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Extended Audio Sample Mr. Peanut, by Adam Ross Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,959 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adam Ross Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After 13 years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating Alice’s suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.

Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin’s role in Alice’s death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius.

Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?

Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heart—and a first novel of the highest order.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A dark, dazzling, and deeply flawed novel that announces the debut of an enormously talented writer. An account of three troubled marriages, the book is a Rubik’s cube of a story that reads like a postmodern mash-up of Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and one of James M. Cain’s noirish mysteries…From the first page on, it’s clear that Mr. Ross…is a literary gymnast. He’s a sorcerer with words, whose David Foster Wallace-like descriptive powers have given him the ability to conjure everything from a pretty Hawaiian beachscape to the slow-motion horror of a car accident with color and élan.”

    New York Times

  • “Ross’s depiction of love is grotesque and tender at once, and his style is commanding as he combines torture and romance to create a sense of vertigo-as-romance. It’s a unique book—stark and sublime, creepy and fearless—that readers into the darker end of the literary spectrum won’t want to miss.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Sophisticated, surreal, and creepy.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “Of all the novels I read this year, this was the one that I read most eagerly, consuming it in eager gulps, dismissing other obligations.”

    New Republic

  • “A formidable literary talent…Finely wrought and challenging.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Ross—in a brilliant stylistic mirror of marriage—blends dream and reality, fact and perception in a narrative that’s both cinematic and lyrical…The book is by turns harrowing, tender, and funny.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • Mr. Peanut is full of tricks: shifting narrations, quirky chronology, and meta-novels within novels. The effect is disorienting, but the characters are too well drawn to feel like pawns in some game. The result is a deliciously clever book, full of dark insight and even a touch of hope.”


  • “An author whose voice is so distinct and vivid that you truly can’t find any comparison [and] a book whose combination of rhythm, language, and style are unlike anything else I’ve ever encountered…A sort of wondrous literary alchemy [that’s] laugh-out-loud funny and shrewdly aware of human nature…Read Mr. Peanut for its insight into marriage. Read it for the humor.  Read it for the thrills. Just read it, please.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “An ambitious and well-crafted noir that manages to humanize its characters while fashioning their stories into a gripping page-turner. Ross’s depiction of love and hatred, and the conflicted ways we manifest these feelings, is both sensitive and fearless.”

    Guardian (UK)

  • “Plainly thrilling…The work of a boundlessly eager writer willing to try just about anything and invite us to share in his sinister joy.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “A murder mystery [and] also a complicated jigsaw puzzle of intertwined relationships…This may be [Ross’s] first novel, but it’s written as though he’s been doing it for ages.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Gripping…This highly original debut uses the police procedural as a hall of mirrors to reflect pleasure and guilt, marriage and murder.”

    Financial Times

  • “A stunningly dark debut that takes as its forebears both Scott Turow and Italo Calvino…To say this is a thematically rich book is hardly to do [it] justice…There is a way in which this too-clever-to-be-neat story resists such thematics…Yet Ross cleaves closely to all the pleasures of the genre: mystery, suspense, romance, surprise. And in this sense, Mr. Peanut is highly unique—a disturbingly funny and remarkably poignant novel from one of the year’s most promising new voices.”


  • “A dark tale of love, hate, murder, and marriage: a cleverly written, structurally complex narrative.”


  • Mr. Peanut crackles with life.”


  • “Powerful…Delivers one scorching scene after another.  Ross is interested in all the soul-killing ways men and women try and fail to achieve intimacy, and [with] noirish sensibility and eloquent prose, he wraps his age-old theme in a confounding yet mesmerizing format.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A Möbius strip of a novel, folding the unsavory anticipation of American Psycho into a domestic drama straight out of Carver-esque America…An intellectual noir novel and an original voice.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?…It induced nightmares, at least in this reader.  No mean feat.”

    Stephen King

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Finalist
  • Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Arianna | 2/17/2014

    " poop book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Terry Perrel | 2/11/2014

    " This is a odd, sometimes brilliant, but, ultimately, an exhausting read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Rose | 2/3/2014

    " Ok. So this book is not subtle. There are three couples and all the husbands are thinking about or are suspected of murdering their wives. I like the premise. There is a fine line between sex and violence, love and hate. I just wish the motif was not so heavy handed. Some very good writing, though- clean and witty. To be honest, I didn't understand Alice at all so it was difficult to feel compassion for her. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Noralo | 2/2/2014

    " HATED IT. Reading about depressed people who hate each other but are too cowardly to make a change in their life; just like High Fidelity without the humor or saving graces of humanity. Stopped reading after skimming one particularly graphic and horrifying scene. Too self-indulgent. "

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