I finished this book back in July and it is, as they say, a kick. The humor is wicked, the pace breathless, and the insider knowledge -- mostly of medicine but other things too, murder-for-hire, the Holocaust, shark tanks -- is eye-opening. I will never step foot in a hospital again without fearing for my life. (And NEVER let anyone you know get his or her tongue pierced.)
Though the tone is ironic it never feels flip, because the intelligence behind the writing is a genuinely caring one -- cynical, yes, but also angry, even romantic. His authority is so convincing and seamless you buy in and stay there.
Crisp and witty dialogue, vivid characters who seem both very real-world and New Jersey Gothic, plus telling and counter-intuitive insights sprinkled throughout. The plot twists are deftly executed and believable within the context of the narrative world Bazell creates, which admittedly is a darkly comic and sometimes surreal planet deceptively like our own.
SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: The climactic scene echoes a tossed-off bit of medical arcana introduced very early in the book, a twist that -- again, within the comic conventions of the novel -- is pulled off ingeniously.
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