After a rough few days this week, it was very nice to once again enter the violent, inquisitive, yet absurdly madcap world of Dr. Peter Brown a.k.a. Pietro Brwna, former hit man turned doctor, as he runs from those who betrayed him, kicking ass (and describing the science of it as he cracks bones and rips flesh) all the while. It is absurd how fun Beat the Reaper, and this new book, wild Thing, are to read. Some may call them fluff or poorly written, but they probably can’t imagine the idea of actually having fun reading a book. While they suffer sentence by sentence over Henry James and Edith Wharton for the umpteenth millionth time, I am enjoying the simple act of reading alone, which is really what reading is supposed to do, create an insular world for yourself in an increasingly busy society, and no book does that better than this kind of insanely funny, inventive and entertaining novel. When we meet up with Dr. Brown (now Lionel Azimuth), he is working on a cruise ship, pulling teeth and fixing whatever aliment afflicts the ship’s crew (side note: a little disappointed in not getting a follow-up to Dr. Brown’s extremely graphic leg injury that took place at the end of Beat the Reaper. Not going to spoil it, but it was the part of the book that totally sold me). He gets a call from his WITSEC contact, who has a job offer for him. It entails meeting with a reclusive billionaire (shortened to Rec Bill in the novel), who wants him to help out his ultra sexy paleontologist, Violet Hurst, to the woods of Minnesota, where a lake monster might or might not be killing people. It is safe to say violence, sex, and a few notable faces (like a certain governor of Alaska) are bound to show up and ruin Dr. Brown’s day. I really cannot praise this book enough, despite not having nearly as much hand-to-hand combat as Beat the Reaper. Josh Bazell, Columbia MD turned crime writer, truly has an eye for storytelling, as well as how to get a reaction from the readers, whether through an interesting medical or historical tidbits, or simply going for the gut and offing someone, and taking great pleasure in describing the gory details. It is a feast for emotions, and you may find yourself turned back into a little kid at some points, sneaking out late at night to watch an action movie you shouldn’t be. At least that is how I felt Whether you are on vacation, or need something read to escape boredom or a hard day (like I did), this book is the best kind of literary medicine, even if some of these characters need medical help by the last page. When Elmore Leonard passes on into the great beyond (which may be soon, because he is getting pretty old), I think Josh Bazell is worthy and talented enough to fill those big shoes.