Eight Perfect Murders: Review

“How do you get away with murder? Make it look impossible….”

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my quirky corner of the web, and if it’s your first time here thank you for stopping by I do hope you will stay! It has been one long minute since I posted. I know it is terrible! I do want to say THANK YOU so much to my subscribers for sticking around, and to the ones I’ve recently gained. I am creeping very close to 100 subscribers, and when I reach that there will be a giveaway happening! So be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. I could make a million excuses for why I haven’t posted in way too long, but I’m not even going to try. Life is crazy, but I don’t believe in excuses. Therefore, I am sorry I’ve been gone, but let’s just jump right back into it shall we?

What better way to jump back into things than with a good old murder mystery? I had some other reviews planned, but I just couldn’t wait on this one. Today we are talking all about Peter Swanson’s newest book Eight Perfect Murders! This is his newest release, but as usual I’m still late to the party. Eight Perfect Murders came out in March of this year, and I did have it included in my post https://kaylesquirkycorner.com/2020/02/02/upcoming-book-releases-i-cant-wait-for/. Obviously I was anticipating its release, but my ever growing TBR just didn’t let me get to it. If only I could get paid to read books all day, wouldn’t that be a dream?

Eight Perfect Murders was my introduction to Peter Swanson. I honestly had not heard of him until I was searching for new thriller genre releases in 2020. When I came across the blurb for this book I was immediately excited to get my hands on it. Plus it comes highly recommended from Lisa Gardner herself whom I consider one of the best crime/thriller writers. If she recommends it I will read it at some point. The basis of this book is we follow Malcolm who is the owner of a crime fiction book store. Years prior to the story taking place Malcolm wrote a list of what he considered the eight most perfect murders from crime fiction books. Now in present time the FBI is on his tale because someone is committing the murders from his list, and we are left to wonder is Malcolm a good guy or a stone cold serial killer.

I admit this book left me in a spot of uncertainty. I liked the book, but it didn’t exactly knock my socks off either. From the very beginning of the book you get a sense that Malcolm is not completely innocent. He doesn’t scream I’m a guilty man, but he is a character with something to hide. I do like the fact that Swanson teeters on the ledge of is he innocent or is he guilty throughout the entire book. As a reader you get small answers here and there that at the time seem significant, but in the end there is still one ultimate answer that you don’t see coming. I guess it works that way in real life too. The most infamous serial killers in their time were charming people that no one suspected. One thing this story plays on well is the fact that the guilty rarely look guilty.

One thing I was hoping for that I didn’t get was more about the murders. When you title a book Eight Perfect Murders I expect to hear all about these murders. However, the murders themselves were an after thought. One of the murders does get a little attention because Malcolm helps to search for evidence. The rest are just mentioned here and there. Rather than focus on the murders there is more focus on the books that the murders come from as well as Malcolm’s search for the person doing it. I feel like I got a summary of eight past murder mystery books. It was almost as if he was promoting these infamous books to you rather than telling his own story. Plus there is a lot of time spent focusing on Malcolm’s search for the killer as well as delving into his past. It didn’t make it a bad story it simply made it not what I was expecting.

There are good plot twists in the story. I appreciate a good plot twist. It is nice when a character in the book thinks they have it all figured out only to once again be stumped. I found a lot in this book that Malcolm is trying to solve the mystery, but he keeps coming to dead ends. It makes it a fun journey, and you really only see the story from Malcolm’s perspective so it is easy to get blinded. You end up following his chain of thought, and when he is wrong you haven’t formed any theories of your own. Therefore, when you get to the end it is shocking to you. At least for me the ending wasn’t at all a theory that had crossed my mind. It was actually a good ending to a fun journey of mystery.

If I take away what I expected from the book then it is a great book. When I consider what I expected/ what I was excited for then it’s just an okay book. I honestly think my expectations for the book ruined it a little for me. It’s still a good book, but I thought it would focus on the perfect murders more than it did. I wanted their to be a case being built on connecting the murders, and build up to it connecting to Malcolm. However, there’s no build up at all. It starts off with the FBI coming to speak with Malcolm, and then there are some murders mentioned in no great detail. Perhaps it is my fault for misunderstanding what the book would be like, but I also believe the title is a bit misleading. The title to me suggests murder is the focus when in fact it’s just a side note.

All in all I say still read this book. Go into it with less expectations than me, and I do believe you will love the adventure. My advice, truly focus on putting yourself in Malcolm’s shoes. Let yourself be blinded by only seeing what he see’s because then when you get to the end you will be stunned. I think it is key to put yourself in the mind of Malcolm to get the full experience of this book. I do truly think it is a worthy read. If you have read anything else from Peter Swanson please let me know which ones to check out! I’m interested to read other things by him, but I’d love recommendations.

Have you guys read this one yet? If so let me hear all your thoughts in the comments! Did it meet your expectations? I can’t wait to hear! Thank you guys for hanging out in my quirky corner for a bit, and I’ll be talking to you soon.

~Kayle Jo

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