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Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel (Malcolm Kershaw) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 3, 2020
"Across the Winding River" by Aimie K. Runyan
A woman unlocks the mystery of her father’s wartime past in a moving novel about secrets, sacrifice, and the power of love by the author of Daughters of the Night Sky. | Learn more
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“A wicked thriller that does not disappoint… Another gem that pulls the reader in and never lets go, even as the story comes to a close. This is a book that will keep you up at night and haunt your thoughts. A fun, chilling read.” -- Manhattan Book Review on Before She Knew Him
“Probably what you need right now is a good murder mystery. One that is bookish, engrossing, not overly gory and impossible to solve. Peter Swanson delivers all of this in Eight Perfect Murders… Swanson drops in lovely clues, but good luck figuring it out. -- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“An homage to classic mystery stories that offers both the charms of a puzzle mystery and the bleak atmosphere of a noir… The flawed main characters are well developed, the New England settings are vividly drawn, and the twists keep coming in this suspenseful, ingeniously plotted tale.” -- St. Louis Post Dispatch
“The pleasures of following, and trying to anticipate, a narrator who's constantly second- and third-guessing himself and everyone around him are authentic and intense… You wish the mounting complications, like a magician's showiest routine, could go on forever.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Mr. Swanson unfolds this creepy story with the assurance and economy of a master. Surprises follow one another with inevitability, until the final electrifying jolt.” -- Wall Street Journal on Before She Knew Him
“A devious whodunit” -- New York Times Book Review
“Swanson’s fourth psychological thriller is a gripping exploration of delusion and deceit; sure to please readers of Laura Lippman’s stand-alones.” -- Booklist on All the Beautiful Lies
“Suspense lovers will devour this deliciously duplicitous read, which is chock-full of twists, turns, lust, greed, and dishonesty.” -- Library Journal on All the Beautiful Lies
“The wintry setting and eerily cool narration, together with trust-no-one twists and garish murders, will satisfy thriller readers; fans of classic mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, and John D. MacDonald will enjoy… You’ll stay to the finish of this one.” -- Library Journal
About the Author
Peter Swanson is the author of seven novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; Before She Knew Him, and Eight Perfect Murders. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. He lives outside of Boston, where he is at work on his next novel.
- Publisher : William Morrow (March 3, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062838202
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062838209
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.97 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But you know what? I was willing to go with it because it is Peter Swanson. The master who gave us The Kind Worth Killing, Her Every Fear and Before She Knew Him. The problem with this book is that it doesn’t resemble the work we come to expect from Swanson. At all.
The writing is stale. The plot lines are disintegrated. You don’t enjoy the stoicism of the main character as you do with his previous novels. The main character actually TALKS about his stoicism repeatedly.
Too much repetition. Too much shallow details that lead to nowhere. No surprises. Just some shadows of Swanson’s signature style here and there. Disappointed beyond words.
I only hope that he needed to get this fascination with those novels out of his system, I read Strangers on a Train based on his recommendation in a previous interview, so maybe this half- baked idea was nagging him to get it in a novel and now it’s done, and we can move forward. Still, the fact that this book appears to be the first in a series is seriously worrying. I hated, hated, the blandness of Malcolm Kershaw.
I don't like to leave a crappy review without explaining why but I also don't like to provide spoilers. So it's hard to say why I didn't like this book. Ultimately the author didn't make me believe and didn't surprise me. Every "twist" was either foretold or just wasn't captivating. And the bit with his partners wife being interested in him - why? Why bother with that at all, it served no relevance to the story and moved nothing forward.
Go reread your favorite mystery and skip this one. You'll be much happier.
What about Swanson's own imagination? Extremely limited from what is on display here. Since so much of the book is based on the works of more skilled and much more interesting and imaginative writers Swanson had to surpass all of them in my estimation in order to succeed. He failed. His ideas are pedestrian or derivative of movies and TV shows. The overarching plot and the slow reveal of Malcolm’s true personality is a retread of every damn "unreliable narrator" book published in the past ten years. He even alludes to Gone Girl as a "clue" that Malcolm is just as unreliable as the narrator in that book. And makes it seem like Gillian Flynn invented the concept. I was rolling my eyes. Nothing was surprising at all. The movie-of-the-week style motivations of the protagonist and the horrible secrets of the victims “who deserved to die” was neither creepy nor spinechilling. It was just banal.
Finally the biggest insult of all. In Malcolm Kershaw he has created a bookseller who doesn't read the books he sells, who pretends to have read them when having conversations with his customers and employees. Swanson gives an entirely lame reason for Malcolm’s decision to stop reading crime fiction that is in conflict with his personality. Most likely this is meant as an indication that Malcolm is not to be trusted at all. But not only did I not trust him, I thoroughly despised him.
The writing was disjointed at points and a little clunky. The 'surprise ending' was obvious from the first chapter. There were several useless characters who merely showed up to deliver a few lines then went nowhere. Similarly, there were plotlines, such as The middle school teacher, that were obviously meant to advance The plot, but ended up reading like a few short stories. The writing moved along smoothly at points, but overall it dragged. None of the characters appealed to me enough to create the tension necessary for a thriller, they were flat.
Top reviews from other countries
If this had been the first or five hundredth 'who done it' I read, perhaps i would be pleased with the ending but i wasn't. I was so disappointed.
Also, i feel some stuff was redundant' padding to move the story forward or lead as astray - there are gaps where some murders should have been solved much quicker. It moved chunky at some points. Excellent premise. But too old formula to all the books he mentioned but maybe that was the authors intention.
This will be the book that I compare all other murder mystery books to. You do not need to be familiar with the '8 perfect murder' books referenced in this book. If anything; it just gives you motivation to read (or re-read them) after you finish this book.
Very well done Peter Swanson! HUGE fan!
Reviewed in Mexico on July 16, 2020
Well done. Thrilling to the final page.