“Books are time travel. True readers all know this.”Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
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.
Mystery, Murder, Book lists, Thriller, Bookseller, Detective,
Why This Rating?
By finishing this book I now have 8 new books added to my TBR pile everyone and this book isn’t even a part of a series. I didn’t even know that was possible! The books are:
- 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
- Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.
These are the same books that are the essential part of this book thanks to the post that our main character writes about and is now a check list for a murderer. Super crazy, but Swanson does such a great job with this story! One thing I would say about this list though. You might want to read or brush up on some of them at some point. Swanson does a fair job at relating the important things about the books during his story. However, because the ending of these books are needed to explain multiple scenes, the endings are spoiled for you. If you don’t want the ending of any of the 8 books listed above, read those BEFORE you read this. Funny enough, there is actually a warning within the novel about going and reading these before continuing. I didn’t realize how honest that warning is. In the end, I didn’t mind the fact that Swanson ended up telling me the plot and plot twists of these famous stories. I still want to go read them. But honestly, if you are against spoilers for stories, this needs to be the last one you read after you invest some time in the list.
Malcom Kershaw (Mal) becomes a really flushed out character and one that I am rooting for in the book. I mean, come on, the man keeps a book on his night stand to read when he can’t sleep and is willing to pull an all-nighter reading a book. Plus, I love the fact that he is a book seller. He thinks a lot like an individual who is obsessed with books does: you relate a lot of things back to stories you’ve read. Whether that be a move/tv show you are watching, news you’ve just heard about, or an even someone got to go do. Some how, you find a story and make a connection one way or another. – Call it a curse I guess – Mal even spends time analyzing the books he has put onto the list. I find this amazing! I don’t get to see analysis done on books as often and in such a deep and focused fashion. Loved to see the research come through in this book. You can tell that the author also had some love in this genre and wanted to share it with the world. I don’t know if there was some author bleed through in Mal, but I would like to think that the dedication to the research and a lot of the thoughts Mal had reflect some of Swanson.
One thing I want to challenge you all is to see if you can guess murderer is. I unfortunately, did not get it right so was throughly surprised when I found out! Honestly, the last 80 or so pages was a constant one thing after the next. The twist was crazy amazing and I loved the way Swanson wrote this mystery. His writing at first made it seem a bit odd in the lay out and the timing of the stories being told. Once at the end of the book though, it was a huge OOHHH! from me. So many things will make sense to you so stick it out! Then you’ll probably want to reread a few things after you finish – I know I wanted to for sure!
I totally recommend this book to you guys! It was written really well. The twists that we follow are crazy brilliant. The only thing I will warning you of (outside of the spoiler warning) are a few of the more sensitive topics in the story. There is a topic of suicide, killing, drug use, and some bloodier scenes in this novel. It is a murder mystery book so some of these things are a given, but still wanted to give you readers a heads up on some of the things that might make you a little uncomfortable when reading it.
Time to get lost in the next story!