BY SEAN CLARK
This week’s JABBIC has a pretty intriguing and mysterious cover. Four of our contributors guessed the premise of Adam Ross’s novel with only this cover image available to them. Now it’s up to you: which paragraph below is based on the real novel? The answer, and who wrote which fakery, will be posted in the comments later today.
1.) MacDonald Rathwaite has had enough. The new gangster kids on his block call him “Mr. Peanut.” They think it’s funny, because he walks with a cane and cause his head looks weird. They think he’s stupid, they think he doesn’t notice. They don’t know him, and they sure don’t know what he’s done for a living for the past forty years—the job that gave him the limp, and shattered his skull. Rathwaite sat by when the gangsters sold drugs on his porch, and when they spray-painted the bodega on the corner. But when they start in harassing Lola, the young single mother who lives in 3C, that’s more than Rathwaite can take.
2.) It’s on the side of a tin on a shelf in every pantry in America: the smiling face of Mr. Peanut. But look closer… Conrad Frayn is a defamed illustrator and aspiring artist. When he tries to relaunch his career with a new take on a marketing icon, he soon learns that he infringed on the wrong trademark. In this Pynchon-esque thriller, Adam Ross weaves a tapestry of commercial conspiracy and personal redemption that just might have you thinking twice before you pop open your next can of cashews.
3.) A factory mishap ships a popular brand of powdered makeup with exceptionally high levels of a peanut extract, causing allergic reactions and deaths nationwide. Disfigured from the incident, male model Antoine Feinderlacht uses the situation to rewrite the rules of fashion, and of terror, in this taut and hip thriller.
4.) Nathan and his friends thought they could ruin any teacher Cedar Creek Middle School could throw at them, but Mr. Peanut, their permanent substitute shop teacher, isn’t going to crack so easily. When even their best pranks fail to temper Mr. Peanut’s ardor for woodwork and whistling, the boys come to respect and befriend their teacher, making him an honorary member of the Creek Creep Gang. And when a mysterious figure from Cedar Creek’s past shows up at school asking strange questions, they must solve the mystery of Mr. Peanut’s mermaid tattoo, or else he, and the rest of the Creek Creep Gang, will be history.
5.) Alice Pepin’s lifelong struggle with depression, insecurity, and obesity comes to an abrupt end at her kitchen table when she is found dead with a peanut lodged in her throat. She has suffered suicide by anaphylactic shock—or so claims her husband, David, a quiet computer game programmer obsessed with working and re-working a draft of his unpublished novel, a violent possible masterpiece. Gradually, the two detectives on the case begin to see disturbing parallels between their own marital dramas and the Pepins’ cruel rotations of brinkmanship and adoration.