Adam Ross’ Mr. Peanut might be the best book I’ve read so far in 2010. In fact, it might be one of the best books of the year.
I don’t say this lightly. I’ve already heard a number of other titles declared “Best of 2010,” and it’s absurd to make that kind of call as early as March, especially since the book doesn’t even hit stores until June. Nonetheless, this book blew me away.
David Pepin has often imagined and fantasized about his wife’s death, and when she dies, it’s more than a little suspicious. He rapidly becomes a murder suspect, and the detectives on the case each have their own back-stories winding around different combinations of marriage and violence.
It’s engaging and gripping like a good murder mystery, but more richly layered and intellectually engaging than a beach read. When I was looking through it to get quotes for this post, I kept getting sucked back into the story again, even though I’d just read it. I’m likening it to a great meal at a restaurant–the appetizer gains your trust, the first course provides some revelations, the second demonstrates the chef’s skills, and the dessert just blows you away. Ross is truly a great wordsmith.
I know it’s far too early to call “Best of 2010,” but this is a strong, strong contender.