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Arthur Pfefferkorn taught creative writing at a small college on the Eastern Seaboard Many years ago Arthur had published a novel called Shades of the Colossus His book had received mild acclaim and then died along with his literary aspirations Conversely his oldest and best friend had turned out to be a bestselling thriller writer But now Arthur reads in the paper that his friend William de Vall e is lost at sea Pfefferkorn realises he hasn t seen Bill for a long time mainly as he is aware of the envy he feels that Bill had outshone him professionally he had even married the only woman Pfefferkorn had ever loved.As he recalls their earlier friendship he feels regret and grief that his own feelings of failure affected their relationship, and when he receives an invitation to the funeral he contacts Bill s widow, who beeches him to come to the funeral When he does she encourages him to stay a day or two, and during that time Arthur finds an unpublished manuscript, Bill s latest book, and in a fit of desire to be famous he steals the book In doing so he sets in motion a series of events that will plunge him into a world hitherto unknown to him A world where nothing and no one is what they seem A world of shadows, where no one can be trusted Initially I was intrigued by the story of the failed novelist, but then when it got murky I became enthralled in the twists the story was taking, and by the time Arthur entered West Zlabia I was enjoying the humour, but by the time Arthur entered East Zlabia I couldn t turn the pages for laughing.I think this is what is called a roller coaster of emotions Well whatever it is called, I loved it And page 182, I will read and re read, if you have ever, loved or hated moustaches, you need to read the description of the man with a moustache that had submoustaches that in turn had sub submoustaches, each of which might be said to be deserving of its own area code A story of failure, success, love, betrayal, espionage, and the subtlety of the double cross, this book is highly recommended Reviewer Lizzie Hayes Anatomy of a thriller novel October 14, 2012The author of this mystery thriller is Jesse Kellerman, son of the the famous husband and wife bestselling writers of series mysteries, Faye and Jonathan Kellerman But son Jesse writes standalone novelsand in POTBOILER introduces a trio of characters Arthur Pfefferkorn, an obscure adjunct professor of creative writing at a small obscure college his longtime friend William de Valle, nee Bill Kowalczyk, writer of multiple thriller novels and Carlottathe woman they both loved in college.Kowalczyk has been lost at sea and Pfefferkorn has an exclusive invitation to the California memorial service to comfort the widow Carlotta.In the first pages of his tale, Jesse K dissects most modern thriller best sellers and their archetypal plots And then he tries to buck the archetype Shades of Jung and Leslie Fiedler Here s the stuff needed for a successful spy thriller according to JK a protag a brilliant, physically invincible figure formerly in the employ of a shadowy but never named government arm an elaborate conspiracy involvingan assassination, a terrorist strike, a missing child, or the theft of highly sensitive documents that, if made public, could lead to full blown nuclear engagement a thriller hero who becomes sucked or dragged, or pulled, or thrust back into the maelstrom net, vortex, spiderweb of deception treachery, lies, intrigue An initial simple mystery becoming just the tip of the iceberg Alas, we readers learn very soon that dear old Bill had been encoding his thrillers with intricate subversive messages placed to plot a conspiracy in some third world countryand the professor friend who purloins the unfinished manuscript of his best friend, deletes the redundant code phrases, retitles and publishes it successfully As dear old Bill s best friend incurs the wrath of the conspirators and has his stolen success threatened, it s time to throw the book at the wall.But waitanother reviewer sez that everything and everyone is not as it they seem We know the novels are not just novels, but do you have the curiosity to find out what other surprises Jesse K has in store Nopenot this reader The enlarged iceberg would sink the Titanic again And another DNF hits the return box at the library. First, my apologies to Jesse Kellerman, I had to put this book down after 206 pages I encountered this book a couple of times over the last few weeks, and never quite got to the point of buying it When I finally did buy it, and began reading, I realized my instincts were pretty good I should have left it on the shelf.A world famous thriller series author is declared dead after a boating accident An old friend who never found the same success writing, attends his funeral, and while at the deceased s home, steals his final unpublished manuscript The thief then brushes up the writing, changes a few things to make it his own then publishes it The novel becomes a huge hit Everybody s happy However, the thief is then made aware that what the dead writer was actually doing was publishing books written by an intelligence agency as instructions and orders for field agents The changes the thief made to the manuscript altered the mission Things did not go as originally planned I read the first 127 pages of this novel in one sitting Literally, one sitting It was hugely entertaining, and very, very funny The dialogue was pitch perfect There were snarky, pithy comments about the publishing business I learned a great deal, and in several instances had my suspicions confirmed about publishing in general The author was obviously very smart and along with an interesting, insightful tale, was also giving me a little nudge nudge, wink wink, and it was all superb Right up to the scene where the thief is told, Tag You re it Then the book became a satire of an espionage thriller Like a Mad magazine parody of the TV series Alias On second thought, it s like a parody of a parody of an espionage thriller It reads like a Mad magazine satire of the TV series Get Smart With old mustaches left over from The Carol Burnett Show Really I had been hoodwinked After 206, I just couldn t take it any.I am now going to read a couple of real series thrillers, of the men s adventure type, to get my mojo back. POTBOILER by Jesse Kellerman I haven t read Jesse Kellerman s previous novels, which appear to be complex thrillers, but based on the cleverness he demonstrates in POTBOILER, I m very interested in reading of his work POTBOILER cannot be easily categorized It s an affectionate parody of the thriller genre, but it functions equally well as a thriller in its own right However ridiculous and implausible the twists and turns, this novel kept me chuckling at Kellerman s gentle mocking of his own genre while at the same time biting my nails in anticipation I couldn t help but laugh at myself and how swept up in the absurd action I became.Arthur Pfefferkorn is a college professor with one critically acclaimed novel far, far in his past He s avoided his oldest friend, William de Vallee, for years, jealous of his wife and his bestselling oeuvre of thrillers while contemptuous of the non literary genre When de Vallee disappears and is declared dead, Pfefferkorn takes a reckless step that pulls him into a world of international intrigue, conspiracy, and double crosses To rescue de Vallee s widow with whom he is still in love , he takes on a shadowy assignment from a questionable government agency and ventures into Zlabia, an utterly absurd nation divided into two entirely different cultures Zlabia is a hoot, and it s to Kellerman s credit that I remained engaged in the action despite the ridiculous aspects of Zlabian politics.To point out the cleverest twists would be to spoil the unfolding plot This is a book I will recommend to everyone I know just so I can talk about it with someone and say, Wasn t it perfect when Pfefferkorn said X and then Y happened later A devoted thriller fan who sees nothing amusing in the conventions of the genre will not enjoy this book, but anyone who read, say, THE DA VINCI CODE and rolled her eyes at the stilted prose and pat descriptions while frantically turning the pages to see what happens next will adore POTBOILER I am even willing to confess my secret addiction to Clive Cussler s Dirk Pitt novels to illustrate my qualifications in making this recommendation The over the top writing drives me a little crazy and the stereotypes and predictable elements required of the genre make me roll my eyes yet, I can t not read them.When Pfefferkorn finally reads a de Vallee novel, he is contemptuous The thirty third installment in a series, the novel featured special agent Richard Dick Stapp, a brilliant, physically invincible figure formerly in the employ of a shadowy but never named government arm whose apparent sole purpose was to furnish story lines for thrillers Pfefferkorn recognized the formula easily enough Stapp, supposedly in retirement, finds himself drawn into an elaborate conspiracy involving one or of the following an assassination, a terrorist strike, a missing child, or the theft of highly sensitive documents that, if made public, could lead to full blown nuclear engagement His involvement in the case often begins against his will I ve had it with this rotten business he is fond of avowing Who in real life, Pfefferkorn wondered, avowed anything This over the top language turns up in elements of POTBOILER that highlight its absurdity, as in the fabulous description of a character s mustache Pfefferkorn could not tell his age, due to a full eighty percent of his face being hidden behind the largest, bushiest, most aggressively expansionist moustache Pfefferkorn had ever seen It was a a with submoustaches that in turn had sub submoustaches, each of which might be said to be deserving of its own area code It was a moustache that vexed profoundly questions of waxing, a moustache the merest glimpse of which might spur female musk oxen to ovulate It was a moustache that would have driven Nietzsche mad with envy, had he not been mad already If the three most copiously flowing waterfalls in the world, Niagara, Victoria, and Iguazu Falls, were somehow united, and their combined outputs rendered in facial hair, this man s moustache would not have been an inaccurate model, save that this man s moustache also challenged traditional notions of gravity by growing outward, upward, and laterally It was an impressive moustache and Pfefferkorn was impressed Pfefferkorn is fond of coming up with outlandish ideas and wondering if they might be good premises for a novel Naturally, these wild plot developments turn up in the Zlabian intrigue Throughout commentary on the Zlabian hit show The Poem, It Is Bad and the magical disguising power of mustaches, the overly complicated plot unfolds with precision in ways that are both predictable and unexpected This is a masterful satire of the thriller genre, but at the same time, a fantastic thriller It might be the ultimate beach read.Source disclosure I received an uncorrected proof of this book through LibraryThing s Early Reviewer program. This must be one of the strangest books I have ever read I have read books from this author before and have enjoyed them but this one was really odd I thought it was going to be a thriller mystery and it did start off that way but I found myself asking out loud what just happened Even though I finished this book I really couldn t tell you how it ended because I really don t understand myself and if you asked me what it was about I m not sure I could tell you that either Audio version 3 stars If you have the option to read book over listening to audio unless you are in car or bedridden I thoroughly concentrate every second , I strongly believe this is one to do so I think my rating would have been higher if I read book vs listening to audio, even w me rewinding numerous times listening over a 4 day period vs my regular 2 to 3 From some other reviews I read just when I was starting to read listen to Potboiler, I could see this was one that a love it or you hate it kind so I was curious which I would be Well, oddly I fell it between, but probably would be closer to the love side I suspect if I read it vs listened to it At times it seemed odd or even all over the place, esp toward middle, but so much was clever and several funny moment esp things said somewhat in parody form, but they were things I frequently thought over the years, but esp this year on my reading binge This is def not dumb slapstick parody, this is very insightful extremely intelligent parody by just a very creative and imaginative writer This is my first from him, even though I am a fan of his mother which he is very different from so far only one by his father but own several , but at least this book was very different from their work and was very impressive in many ways.The synopsis above other reviews pretty well tell the books storyline and it really covers so many themes topics issues, BUT one I related to kind of sunk into was Arthur attempting to live out many of his what if I had done this, said that, wrote xyz AND finally playing out that grass looks greener picture and finding out if it is or isn t really greener must have sounded much funnier in the author s head *DOWNLOAD ↛ Potboiler ☙ Arthur Pfefferkorn Is A Has Been, Or Perhaps A Never Was A Middle Aged College Professor With Long Dead Literary Aspirations When His Oldest Friend, Bestselling Thriller Writer William De Vall E, Is Lost At Sea, Pfefferkorn Is Torn Between Envy And Grief, For De Vall E Not Only Outshone Pfefferkorn Professionally, But Married The Woman Pfefferkorn Loved Pfefferkorn S Decision To Reconnect With De Vall E S Widow Sets In Motion A Surreal Chain Of Events, Plunging Him Into A Shadowy Realm Of Double Crosses And Intrigue, A World Where No One Can Be Trusted And Nothing Can Be Taken Seriously At the moment, I feel as though I m in an alternative universe I put this book in yesterday, having started it the day before that, but Goodreads doesn t see it Oh well That is an example of frustrating ephermeralness, and that is partly how I might explain this book It is, at times, very funny I would say for the first half of the book, it is very clever in almost an Italo Calvino way and I mean that positively I love Calvino Kellerman isn t as creative, but he does surprise and amuse The second half didn t move as well There was still plenty of humor and I even was able to predict some of the things that happened but it felt almost heavy handed I love parody and satire, but even in the best ones, I am usually left feeling flat I m realizing that off the top of my head, the only truly funny book that I left feeling whole I m not expressing myself well is Kingsley Amis Lord Jim I am sure there are others, but this is always the first that comes to mine Kellerman is an able writer, but mainly, what I want to do is reread Lord Jim. The start of the book looked promising right up until the murder of the dance teacher However, after that, the book turned into a load of rubbish, most of the lanuguage was unreadable, because it was foreign, not to mention the words used in each sentence was enough to be pulling your hair out wondering what on earth the author was thinking The ending of the book went back to some normality, but the end of the book was just stupid.It s no wonder they can t put a review of the book on the back and tell people to just read it, you couldn t put a review on the back, it would turn people off reading it.I would not recomment this book unless you understand Zlabian, it s really bad.