Josh Bazell blew me away with his debut novel, and while I usually stick to simple headlines when doing author interviews this time it was more extravagant, reflecting my reaction to it, namely this headline: "My Interview with Josh Bazell, Author of Beat the Reaper, the Funniest, Weirdest Book I've Read In Five Years."
The sequel, Wild Thing, which came out last month with a bright red cover, is also funny and weird (in good ways, of course). The novel has more footnotes and source material than many non-fiction books.
His debut novel was about a young doctor, Pietro Brown, who was a hitman for the mafia in New Jersey before entering a witness relocation program. His already crazy life gets more crazy when he has a patient who recognizes him and calls the mafia.
Wild Thing, in which Pietro is hired to look into reports of a lake monster, contains a blurb from another author I love and interview regularly, Lisa Lutz:
"I didn't want to like it. I mean, a doctor writing a novel is kind of obnoxious. What, you don't have enough to do already? But maybe that's me. Anyway, I didn't want to like Beat the Reaper, but I did; I loved it. It is completely original, an utter page-turner, bold, shocking, hilarious, complex, and even educational. It's that book you wish you had with you when you were trapped in an airport during a three-hour flight delay. My only complaint is that I've already read it."
Since both Lisa and Josh write unorthodox comic crime novels with lots of footnotes I thought I'd do something appropriately unorthodox. So this time, as I was choosing questions to ask Josh, I asked Lisa if she had any she wanted to pose to him through me. She did and so the last few questions of my interview were chosen by her.
I let him have his revenge, though: I sent her questions this week for an email interview about her new book and they contain questions Josh asked Lisa. If you like Lisa's books you'll love Josh's and vice versa, I think. That said, if you don't like one that doesn't necessarily follow that you won't like the other since they are quite different in style.