable but exciting - I can't believe he did that! scene, I grinned and turned page after page, very quickly. I read somewhere it was described as House meets The Sopranos and that is a pretty good description.
Short, snappy, violent and crude, Peter Brown, doctor at a Manhattan hospital and member of the Witness Protection Program may have been identified and spends the rest of the book trying to decide what he should do. I preferred the present day story to his remembrance of what got him into the WPP, but the back story was necessary to set up the ending.
Bazell is a medical doctor who had written his first book, so the experience of interns in a hospital rings true, but I wouldn't want to be in that hospital! Footnotes appear now and then to elaborate on the medical information and was a neat addition and some might even be clues to future events in the story. I read through his quickly in one day and quite enjoyed it. If a book gets a good rating based on entertainment value, this gets full marks. Credulity and realism? Not so much, but loads of fun for people who don't mind crude language and lots of violence and have faith that their doctor would never be like that.
I just read at IMDB that Leonardo diCaprio has optioned the book and may star in the movie version. Very interesting. Also, there is a website, www.beattehreaper.com that has a fun game of 'play the intern and survive the day'. I didn't do so well on my first try.