This week, we’re looking at just-released novel from Josh Bazell, Beat the Reaper, to review judging only from what we think of the first page. We cheated a bit, because we know that Leonardo DiCaprio is producing and slated to star in the movie version of it, but that’s all we know beyond the title and the first few words. After the jump, the text of the first page and our thoughts on whether or not we’d keep reading.
We’re not sure how we’re supposed to be objective about this whole “only the first page” review thing when the mere use of “fuckhead”–twice–makes us want to keep reading all on its own. But that’s not all–here we have a protagonist providing his filthy, strange first-person narration, and the fact that he finds the feel of a gun on the back of his neck good is damn intriguing. Also, pigeons fight rats?
It’s hard to contain the impulse to find out what happens in the second half of an interesting story–we always feel cheated after reading the previews of McSweeneys stories in their seasonal mailers. But do we then actually finish the story when it is published? Um. That reminds us–we should probably renew our long-expired subscription.
But back to Beat the Reaper. The mugging could turn out to be an insignificant plot point, or the central focus of a larger story–either way, not that compelling right away, but it has promise. Maybe we wouldn’t read it ourselves, but judging from the character the imagery, instead recommend it to a friend interested in well-written thrillers? Or maybe just someone who has a thing for doctor/asshole protagonists?