Monday, March 16, 2020

Is There Such a Thing as a Perfect Murder?

TITLE: Eight Perfect Murders
AUTHOR: Peter Swanson
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUBLISHING DATE: March 3, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

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. 

MY THOUGHTS: I've been seeing this book everywhere so when I saw it on Overdrive, I had to put it on hold.  I really have had great success with mystery/thrillers this year and I've always wanted to give this author a try.  I'm thrilled to say that Eight Perfect Murders was everything I was expecting and a little bit more.

Malcolm is part owner in a Boston bookshop.  Several years ago his wife Claire, died in a car wreck on her way home.  Since then he has led a quiet life with only his store, his cat Nero and a few friends who are really more like acquaintances.  One day and FBI agent shows up questioning Malcolm about a list he posted on the store's website a few years ago. In this list, he showcased the books which he felt had the top eight perfect murders.  But now, someone has paid too much attention to the list and it may just cause things to come back to haunt Malcolm which he really would have rather stayed forgotten.

First of all, I think any mystery book lover will find themselves totally immersed in this novel.  There's a lot of talk about books and authors.  The bookshop sounds like a wonderful place to get lost one afternoon and some of the quirky patrons are even mentioned.  Also, the bulk of the book occurs on a backdrop of a Boston snowstorm and I know many people love that snowy setting.  Malcolm is likable enough.  I'm sure there will be a lot of comparisons to Kepnes' Joe in You because this book is also told in first person.  Malcolm does remind me of Joe - without the obsessive qualities but with some of the mental health concerns.  It was fun seeing him work side-by-side the FBI agent and share his literary insight with law enforcement.

I don't want to say much about the plot. I really feel that this is a book best entered into blindly.  Let me just say there are a ton of twists and turns.  Just when I thought I had something figured out, Swanson threw in another surprise.  My main issue with the book is the ending.  It's not open-ended per se, but it does leave the reader to draw a few of their own conclusions.  I would have rather had everything spelled out for me.  However, overall it didn't quell my enjoyment much.   Honestly, I think there are tons of people who will enjoy Eight Perfect Murders and I feel like if it's even remotely on your radar, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

RATING: 4 PAWS

23 comments:

  1. Ahhhhh, I can't wait to get to this one -- everything about it just appeals to the thriller fan in me!

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    1. It's getting great hype - hey, for once I didn't get burned by a hyped book. Yay me!

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  2. Great review! I had the book on my radar, but it's a definite read now when I have a chance.

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  3. I'm terrible at guessing plot twists, so I'm quite sure I wouldn't be able to with this book!

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  4. So I heard this spoils some Agatha Christie book endings so I might have to hold off on it till I have read them since I am trying to read through them but glad it was enjoyable! It's on my list!

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  5. You have me intrigued! Time to buy another book!

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    1. Yay! I say now is the PERFECT time to buy a new book.

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  6. sounds good to me. i have read some of his work and loved it.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. I really want to read some of his other stuff now.

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  7. Glad to hear this one's so good. It was already on my list. Too bad the library near me has closed for the foreseeable future. Sigh. Stupid coronavirus.

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  8. I have this one on audio for review so I skimmed your review. I do enjoy this author.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. It's my first book by him. I'm so glad I picked it up.

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  9. I can't wait to pick this one up!! :)

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  10. Ooh, this sounds really good!

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  11. I like my snowy settings and bookstores so I'm pretty intrigued by this. I might just need to treat myself to a few new books for the isolation period...like I really need more with 1300 unread books already!!!

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    1. Yes - treat yourself. I say we are earning a few treats wouldn't you?

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  12. I really like the sound of this one, particularly the book shop and book references. Will add this to my wishlist.
    Lynn :D

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