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Eight Perfect Murders

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Member Reviews

It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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As a librarian and big reader, I love books that talk about books. I'm also a mystery reader, so this was right up my alley. My library already has a copy of this book. It was a good read that was a little more interesting than a lot of books out there..From all of the good reviews I expected it to be a little better, but, overall, I'd recommend it. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
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Eight Perfect Murders is a perfectly acceptable murder mystery that will appeal to fans of the genre with an encyclopedic amount of knowledge about classic noir literature. Peter Swanson drops famous titles and characters like beads on Mardi Gras. This is great for readers who can pick up all of the references. Novices like myself will find themselves bored, and a little overwhelmed. Overall, this book is fine but not particularly noteworthy
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I was drawn into this story right away and it kept pulling me back in chapter after chapter. Unfortunately, I found the whodunnit reveal and the ending to be a bit of a disappointment.
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This book wasn't exactly what I thought it'd be.  It didn't flow as well as most - I really didn't like the narrator even from the beginning.  He was a hard person to like!  It did keep you guessing - and reading.
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QUICK TAKE: I had high hopes after last year's Swanson entry, BEFORE SHE KNEW HIM, unfortunately this one was a little slow for me with an ending that left me wanting more, The story starts out strong with a serial killer replicating some of the most famous literary murders, but the mystery meandered and the reveal of the killer was unsatisfactory. Middle-of-the-pack Swanson for me.
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Special Agent Gwen Mulvey of the FBI contacts Malcolm Kershaw, a bookstore owner/manager, about a book list of eight perfect murders he posted on the bookstore's blog.  They books are actual mysteries written by people like Agatha Christie.  It seems someone is murdering people based on the mysteries he chose.  This was written like an old-time mystery, which I loved.  I also liked that the author explains what the plots of the books were and connected them to the murders.  I was interested throughout the book and had a hard time putting it down.  I think this book would make a great book club choice.
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This is a really thrilling mystery book with a great hook. Someone appears to be using an internet list of 8 books that depict perfect murders to perform actual murders. Malcolm, the author of that list who owns a Boston mystery book store, is consulted by an FBI agent, and is also the story's narrator. I enjoyed the many mystery books discussed completely, including endings. I was thoroughly entertained by this story and was only able to figure out a small part of the mystery. I highly recommend it!  Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC.
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I enjoyed this one and liked all the talk surrounding some of the best mystery fiction of our time as I love talking books, but on the flip side, that is what kind of bogged down the book.  And if you plan on reading any of these great mysteries, this book is hugely spoilerish and gives quite a bit away on all these classics.
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In Peter Swanson’s latest, reminiscent of Caroline Leone’s You, a bookseller, Malcolm, finds that his life is turned topsy turvy when an FBI agent informs him that a killer is choosing victims based on a list of literary “perfect murders” that Malcolm had compiled years earlier. Malcolm sets out to find the culprit and discovers some shocking truths along the way.

I loved everything about this. First off, as a librarian who orders mysteries for our collection, I was immediately captivated by the literary theme. I loved that the protagonist was a bookseller and thoroughly enjoyed the many literary references. I also felt that Swanson’s portrayal of Malcolm, particularly from a psychological aspect, was brilliant. I can’t say too much without giving the plot away, but this is a must read for fans of psychological fiction.

Many thanks to Netgalley, William Morrow and Peter Swanson for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem.  I'm a big fan of Peter Swanson's thrillers so that's what I thought I was getting.  I'm not a big mystery reader but somehow this worked for me.  I talked it up at my last library book talk.  The holds list doubled after that.

I look forward to his next one.
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Consider this for your book group . There is lots of gray moral area here and an  unreliable narrator too. There are  allusions to the classic Christie novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. If you are a mystery lover you should enjoy this and if you are in a mystery book discussion group this would be a good choice.
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book from HarperCollins Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

I have some mixed feelings about this book. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it, but I can’t say that I was totally satisfied with this book.

We follow Malcolm, who is co-owner of the Old Devils Bookshop. Malcolm is approached by an FBI agent who is investigating several murders that have a connection to a blog post that Malcolm wrote years ago. The blog post was titled, “Eight Perfect Murders” and comprised of a list of the most impossible to solve murders in the thriller/mystery genre. The list included:

A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Death Trap by Ira Levin
Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Malice Aforethought by Anthony Berkeley Cox
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
The Drowner John D. Macdonald
A Secret History by Donna Tartt
As evidence and bodies pile up, the blame begins to shift towards Malcolm. Malcolm claims he has no involvement in the murders, but an air of secrecy surrounds him throughout the book.

From this list I have only read A Secret History (which I loved), so there may have been some details that went over my head. I did enjoy reading about all these awesome thrillers, however, there are obviously spoilers for all the books mentioned above. If you have any intention of reading the books from Malcolm’s list, you should read them before reading this book or you will most definitely get spoiled.

I won’t go into great detail about what I didn’t like, but I will say that this book includes a very trendy thriller trope that is a little overdone these days. I don’t think that the twists were particularly special or unique or even unexpected. I didn’t guess who the killer was, but when it was revealed I was a little disappointed.

What I totally loved was the vibe of the whole book; I loved the bookshop in Boston vibe. I always love when a book features a bookworm as a main character, so props to Peter Swanson for that. I enjoyed the pacing, it was a bit slow but I feel like it went well the overall feel of the book. I really enjoyed the idea of this book, just not the execution. My major disappointment with this book was that the characters were not well-developed and the twist was not as twist-y as I would’ve hoped.

I would still recommend this if you like a slow paced thriller, or if you like the book within a book concept. This was a great idea, the final product was just not for me.
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Eight Perfect Murders is a completely unique kind of thriller. This book is for the book nerd that loves thrillers and murder mysteries. This was such fun!  

So, the story is from the point of view of Malcolm. He is a widower that owns a bookstore who has a pretty quiet life. He suddenly gets visited by an FBI agent that wants his help because she believes that someone is using a list that he created and posted online called Eight Perfect Murders. The list has eight books and why the murders were perfect crimes. The FBI agent has crimes that she believes fit the M.O. of each book on his list.  

There are lots of twists, turns, and secrets revealed throughout the book. As a reader you start out thinking one thing about a certain character and then are completely surprised to find that they are not who you thought they were.  

One thing that I truly enjoyed about this book was that I did not know who the killer was until the reveal. I find myself sometimes underwhelmed with the ending of thrillers because I do read so many. I thought almost every person that Malcolm encountered could be the killer, there were so many red herrings and I loved every moment of it; no one is to be trusted!  

I loved that this novel had part of the setting in a book store and that it used books as a framework for a killer to commit murders, it is just so different from most mysteries I have read. There are now even more mysteries for me to add to my reading list now. The only thing that was unfortunate is that because of the premise of the book a lot of the endings of these novels are given away, so just beware of that if you hate spoiled endings.  

I recommend this novel to anyone that loves mysteries and an interesting story.  

ARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley.
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Peter Swanson is back at it again with a brand new, fast paced thriller. The main character of the book, Malcolm Kershaw, comes up with his list of eight perfect murders taken from some of his favorite crime fiction novels. Someone close to him later finds his list and starts carrying out the murders in real life. Malcolm Kershaw is also seen as a suspect by the police while they try to find out who is committing the murders. Malcolm has to act like a detective in one of his favorite crime novels to figure out who is committing the murders before it is too late. I thought that this book had too many loose ends that left me with too many questions. Overall, I liked this book but I enjoyed his previous book "Before She Knew Him" more.
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I was introduced to some new to me mysteries, but overall, I’d say this book is ho-hum. found the fact an FBI agent worked with a private individual on solving crimes implausible. I could see the FBI agent consulting with an expert on mysteries, but the expert not being an active participant.  The concept of how two murderers were able to manipulate each other into action didn’t ring true. What did feel true was the bookstore and the love of books.
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3.5 stars

I’ve been wanting to read one of Peter Swanson’s books for a long time, as I’ve heard so many good things about his previous books.  In fact, I actually have most of Swanson’s previous books sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to read.  I probably should’ve started at the beginning with his first book, but instead, I started backwards with his newest work Eight Perfect Murders, which came out this month.  While I liked this one well enough overall, it didn’t impress me the way I was expecting it to. 

The premise itself actually had a lot of potential:  we have the main protagonist, bookstore owner Malcolm (Mal) Kershaw, who writes a blog post for his store book that lists 8 books where he felt had “perfect” murders – ones that were nearly impossible to crack and almost unsolvable.  Years later, after a surprise visit from an FBI agent, Mal discovers that someone has been using his list to commit murders that were in the same vein as the ones described in the books.  Things get even more complicated when Mal begins digging into the details of some of the cases and realizes that the murders correlating with the books weren’t a mere coincidence – there is a connection between all the murders, one that threatens to implicate Mal himself.   

As a reader, I definitely appreciated how the premise revolved around books and was fascinated by how well Swanson was able to correlate those books to the plot in his own story.  With that said though, I think I would’ve enjoyed this book more if I were an actual fan of mysteries and thrillers, as this one seemed to be specifically tailored to fans.  While I do read a fair share of books in the mystery / thriller / suspense category, I would only count myself as a “casual” reader of the genre – I haven’t read any of the books mentioned in the story (not even the Agatha Christie ones) and quite a few of them I actually never even heard of.  

In terms of the plot – I felt that some of the plot points were a bit far-fetched and there were also too many “I knew I shouldn’t have but I did it anyway” moments with Mal that annoyed me to no end (it’s actually one of my pet peeves when it comes to characters in books).  The other issue was that there was way too much talking and explaining throughout the book, some of which I felt was unnecessary and made some parts feel repetitious and long-winded.  It also didn’t help that I felt zero connection to any of the characters and at near the end, didn’t really care too much what happened to them.  

Overall, I felt this was a decent read that kept my attention, but didn’t stand out.  This one also didn’t have as much of the suspense element that I was expecting – there were some twists, but a lot of them were predictable and it kind of took the fun out of reading this at times.  I liked the premise, but wasn’t a fan of the execution, mostly as it pertained to the plot and how things played out.  Having said all that though, I’m still interested in reading Swanson’s other books, especially his earlier ones, and of course, his next one.

Received ARC from William Morrow (HarperCollins) via NetGalley.
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Wow! What do I even say about a book that has rendered me speechless? This book is a thriller lovers dream come true. First of all, Peter Swanson won me over with The Kind Worth Killing and has never let me down since. I find him and Liz Nugent to be the masters of the dark, twisted thrillers. I often wonder how they come up with this stuff! Can you imagine their computer search history? The stuff that murders are made of!!!
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This was another great thriller by Peter Swanson! I especially loved tying in all of the old, classic murder mysteries! I would highly recommend.
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"Eight Perfect Murders," by Peter Swanson, William Morrow, 288 pages, March 3, 2020.

In 2004, Malcolm Kershaw worked at the  Old Devils Bookstore in Boston. He compiled a list of the most unsolvable murders in novels. He called them Eight Perfect Murders.

Now Mal is co-owner of the store. His wife, Claire, died in a vehicle accident five years ago. Mal primarily reads history and poetry these days. It is February and a snowstorm is starting.

FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey comes to talk to him. She's looking for information about a series of murders that are similar to the killings on his list. Robin Callahan, a local news anchor, Jay Bradshaw, Bill Manso, an investment broker, and Ethan Byrd, a college student, were all murdered. It is believed that the murders are connected. There may be even more.

Then Mal notices a reply to the blog that appears to have come from the killer. He learns that he is a suspect, but Mal is hiding a secret that would tie him even more closely to the murders.

The characters and plot are complex. The ending is surprising. Classic who-dun-it fans will love this.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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