This was the first of two extremely entertaining thrillers that I read by Peter Swanson in 2022. I fear I may have read his best work now, so I’m not sure if I’ll be checking out any more of his stuff, but I can absolutely recommend Eight Perfect Murders as a stand-out thriller (along with The Kind Worth Killing). Holy shit, was this thing a page-turner.
So the plot here is that bookshop owner Malcolm Kershaw, years ago, compiled a list of literature’s most perfect murders and posted that list on his bookstore’s blog. The blog is neglected now, but it seems someone is paying attention to his list, because people start dying in ways that mimic the murders on it. Before he knows it, an FBI agent shows up on his door and he’s pulled in to the investigation.
I really cannot say more than that. It’s about the bare minimum to pique your interests without ruining the ride for you. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, and this really had a magic to it that most thrillers being published right now just do not have. I read it basically in one day. (A magic, I must note, that Swanson has not been able to reliably recapture, if his ratings on Goodreads are anything to go by.)
A warning, though: If you are at all worried about being spoiled for some older and classic mysteries, that absolutely happens in here, because the plot hinges on it. The books you will be spoiled for are Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie, The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, Double Indemnity by James Cain, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Drowner by John MacDonald, and Deathtrap by Ira Levin.
CBR BINGO: Elephant
I originally had the Elephant square reserved for The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North because that book is about a spirit that pursues a man across the earth in vengeance, and an elephant never forgets. But Emmalita wisely pointed out to me that I could have some BINGOs if I got to the Elephant square sooner, so I tackled my OCD to the ground, gagged it, and then decided to use this book for Elephant instead. Many of the murders in this book are also related to vengeance and grudges.
A BINGO at last! 😭 Three BINGOs! Thanks, Emmalita!