After seeing the movie Inception, I seriously doubted that anything could ever bend my brain into a bigger pretzel, twist my mind around a story, and leave me wondering what the heck happened? Then I read Mr. Peanut. Author Adam Ross has written what has to be one of the most mind-boggling novels, combining elements of suspense, romance and horror into a story that I will never forget.
Ross deftly creates an intricate web of a story about marriage, murder and redemption revolving around two actual deaths, past and present: that of a doctor named Sam Sheppard, who was imprisoned for his wife’s murder, a murder he is not sure he committed; and that of a writer named David Pepin, whose unfinished novel about murdering his wife takes on a life of its own and throws him into the suspect pool as well. Intercut through these often emotionally brutal tales of love, marriage and madness is the presence of a small man named Mobius, who knows the truth about Pepin and who alone has the power to “finish” Pepin’s novel and hold life and death in his hands.
Stephen King stated that this book gave him nightmares, and it very well should. It has a dark and sinister undercurrent even as it examines such things as marital love and infidelity, our innermost thoughts and desires, and how often we get what we wish for - then wish we hadn’t wished for it in the first place.
The writing is fluid, powerful, and at times provides some profound insights into the nature of marriage and the will for freedom that every spouse experiences at some point in the duration of a marriage - all set to a murder story that leaves you guessing and guessing and guessing, long after you close the book.
I won’t tell you who or what Mr. Peanut is. I think I know, but again, the author provides us with a web of possibilities. Suffice it to say that this novel kept me up at night, drawn into a world that takes the human heart and dissects it out in the open, bloody and beating, for all to see.