Review | Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

“Books are time travel. True readers all know this. But books don’t just take you back to the time in which they were written; they can take you back to different versions of yourself.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: blog posts, thriller books, secrets, ginger cats, questions and the dark web.

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. 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.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for the longest time, and now that I did… I’m underwhelmed. 

In my eyes, this story had great potential. The concept behind the book is incredibly creative: a bookstore owner wrote a blog post about eight perfect murders based on great thriller books, and someone decided to recreate those murders. He then gets to work with an investigator to discover who is responsible for those murders.

The book was okay. It’s the kind of story where you keep uncovering secrets and you don’t know if you can trust the main character. With that said, it’s not the most memorable book, probably because the real plot is overshadowed by the other thriller books it’s based on. I also wasn’t a fan of the ending and the “big” plot twist.

One thing that REALLY bothered me about this book was how some books I wanted to read were spoiled. To be fair, the thrillers mentioned are pretty old, but I still wanted to read some books from Agatha Christie that were mentioned. Unfortunately, this story describes exactly what happens in each mentioned thriller book… including the plot twists and killers! So… thank you for that.

If you like books about books, you should probably give this one a go. Like I said, there’s a bookstore and there are endless references to thriller books, and if that’s something you might enjoy, you should give it a go.


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