Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts was published by Copperhill Media in June 2011. Order the print or Kindle edition from Amazon, Amazon (UK) or the print or Nook edition from Barnes & Noble. See an author interview here, and read reviews of the novel, here.

Paul Kirk is a librarian and one of his town's quirkier residents.  In a childhood home lacking parents (his mother dying of MS and his father an alcoholic) Paul had imagined himself a member of the neighboring family. Now in his late twenties, Paul vicariously participates in the households of his community. His peeping-Tom proclivities express his awkward need for social bonding.

Paul meets Bronwyn, a counselor who is lovely, independent and blind. She has inherited her Aunt Phyllis’ house and is newly arrived in town. When Paul first sees Bronwyn at church, he knows he wants to be part of her life.

As the mystery of Aunt Phyllis unfolds, Bronwyn and Paul become more deeply involved as they learn about Phyllis' secrets and how they relate to Bronwyn and her past, but Paul's peeping ways may ruin it all.


A peeping tom goes nuts over a blind girl in a witty, modern version of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford set in the South
Looking for a late summer read? Boiled Peanuts, a whimsical little tale full of characters as nutty as its title, is perfect for the beach or a plane ride.

Shy and awkward, librarian Paul Kirk craves intimacy but his social ineptitude always leaves him on the outside looking in. Not figuratively, but for real: he's a peeping tom. In his quest for closeness, if not stumbling over his bicycle, Paul is tripping into trouble. When he discovers a smarmy gigolo pushing a Ponzi scheme on a kindly middle-aged "cougar," he decides it's time to step out from the shadows and take action. Along the way he finally finds friendship and falls in love with the beautiful but blind Bronwyn. But can this voyeuristic Galahad win the trust of a girl who sees only with her heart?

Touching gently on themes of isolation and acceptance, U.K. transplant Doyle's debut novel, set in a small Southern town, has hints of Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. It's also reminiscent of the 19th-century novels adored by the protagonists, complete with jolly vicars, nosy aunts, family secrets and hidden treasure. But this is a lightweight read, with none of McCullers's existential angst or any Austen-esque aspirations of serious social satire. And Boiled Peanuts is firmly 21st century in its sexual sensibilities. This romance may be a bit raunchy for your maiden aunt, but she'll probably love it.
Tom Lavoie -

Quirky, Offbeat, Excellent Novel
Boiled Peanuts is a wonderful first novel for author John Patrick Doyle.

The setting is an everyman's hometown, with an offbeat set of characters, that are brought to life in a colorful and playful style.

The characters all have unusual traits, family ties, and family secrets... theirs are just a bit more out-there.

The excitement and suspense continue to build from the first colorful ladder climb, to the final undiscovered secrets and climactic encounters.

A vivid tale of Americana, though, definitely not for the closed minded.

Worth a read, but make sure you have extra time, as you may not want to put it down.

I will be looking forward to Mr. Doyle's next book. Well done!
Amazon - Cambell Shaw

Dramatic, Humorous, and Incredibly Unique
Paul Kirk doesn’t have much of a life. As a youth, he lost his mother to MS and his father, was and still is an alcoholic. The few times in his life where he did try to participate in normal social interactions, he usually felt like a fool and had to blunder his way through. It didn’t help that his peers were not very kind to him.

Never feeling comfortable with socially interacting with others, even from a young age, Paul found it easier to be a Peeping Tom. He wasn’t your typical perverted peeper. He just found it easier to watch other people engaging in their lives while just imaging that he had a role in their families.

As an adult, Paul is a librarian. This allows him to continue to live quietly, yet still be involved with knowing the town people. He is able to track them through his resources as a librarian. While they might not know who he is, he knows who they are. When Paul accidentally is identified as doing a heroic deed, he is forced into becoming more sociable. He does his best to participate in these interactions. Then one day, while at church, he meets the beautiful Bronwyn, who recently inherited a home from her deceased Aunt Phyllis. Paul falls for Bronwyn.

Bronwyn finds Paul endearing, but he doesn’t realize this at first, so he goes back to his Peeping Tom ways and imagines himself a part of her life. When Paul stumbles into a situation where he has to warn a local woman that she is being conned, he ticks off the conman. Not knowing where to find Paul, he goes after Bronwyn. This forces Paul to step out from behind his wall and become more involved. When Bronwyn lets Paul in on some family secrets regarding her Aunt Phyllis, he is excited to be involved in helping to solve her mystery.

I absolutely loved reading “Boiled Peanuts!” I found myself relating to Paul’s angst so many times in the story. While my own situations were never as extreme, I did feel a connection with him. The story is also full of quirky, eccentric characters who add so much humor to the drama. I also enjoyed the complexity of the mystery behind Aunt Phyllis. “Boiled Peanuts” is definitely not a typical fiction book, and when you find out how the name ties into the story, you will laugh out loud like I did! - Paige Lovitt

Perversely delightful-- worthy of re-reading...
Perversely delightful first novel, quirky and original. Not for the narrow-minded or easily-shocked, but a refreshing change of pace from mass-market genre, and a treat for the serious reader. The author has an extremely facile hand with words, and his sharp, charmingly off-beat insights and descriptions are fascinating. Definitely worth a read-- and a re-read.
Barnes & Noble - WRdelFeld

Leonard-Wibberley-Strength Wit and Writing
Paul Kirk thinks of himself as a badly baked loaf of bread, crusty on the outside and underdone inside, and even though still young at age he deems it too late to get back in the oven. But he hopes, seeing Bronwyn, a blind girl who newly arrived in town, will make him a whole loaf. His mother died of MS when he was eleven. His father is a drunkard, still alive, if you can call it that. Early in his childhood, deprived of parents every other kid in his neighborhood enjoyed, he would press his face against the window of his room, watching the neighboring couple and imagining his life with them. Adopting them as his parents felt like warm, buttered toast. Later, as an adult, he continues his voyeuristic adventures, which keeps him up-to-date on everything around town, but, eventually, might get him into trouble. Despite his faults, Paul acts well, living on noodles and a dream, a dream called Bronwyn. But he also realizes, telling Bronwyn he is a peeping tom is like tossing a two-headed coin and betting on tails. Add to this scenario a good portion of mystery in form of Bronwyn's aunt Phyllis' diary, spanning from her childhood into adult life and revealing shocking details that will change Bronwyn's life forever. With "Boiled Peanuts" Irish-born author John Patrick Doyle challenges the secret voyeur in all of us. Is peeping on your neighbors wrong? Aren't we all voyeuristic, peeping into somebody else's life by reading a book describing not only their life but also their most private secrets? Or to reverse the point of view, doesn't peeping on your neighbors have the same level of excitement and satisfaction like reading a good book? "Boiled Peanuts" is written with a great portion of (apolitical) Leonard-Wibberley-strength wit and observing and writing skills. I thoroughly enjoyed peeping on Paul Kirk's life, joining him during his peeping endeavors, and being involved in a mystery hunt. Reading "Boiled Peanuts" was a feast filled with joy and excitement. It is definitely a 5 Star read!
Barnes & Noble - Wilfried Voss.