Beat the Reaper

Beat The Reaper (Josh Bazell). The protagonist is a doctor who’s in Witness Protection because he used to be a hit man. BTR has my all-time favorite opening paragraph:

          So I’m on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some fuckhead tries to mug me! Naturally there’s a gun. He comes up behind me and sticks it into the base of my skull. It’s cold, and it actually feels sort of good, in an acupressure kind of way. “Take it easy, Doc,” he says.

 

But the main reason I recommend BTR: it’s an excellent lesson in how to grab the reader’s interest from the first page; and how not to be fearful of going “over the top”. It’s also my #1 recommendation for authors looking for a top-grade education in first person perspective. Many fiction authors tell me they’re afraid to write in first person; they feel it’s too limiting. Read Beat The Reaper and you’ll see that first person is more compelling than third person (omnipotent narrator) if you have a very smart protagonist at the helm of your story.

 

 

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