Wild Thing

Wild Thing is Josh Bazell's second novel dealing with former mob hit man turned doctor Lionel Azimuth (aka Peter brown). Bazell is either a writing genius or insane. I am going with genius. The novel continues the trials and tribulations of the good doctor, now known as Dr. Pietro Brnwa, who has taken a job on a cruise ship as the junior doctor. The mob is after him and he figures this might be a good place to hide out. In the first 6 pages we have sex, profanity, 2 deaths and medical malpractice. There is also a genuine laugh out loud moment.

Lionel has been called to a meeting with a reclusive billionaire that he calls RecBill. RecBill wants Lionel to checkout a DVD of a mysterious sea creature that is supposed to be in a lake in the Minnesota boundary waters. It is similar to the Loch Ness monster except this one is a carnivore since it has killed 2 people and eaten parts of them. RecBill has received an invitation to go on a hunt for the monster. He hooks Lionel up with Dr. Violet Hurst a paleontologist who also works for RecBill. She is a catastrophic paleontologist working on the end of the world scenarios. Lionel agrees mostly because he needs the money to further his plan to get the mob off his back and stop trying to kill him.

The book moves backward in time to give the reader the history of the monster and the town of Ford in northern Minnesota. Apparently one man has been maimed and 2 teenagers killed by this sea monster. Years ago some locals tried to create a hoax involving the monster in hope of reviving the town. The hoax ended with the deaths of 2 of the perpetrators. Lionel and Violet meet the rest of the expedition in Ford. There is a meth lab going on in the only restaurant and not many people around in the town, there is however a top notch guide company and guest house owned by the organizer of the event where all the expedition members stay. The trip is delayed while they await the arrival of a "government representative" who will certify the sea creature is not a hoax, if it is found. This person turns out to be a former candidate for the vice presidency of the U.S. (See what I mean about genius?)

The story line goes through the mystery of the monster, the meth trade in the town of Ford and the mob still trying to kill Lionel. The story ends with a political and environmental treatise by Victoria. While the ending was somewhat bizarre, the main portion of the book was great. Entertaining with some funny moments and some surprises. Bazell's writing style includes footnotes that can be merely asides to the action contained on the page or real footnotes in the sense they actually contain explanatory information. There is also a section of sources which Bazell readily admits might not have been used in the way they were originally intended to be.

I like Bazell's books, I really do. They are just outlandish enough to be entertaining to me. And really, the premise of a hit man turned doctor? Just genius.

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