cover image Potboiler


Jesse Kellerman, read by Kirby Heyborne. Penguin Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 11 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-074-3

Failed-novelist-turned-professor Arthur Pfefferkorn has long been jealous of his oldest friend, William de Vallèe, who married the only woman Pfefferkorn ever loved and became a fabulously successful writer. But when de Vallèe disappears at sea with his latest manuscript unfinished, Arthur is given the chance to take his place both on the bestseller lists and in the bedroom. However, there’s a dark side to the deal, one that thrusts Pfefferkorn into a perilous, twisted adventure oddly similar to those of de Vallèe’s books. Satire works best when served with subtlety and that’s just how narrator Kirby Heyborne handles it, letting the book’s humor stand on its own, while also deftly rendering moments of genuine suspense. His Pfefferkorn sounds alternately passive and fussy, reluctant and eager, pretty much the kind of aimless, over-educated naïf who’d allow himself to be drawn into a mess from which he can’t escape. A Putnam hardcover. (July)