My book shelves are divided into two categories: "transitory" and "keepers." The transitory shelf is a limbo for audio books I'm listening to in the car, books queued up to read before bedtime or in the tub, and a few I've listed for trade at PaperBack Swap. Few books make the "keepers" shelf because, much like movies, I like to read one and then send it back out into the universe.

Mr. Peanut: The Miasma of Marriage and Death by Nut Allergy

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross"When David Pepin first dreamed of killing his wife, he didn't kill her himself. He dreamed of convenient acts of God." Those are the opening lines that hooked me on Mr. Peanut. Its author, Adam Ross, worked for nearly a decade on this debut novel. The New York Times called him a "sorcerer with words."

The death by anaphylactic shock of David Pepin's nut-allergic wife, Alice, may or may not have been murder. The story is based on a real-life incident in Ross's family, and he assembles a series of tableaus involving Pepin and two detectives investigating Alice's death. One of the men is convicted 1950's-era wife-killer Sam Sheppard, here dropped into another role. The author makes us squirm by pulling back the curtain on each of their troubled marriages in subtly relateable ways almost too dirt-under-your-fingernails disturbing to acknowledge.