Sunday, December 6, 2009

"You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the Grim Reaper." Robert Alton Harris

This entertaining novel tells of Pietro Brnwa, a former hit man with the mob. Now he has entered witness protection and as the novel opens, he is an intern in internal medicine at Manhattan Catholic, a notoriously bad New York hospital.

His story involves finding his grandparents murdered when he, as Pietro, was fourteen. Later, he told a friend, the only thing he wanted was to find the killers and repay them for their crime.

He learns who killed his grandparents and takes care of business and finds that he's good at it. He continues as a hit man but with a moral code, he won't kill women or innocents.

Eventually, he meets the girl of his dreams, Magdalena, and is attempting to leave the life he was in when something goes wrong.

Interspersed with Pietro's history, we observe the present where he is Dr. Peter Brown working at the hospital when he has the misfortune of meeting one of his old acquaintances. The man, Eddie Squillante AKA Eddie Consol, tells Peter that information about his past will be revealed if Peter lets him die of the cancer that's killing him.

The author has stated that one of his influences is Raymond Chandler, and we see the hard boiled character and crisp dialogue that Chandler is known for, i.e. in "Playback" where Marloww's next door neighbor overhears a private conversation. She tells him, "I'm your next door neighbor. I was having a nap and voices woke me...I was intrigued."
Marlowe's response, "Go somewhere else and be intrigued."

When I began the book, I thought the debut novel by John Bazell would be an average story but to my surprise, this man writes a whale of a story. Some of the story seems a bit far out, such as Peter's old friend and now enemy bringing him to the shark tank in Coney Island to seek revenge. However, the story had a kick that was pleasurable.

The plot was original and Dr Peter Brown was certainly a unique character, although I hope I'm never in a hospital as one of his patients.

Well done.


Greg Zimmerman said...

Great review - can't wait to read this! It's been on my shelf for several weeks. You've motivated me to move it back up my priority list.



Tea said...

Interesting review, I've been wanting to read this one.

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Broken Promise