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When David Pepin first dreamed of killing his wife, he didn't kill her himself. He dreamed of convenient acts of god.

David Pepin has loved his wife since the moment they met, and after thirteen years he still can't imagine living without her - yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she's dead, and he's both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating her death have, as it happens, considerable experience with conjugal enigmas. Ward Hastroll was happily, complacently married - until his wife became inexplicably, voluntarily, and militantly bedridden. And Sam Sheppard has for decades been especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt, for the most personal of reasons….

When Pepin is linked to a hitman, the ambiguity enfolding this case begins to resemble the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games he designs for a living. These complex, interlocking dramas brilliantly explore the twinned impulses of love and hate, murder and marriage, each endlessly recycling into the other. Mesmerizing, hugely poignant, astonishing in its reach, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul and a first novel of the highest order.


A riveting first novel... its greatest delight is the sheer brilliance of the writing, polished like marble so it moves without friction but wholly vivid and alive


Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting

Richard Russo

Mr. Peanut crackles with life. Ross's long set pieces (...) reveal his talent for conjuring characters and imagining scenes that, like good short stories, could stand nobly by themselves

Harperâ??s magazine

Mr. Peanut, the daring, arresting first novel by Adam Ross, an author of prodigious talent... the novel is an enormous success - forceful and involving, often deeply stirring and always impressively original. (...) This is a brilliant, powerful, memorable book

Scott Turow, New York Times Book Review

Adam Ross has crafted a diabolically intricate novel, one that presents all the pleasures and challenges of a well-wrought Sudoku puzzle. There's a whiff of alchemy to the book; you can't quite believe that its many pieces fit together so snugly. Yet they do. Once you've finished, you run your eye back and forth and up and down, and every way you look it adds up. Mr. Peanut is smart, funny, gripping and - in its ultimate unravelling - sneakily sad

Scott Smith

The emotional language and perceptions of Mr. Peanut are extraordinary, and all the more so for their position within such a formally stylised novel ... it does entertain, inform and thoroughly delight

Rosalind Porter, Literary Review

This compulsive thriller works as a sharp satire on loneliness and partnership, and is a beautifully crafted, gripping read

Financial Times

An impressive first novel


The heart of this novel is the work of a writer with a strong natural talent

New Yorker

An ambitious and well-crafted noir that manages to humanise its characters while fashioning their stories into a gripping page-turner


Arresting first novel by Adam Ross, an author of prodigious talent'...This is a brilliant, powerful, memorable novel


Ross' debut novel combines thriller and satire as he explores loneliness and marital difficulties in contemporary America

Paul Dunn, The Times

A sharp and satirical thriller...this well-crafted debut novel is gripping from the start

Big Issue North

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

Stephen King

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    February 1, 2011


    352 pages

    RRP $26.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    June 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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