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Eight Perfect Murders (2019)

by Peter Swanson

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1,41110513,417 (3.64)61
From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes 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 Bookstore 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. There is 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" --… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
I loved this book! I honestly was guessing the whole time. This! This right here is what more thriller/mystery writers should be doing! I'm honestly still second guessing whether the ending is reliable or not. Swanson does a great job as setting the stage, planting little doubts here and there, making you think the whole time. I honestly didn't see much of what happened coming. I also love the references to other books within in the book. OH! OH! AND THE LITTLE CAMEO! OMG so clever. There's so much to unpack here, I really need someone to talk to about this book. But read it first! ( )
  prebs29 | Jul 6, 2024 |
I loved this book. This was for me. It hooked me from the first page. I read Eight Perfect Murders really quickly, since the writing style is very suitable for that and then immediately once again.
Malcolm is an interesting character and narrator that we slowly learn more about and I loved the plot of catching a killer who tries to imitate the murders from books on a list. I enjoyed the places the story went to and I also loved the ending.
The book spoilers the main twists of the books from the list and also of the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but it didn't put me off reading them at all, instead it made me want to read (most of) them, and some of them I have now read! I love it when books manage to get me interested in other books I never would have picked up otherwise.
Objectively speaking, The kind worth killing is probably Peter Swanson's best work, but this one is my favourite from him.
( )
  charmaininthelibrary | May 15, 2024 |
“Books are time travel…they can take you back to different versions of yourself.”

This started off well and had an interesting twist but it tended to drag and be repetitive. The references to the other books within the plot gave a lot of spoilers but that is to be expected. The characters lacked depth and interest so I wasn’t particularly invested in the protagonist being good or bad, alive or dead. I think I preferred the cat the most!

Personal irk, I hate it when authors constantly repeat surnames of only some of the characters. Most of us readers are not morons with short attention spans and it shows an annoying lack of consistency. ( )
  moosenoose | Apr 4, 2024 |
This started off well even though I had no idea where the story was leading. The narrator is a mystery bookseller and created a blog post about eight well-known mysteries with the same title as the book. I have already read the books referenced so I wasn’t worried about spoilers, which was fortunate as there are many. My suspicions began before the FBI started showing an interest in the list and the list-maker. Repeated references to the plots and characters from books on the list gave the story a repetitive feel, compounded by the corresponding plot and characters in the story. A clever idea that got bogged down in details. Disappointing, especially with so many spoilers. ( )
  VivienneR | Mar 11, 2024 |
I will admit that when I first started this book, I was not sure that I would finish it. What I perceived it to be more about literature books of the perfect murder, happily turned out to be so much more. I am relieved that I stuck with it. The book does follow many works of classic suspense books, but entwined with its own unique story. A story that held my interest right through to the end. It definitely has some neat interesting twists that you might not see coming. ( )
  CrystalR68 | Feb 20, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
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To the Kings and Queens and Princes, too-- Brian, Jen, Adelaide, Maxine, Oliver, and Julius
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The front door opened, and I heard the stamp of the FBI agent's feet on the doormat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes 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 Bookstore 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. There is 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" --

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