Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Posted April 2, 2020 in review Tags:

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter SwansonEight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
Pages: 288

Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Setting: Boston, MA
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
Amazon iBooks Audible
Reading Challenges: Cloak and Dagger/Medical Examiner Challenge

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.

Eight Perfect Murders will appeal to fans of classic mystery. Here, Peter Swanson gives us an unreliable narrator and a cast of characters who all seem secretive. The plot unfolds slowly as you learn about Mal, the narrator, and the people around him.

The story begins with a blog post Mal wrote about “8 perfect murders” in literature. This post was 8 books that he felt had very creative and untraceable murders. Now, he wrote this YEARS before, so he is a bit perplexed when the FBI shows up to ask him for his expertise. Mind you, he is only a bit perplexed because he has secrets too.

I will admit, I was skeptical of everyone we met in the book, including the FBI agent! The murders from the books he mentioned in his post are a mix of well known (Strangers on a Train and ABC murders) to books and authors I had never heard of. This kept things interesting because the murders were quite strange in some cases. What will keep readers reading Eight Perfect Murders is the mystery. You won’t really “like” any character in the story; It was nothing like Gone Girl, where I HATED every single person we met, but none of these characters make you feel sympathetic towards them because its all so sketchy!

Obviously, I don’t want to say much and spoil it for readers so I’m being intentionally vague about Eight Perfect Murders. If old school Agatha Christie, or obscure cult classic murder mysteries are your thing, you will be swept away in the allusions and name drops and modern twists of Eight Perfect Murders.


Gillian Flynn, Lisa Gardner, Graham Moore…then you will probably like Eight Perfect Murders!


Eight Perfect Murders

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