Beat the Reaper
Don't read this book if: you shut your eyes during the gorey parts of Nip/Tuck; if you only watched the family-friendly, censored version of Sex and the City five years after the original aired; if Jaws gave you nightmares; or if you think Chuck Palahniuk is a disgusting, depraved a*hole; if the first word beginning with "f" and ending with "uck" that comes to mind is "firetruck." I'm serious.As someone who always wins a game of trivial pursuit, finds footnotes entertaining and illuminating, not a nuisance, and enjoys people watching, I really liked this book. It exceeded my expectations for airplane/vacation reading (in fact it left me with nothing to read for most of the trip because I tore through it so quickly).Yes, there are footnotes. Read them. As Bazell says at the end of the book, his primary objective was to entertain, and then inform. They really add to the book. You'll find yourself turning your hand over and staring at your wrist in no time (see footnote, page 4)Yes, there is sex, violence, and foul language. Hit men characters (or even most doctors I know, for that matter) don't talk like priests. The gore is almost over-the-top-repulsive at times: your mouth will be agape, you'll squirm in your seat, and question whether or not you can keep reading. But you will. It's like a roller coaster -- the adrenaline rush at the end is just worth it. The common criticism that this book is "too gorey" is actually a plus if you think about it because it means he writes in such a clear way that you can actually visualize what's happening.No, there isn't much "plot" per se. This isn't a detective thriller. The suspense, unlike that of the Millennium Trilogy, for example, does not come from hidden pasts and dark secrets (though there are plenty of those), but rather from the voice and the main character himself. He's just too fascinating to stop reading about.4.5 stars: exceeded my expectations for airplane reading, great book from a new author, was thoroughly entertained, can't wait for the next installment, and it stuck with me. However, while it's not meant to be realistic, some of the outlandish scenes are a little unwieldy at times and the writing could be tightened up in some of the longer passages.