Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel (Paperback)
March 2020 Indie Next List
“Malcolm Kershaw is an unassuming bookseller who once wrote a list of the eight most perfect literary murders. He is surprised when the FBI shows up at his door and explains that someone is using this list and recreating the murders. With perfect pacing and shocking twists, this is a murder mystery with a classic feel that will leave you questioning how well you can know anyone. It will also add eight more books to your to-be-read pile as you will immediately need to read all the books on the perfect murder list!”
— Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY
A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the year
“Swanson rips us from one startling plot twist to the next… A true tour de force.” —Lisa Gardner
"Fiendish good fun." —Anthony Horowitz
From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.
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 Deathtrap, A. A. Milne's The 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 The Secret History.
But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore 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.
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.
“Eight Perfect Murders creates expectations it then subverts, presents suspects only to eliminate them, and in general has its own way with the tropes of the mystery thriller—including that genre mainstay, the unreliable narrator.”
— Wall Street Journal
“A devious whodunit”
— New York Times Book Review
“Engagingly original… This [is a] multilayered mystery that brims with duplicity, betrayal and revenge – all bubbling slowly to the surface… Swanson has a bent for revenge and murder. Fans won’t be disappointed.”
— USA Today
“Fiendish good fun.”
— Anthony Horowitz
“Eight Perfect Murders is an ever-unfolding puzzle… Mal frequently confides in the reader, showing that he knows more than he is letting the FBI believe. But what exactly does Mal know, and what might he be guilty of? These questions will plague readers and follow them throughout the book.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Clever and surprising… Swanson rips us from one startling plot twist to the next. A marriage that may not be what it seems [and] friends who may not be what they seem… With mounting tension and fraying nerves, it careens to the final stunning conclusion. A true tour de force.”
— Lisa Gardner
“Fiendishly clever catnip for any lover of classic crime fiction.”
— Seattle Times
“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
“A devilish premise combined with jaw-dropping execution… Mystery fans will be salivating as the plot unfolds, trying to outsmart the confoundingly unreliable narrative… Swanson hits every note in this homage to the old-school crime novel, and the turnabout ending will leave readers reeling in delight.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“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)