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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Not Exactly an Edge-of-Your-Seat Thriller, Eight Perfect Murders Still Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A decade ago, when he started working at Old Devils bookstore in Boston, Malcolm Kershaw published a blog post listing the most unsolvable murders appearing in classic mystery novels.  No one read it.  At least that's what Malcolm thought.  Now, ten years later, a string of murders has been committed and FBI agent Gwen Mulvey thinks the killer is using his list as a guide map.  

When Gwen asks for Malcolm's help, he hesitates.  Truth is, he knew one of the victims.  If he tells Gwen, suspicion might land on him, which is the last thing he wants considering all the secrets he's keeping ...

I don't want to say too much about the plot of Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson.  The less you know going into it, the better.  Despite its appearances, the novel features a slow-burn kind of story that becomes more engrossing as it goes.  Malcolm is not a super likable character, although he is a sympathetic one.  I related to his love of books and mysteries, even though his constant references to genre classics made me feel woefully under-read!  While I had my suspicions about certain members of the story's cast, Eight Perfect Murders did keep me guessing, which kept me reading even though it's not exactly an edge-of-your-seat thriller.  While I didn't love this book, I did appreciate its original premise, its twists and turns, and the fact that I was still thinking about the story days after I finished it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything really comparable.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I’d still like to read this, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  2. I'm planning on scheduling this one for our mystery book group to read in late spring 2021. I think I'm going to tell the group that they can read the book or read one of the '8 perfect murder' books or both. Think that would be fun and also give choices in case the library doesn't have many copies. What do you think?

  3. I'm like you, I didn't love this one, but there were things about it I did like, and I found it to be a pretty compelling read. And that ending... that definitely had me thinking. :)

  4. I didn't love it either, but it was interesting. I'm glad you were still able to enjoy it.

  5. Interesting premise, too bad it wasn't executed super well.

  6. I've heard some mixed reviews for this one. I love the sound of it but the negatives - especially the slow moving part - makes me think this isn't the one for me.

  7. I did not love this one either, and I was so disappointed because it seemed like something I should love a whole lot. I don't mind the slow-burn at all, but the ending just felt kind of off for me and I could not shake that thought.


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