Got the notes from J.Z. and was relieved to see that he's found many a plot hole, typo, logic error, grammatical error, and dead spot -- exactly what you would hope a beta reader would do. I easily agree with 90% of the notes. The remaining ten percent is all minor stuff that has to do with matters of taste -- a suggested line of dialogue that I don't agree with, etc. Overall the notes are very encouraging and I'm excited about putting them into play.
A good beta reader is worth his weight in gold (or in this case, fine cigars and Manhattans).
Third draft word count a/o today: 78588