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 Bookshop 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.
Warning: There are details of the books listed above in this story that may be spoilers for those who haven’t read them, but want to. I would say if you want to read any of those eight books…read them before you read this one.
Moving on. This is my second Peter Swanson book, and it did not disappoint. It was a different writing style than his previous book I read, The Kind Worth Killing, but I’m here for it.
So many theories went through my mind on what this book was going to be about. Admittingly I was wrong about all of it even after reading the synopsis. I thought there would be more details surrounding the “Eight Perfect Murder” list Mal/Malcom wrote on his blog. While there were snippets of the books, I wanted more details. This did however made me more curious about the Agatha Christie books I have on my TBR.
I loved it when the FBI became involved. Throw them in any story, and I’m here for it! How interesting would it be to go to a crime scene, with no body or gore, and look around?!
The pace really picked up when Mal starts his own investigation. Find the killer before the killer finds you. When the killer is finally revealed, I was surprised. I did not think this book was predictable at all. My favorite part was how the book ended. Mal’s omission was the icing on the cake and the perfect ending to the story.
Hats off to you, Peter Swanson, for writing another page turner! I’ll be adding this to my Peter Swanson Collection on my bookshelf!
Book Rating: 4/5
For the grand finale this would pair nicely with a Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.