Sea serpents and politicians
Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper is a funny, funny book. Jane's MADreads review gives you an excellent rundown of what it's all about. Wild Thing is a follow-up to Beat the Reaper. While I don't like it quite as much, I think it's funny, too, and will definitely read a third book if Bazell decides to write more.
Medical doctor and former teenage mob hitman Pietro Brnwa/Peter Brown/Lionel Azimuth is back, under Witness Protection once again, hired by a reclusive billionaire to investigate some kind of sea serpent or lake monster living in the Minnesota Boundary Waters. Joining Pietro/Peter/Lionel is a gorgeous paleontologist named Dr. Violet Hurst. While the two doctors piece together what's going on, an eclectic group of rich and famous including a Vegas magician, a Justin Timberlake-like boy bander and a celebrity politician gather to try to catch the creature. There's much to discover about the demographics of northern Minnesota and lots of clever, fast-paced dialog and violent action. It sounds sort of ridiculous, but it works.
There have been some mixed reviews of Wild Thing based on the environmental and socio-political commentary but that doesn't bother me AT ALL. In fact, I learn a lot from these books. Bazell accomplishes an amazing feat by incorporating prologues, epilogues and footnotes into a novel in such a way that what could be a silly story is smart and sexy. But I thought the medical, Mafia and Holocaust related footnotes in Beat the Reaper were more interesting to read than the Vietnam War, evolutionary DNA and global warming ones in Wild Thing. Still a solid book.