Eight Perfect Murders

“Disclaimer: While what you are about to read is largely true, I have recreated some events and conversations from memory. A few names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the innocent.”

Thank you William Morrow Books for gifting me a copy of Peter Swanson’s newest novel, EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS. 

“A chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookshop in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects—and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.”

This might be the first time a book has hooked me before the story had even begun. The first page reads ‘memoir’ and then the next page states that the names of those involved have been changed to protect their innocence. I mean it when I say, I was hooked. It read like a true crime novel.

The whole book read like one in-depth case study into the world of writing a mystery/horror/suspense novel; it was fascinating. I kept having to pause and tell my husband bits about what I was reading because I just had to share with someone. I even started to feel as if I were the detective on this case and it was my responsibility to figure out what was going on and who was responsible for these murders. 

I forced myself to read the book slowly as I was trying to look for clues that could potentially reveal who the killer was. I felt as if the main character, Mal, was providing clues to me that would lead me to an answer. Swanson’s attention to detail was incredible.

Also, I hate to admit this but I have not read an Agatha Christie novel and EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS has forced my hand; I am adding a Christie book to my reading list and I am going to make it happen. I loved all of the references to older mystery novels that Swanson provided – it made me appreciate the brilliant minds of crime writers. 

By the way, that ending? Pretty dang good. 

Thank you, Peter Swanson and William Morrow Books for gifting me this book! EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS will be published on March 3, 2020, and is available for pre-order now. 

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