Debut Interview: Josh Bazell – Beat the Reaper (William Heineman)

Josh Bazell C Tamar Hurwitz

Hi Josh, thank you for answering a few questions. It’s great to see a debut author getting the spotlight. I hope find the questions interesting:

1) Drugs and violence appear in the opening pages – how does this set the tone to Beat the Reaper?

Pretty well, I think.

2) How much did you draw on your own experience and the experience of others for the characters/setting?

My feeling is that there are essentially two kinds of fiction that have any emotional reality:  stories that exaggerate feelings the author has actually had (like Brian Garfield writing Death Wish after someone slashed the roof of his convertible) and stories that underplay feelings the author has actually had (like J.D. Salinger coming back from WWII and writing Catcher in the Rye).  I tried to use both in constructing this book.

3) Rumour has it you wrote Beat the Reaper at the same time as working as an intern – where did you find the time/energy?

Yeah, that’s mostly bullshit.  I finished the book fairly early in my internship, having done most of the work during my last year of medical school.  In the US, the last year of med school is relatively easy, or at least is comprised of things you choose to be doing.  For example, I worked at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York during that year, and got credit for it, which felt like overcompensation.

4) You’ve been getting some great reviews from both sides of the Atlantic what kind of reactions have you been getting from readers? Are they what you expected?

People say the craziest shit to me.  Particularly when they can do it anonymously.  It’s been very gratifying.

5) I hear that Peter Brown is returning –  if you were to join him on a night out what would you do? Where would he take you?

Peter “My Meal Ticket” Brown will be returning for as long as anybody cares.  As for a Saturday night with the guy, it would probably involve some ER work and a bar fight, not necessarily in that order.

Many thanks for the interest.


Reviews of Beat the Reaper

Robert @ Fantasy Book Critic says, “Josh Bazell’s debut novel would be the best thriller I’ve read since starting Fantasy Book Critic

You can’t get much higher praise that that!

Review Links:

NY Times
Fantasy Book Critic
Blood of the Muse

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