Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
Narrator: Graham Halstead
Published by HarperAudio on March 3, 2020
Length: 10 hours, 18 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
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, and Ira Levin’s Death Trap.
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. There is 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.
Eight Perfect Murders was not exactly what I expected. But that’s usually a good thing. The main character ran a book shop in Boston. I enjoyed the bookish things and the different authors and books discussed.
The book shop owner, before he was an owner, and was an employee, wrote his first post for the shop’s blog. It was a list of books which had eight perfect murders. He had visions of being a blog star or something but it only got a couple comments and that was the end.
Several years later, Mal is contacted by an FBI agent who thinks someone is using his list to murder people. The agent asks him to consult on the book and the murders as an expert of sorts. It appears the killer is maybe halfway through the list. The investigation is interesting in its examination of the books and whether they fit to the murders.
As they continue to investigate, Mal’s personal history including his wife and her death are woven into the background, along with all the people he knows as it becomes more clear the killer must know him somehow. Then new murders start happening on the list and Mal gets increasingly more entangled.
I enjoyed this story which builds adding a creepy detail each step of the way. So it’s not really shocking or twisty, as much as a suspenseful climax when each piece is added to the pile. It seemed very Dexterish that the ones killed were bad guys in the first place. But it isn’t really the killer’s place to judge.
The narrator was very easy to understand and sounded appropriate for the characters. I have heard him before in another Peter Swanson audiobook I got from the library. I was very comfortable listening and able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: