Wild Thing by Josh Bazell

Wild ThingReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

When author Bazell’s Beat the Reaper hit the stores a couple of years ago, critics and readers alike were unsure what to think. Some instantly loved his style, others were put off by it. But as word of mouth spread, more and more people jumped on the band wagon and before you know it, even book clubs were discussing the book.

Bazell is back with his next installment of the life trials of Dr. Pietro Brnwa, former hitman for the mob who is now in the Federal Witness Protection Program (code name Ismael). After testifying against his former bosses in the mob, our protagonist had been put through medical school and in Reaper was working in a New York hospital’s ER until the mob found him and sent him on the run again. As Wild Thing opens, the doctor has had a crash course in dentistry and is working on a cruise ship-a job he is more than eager to leave behind. So when his handler Marmoset, calls with an offer of relocation he’s ready to go in a flash.

Brwna, who is now going by the name Dr. Lionel Azimuth, is sent to Portland, Oregon to meet with a reclusive billionaire who is obsessed with the possibility that there really are sea monsters. He has been given the opportunity to travel to see just such a creature in a lake in Minnesota. Wisely, the recluse has decided to send his personal paleontologist to check it out first and wants to hire Azimuth to go along to protect her.

Although this is a totally different type of story than the first book in the series, some of the hallmarks of Bazell’s writing are present. The author, who has both a medical degree from Columbia and a BA in writing from Brown, has quite a broad background of knowledge. He manages to weave some of the most interesting facts into his novels without it seeming like an information dump. He also has included the little “asides” in the form of footnotes at the bottom of nearly every page.

Wild Thing is a rapid paced adventure teetering on the absurd while being laugh out loud funny. Having read the first book is in no way necessary to enjoy this book as the stories are independent of each other. Readers had best set aside a long stretch of reading time as they will not want to set this book aside until the end.

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