Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Fave Unknown Book...Or Why I Need to Hang Out with More Readers

Workout Song of the Day: "Move on Me" by Fantasia (this is released yet--I heard her sing a few lyrics of this on her reality show, and now I can't stop moving my shoulders!!)

Alright, it's time for our weekly Road Trip Wednesday question from my peeps over at YA Highway. This week they demand to know: what book do you love that no one else has ever heard of? My response: Um.......?

Let me explain the three main reasons why I'm drawing a blank. First, I just rekindled my love affair with reading this past year, and most of the titles I've read were recommended by others. Second, my family aren't necessarily "avid" readers--which is to say they consider fine reading to be picking up an Essence or US Weekly magazine (I still love you though!)--therefore, they haven't read many of the novels I've read anyway. And third, the last few books I've read have been strictly YA--and most of the students in my MFA program pretty much scoff at YA, and haven't heard of any of the titles.

As you can see, I have a plethora of choices to choose from, but I'm not sure if any of them would really count. So, as I close my eyes and blindly choose a novel, I'm going to have to go with...drum roll please...Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.

Here's a brief review from Publishers Weekly:

Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced Browna) after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietros performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazells artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I know that I've mentioned this novel before here, and it's rare when anything stays with me that long (I don't even remember what Brothers and Sisters was about, and I just saw that last night!), but this book is, simply put, DA BOMB!

I read it because I heard that Leo DiCaprio may be starring in a movie based on it, and I always read the novels of any movie he's sniffing around. But this one was actually good. Hella good, to be exact. While the main character is pretty dark (I mean, he IS a hit man), I also found him to be extremely relatable (is this a word? My blogger spellcheck tells me it isn't. Say it ain't so!). He had to make tough decisions in life, and he also had to deal with a lot of heartache. In fact--dare I say it--I found this to be one of the most romantic books I ever read, and his love life was just a minor subplot. I enjoyed how his relationship seemed authentic, and it was one of the first times that I wanted a couple to live happily ever after. As a whole, the dialogue was crisp, the action never ended, and I was left hanging, wanting more--which isn't always a good thing, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.

I actually found this book at the bargain bin in Barnes and Noble, and I'm completely appalled! Something this good needs to be on the bestsellers list! I hope you guys will check it out. Maybe I'll even get my mom to put down her magazine for this. :)


M. Hockaday said...

Great post! I think it's apparent how fond you are of this book. I might just have to borrow it from you one day...and please, preach on about how our family did not demonstrate active reading :) Oh, and very true about what you said about Brothers and Sisters...what was it about?

Little Miss Allicatt said...

Oh great post! Sounds like a book I would adore.

Kaitlin Ward said...

Sounds like a really interesting book! I might have to put it on my list :)