Hello, fellow Cannonballers! I’ve fallen off the literary map lately due to a move from Our Nation’s Capital to the Windy City. But now I’m back, and only slightly worse for the wear. “Wild Thing:” Impossible to live up to the first Bazell novel, “Beat the Reaper,” which was gruesome, hilarious, irreverent, and terrific. “Wild Thing” is…. less so?
The novel continues with the protagonist, Dr. Peter Brown, though this time around, courtesy of the WITSEC program, he has a new name and a phony medical license. He is serving as the junior medical doctor aboard a cruise ship, which is apparently the kiss of death for practicing doctors. The descriptions of staff life aboard the cruise liner are hilarious and depressing, in classic Bazell style. He is still trying to come up with the cash required to “finish” his ruined relationship with the Mafia, and as such gets connected with a perhaps-insane-billionaire and a wild-ass plot device, replete with a smoking hot paleontologist named Violet. Uh huh.
I suppose I would best describe this as a kitchen-sink kind of novel: everything was thrown in, including the protagonist. Peter Brown was somewhat wasted on this trek to find out if the Loch Ness Monster, Part Deux, actually existed in North America and had a taste for mammalian blood. There are some interesting characters, but by the time a real-life political figure works their way into the book, it simply doesn’t have enough focus (or connection to reality) to conclude in any really satisfying way, which is a shame. Bazell nearly pulls it off, but then not quite.
I’m hoping this is a sophomore slump, and the next book in the series will be back to a kick-ass kind of madness. Not a bad read, and we listened to it on audiobook from DC to Chicago, which passed the time in an entertaining, if NSFW, way. Thanks, Josh Bazell, now get out there and write another Peter Brown book!