Pietro Brwna is a boy raised by the mob. He goes into the witness protection program and studies medicine to become Dr. Peter Brown in Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper. Mafia mayhem and violence ensue, making this a suspenseful page turner, but it’s also full of arcane footnotes that temper the pace and add dark humor. The twists and turns are literally fantastic. (Can you really do that with a fibula?)
I so enjoyed this book when it was published in 2008 that it was a nice surprise when I recently found its twin in Mine All Mine by Adam Davies. In this novel, Otto Starks is a high-tech security specialist who chews on lethal poisons when he is nervous in order to build up his immunity. The fast pace and sense of unreality are the same as in Beat the Reaper, with the only difference being whether or not the hero gets the girl. Read both and find out!