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Potboiler ➳ [Reading] ➶ Potboiler By Jesse Kellerman ➩ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk 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 Vallèe is los 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 Vallèe is lost at sea Pfefferkorn is torn between envy and grief for de Vallèe not only outshone Pfefferkorn professionally but married the woman Pfefferkorn loved Pfefferkorn’s decision to reconnect with de Vallèe’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.


About the Author: Jesse Kellerman

Jesse Kellerman was born in Los Angeles in His award winning plays have been produced throughout the United States and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Most recently he received the Princess Grace Award given to America’s most promising young playwright He lives with his wife in New York City.



10 thoughts on “Potboiler

  1. Shelleyrae at Book& Shelleyrae at Book& says:

    Having been a huge fan of Jesse's parents Jonathon and Faye Kellerman work for a long time I read his first few novels Double Homicide Sunstroke and Trouble all psychological thrillers where Jesse proved to have inherited his parent's talents However Jesse's latter novels have shown a bent for irreverence combining psychological thriller with uirky and unusual elementsPotboiler was not anything like what I was expecting It's a satirical novel mocking popular fiction and I'm not entirely sure if Kellerman's intent is good humoured or a little malicious A 'potboiler' is defined as work produced only for financial gain written without concern for literary merit Kellerman's 'Potboiler' is a parody of an action thriller novel within a novel that is in itself a thriller Whimsical bordering on absurd at times it features the genres cliche's of well worn phrases unlikely plot twists and larger than life characters and yet in the next breath turns them on their heads Potboiler is somehow predictable and yet entirely not and while it's contradictory nature is odd it is also somehow compelling I kept reading partly in a vain attempt to make sense of the novel but also because Kellerman is a talented author who's writing kept me engaged almost against my willI have to admit I'm reluctant to recommend Potboiler largely because I don't know who I would recommend it to a literary snob who envies the success of bestselling thriller writers like Dan Brown perhaps? I just don't know but if satire is your thing then Potboiler may be the book for you


  2. Lizzie Hayes Lizzie Hayes says:

    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 Vallèe 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 lovedAs 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 laughingI 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 codeA story of failure success love betrayal espionage and the subtlety of the double cross this book is highly recommended Reviewer Lizzie Hayes


  3. Joe Noir Joe Noir says:

    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 uite 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 shelfA 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 itThen 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 anyI am now going to read a couple of real series thrillers of the men's adventure type to get my mojo back


  4. Allison Ketchell Allison Ketchell says:

    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 eually 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 becameArthur 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 uestionable 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 politicsTo 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 ualifications in making this recommendation The over the top writing drives me a little crazy and the stereotypes and predictable elements reuired of the genre make me roll my eyes; yet I can't not read themWhen Pfefferkorn finally reads a de Vallee novel he is contemptuousThe 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 uestions 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 impressedPfefferkorn 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 readSource disclosure I received an uncorrected proof of this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program


  5. Janebbooks Janebbooks says:

    Anatomy of a thriller novel October 14 2012The author of this mysterythriller 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 charactersArthur 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 collegeKowalczyk has been lost at sea and Pfefferkorn has an exclusive invitation to the California memorial service to comfort the widow CarlottaIn 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 spythriller according to JKa 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 becomingjust the tip of the icebergAlas 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 professorfriend 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 wallBut waitanother reviewer sez that everything and everyone is not as itthey 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 againAnd another DNF hits the return box at the library


  6. Sherri F. Sherri F. says:

    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 wme 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 readlisten 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 freuently 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 waysThe synopsis above other reviews pretty well tell the books storyline and it really covers so many themestopicsissues 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??


  7. Alex Alex says:

    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 thrillermystery 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


  8. Jane Jane says:

    must have sounded much funnier in the author's head


  9. Paige Paige says:

    This book currently has an average rating of 288 and although I realize I am rating it below that I just want to state for the record that I thought this book was way better than some 4 rated books I've read I just didn't like it all that much


  10. Katherine Clark Katherine Clark says:

    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


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