BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell

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Pietro has worked hard to become a doctor, and the witness protection program has worked hard to keep him safe from the mafia hitmen who want him dead.  It seems you can’t throw a mob boss’s son out of a sixth-story window without ending up on someone’s hitlist.  But everyone’s hard work goes to waste when a ghost from Pietro’s mob days shows up in his hospital.  The mobster tips off a friend as to Pietro’s whereabouts and instructs him to spread the word–unless Pietro can save the dying mobster’s life.  Now Pietro is locked in a race against time and nature.  As he struggles to save the man’s life, he remembers the events that led up to his involvement in the mafia and his life on the run.   

If you like horrifically violent, action-packed, suspenseful thrillers, this is the book for you!  If you do not like horrifically violent books, do not read this book.  I have read a lot of thrillers, serial killer mysteries, etc.,  but this book was officially the most violent book I have ever read.  At several points I actually felt dizzy and physically ill from the level of violent detail.  That said, I couldn’t put it down!  The protagonist was such an intriguing character with a fascinating, intricately designed past!  And of course the suspense and action from the plot kept me on the edge of my seat.  A great read, but definitely, definitely not for the squeamish. 

(Movie rights were purchased in 2009, but it does not appear that any substantial steps have been taken toward a film adaptation.)

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