4.5 star, adult

Review: Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

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 Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s 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 A 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.

As promised, here’s the next Peter Swanson. Again, a great premise, and considering it’s a pretty quick read, I just had to know what happened in the end. I was not prepared for the whirlwind of surprises. I expected some of them yes, but so many of them I also didn’t, so again, I really enjoyed the experience. Stay tuned to find out a few more of the details!

Eight Perfect Murders revolves around our protagonist, Malcolm Kershaw, who is a lover of mystery books; or at least, he once was. Plagued by a recurring dreams and a rather subdued life as a bookstore manager, his life is suddenly uprooted when an FBI agent comes to his door. A series of murders seems to have been committed in a fashion similar to a blogpost he once wrote, about the “Eight Perfect Murders.” Who is behind this series of murders? And will the killer get to Mal before he can figure out who it is?

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Let’s Talk Bookish – Collecting Books

Aria @ Book Nook Bits is the new host for Let’s Talk Bookish! If you aren’t following her yet, good check out her blog and give her a follow!

January 20: Collecting Books (Zahra The Owl)

Prompts: Do you enjoy collecting books? Do you feel like physical books are overpriced? Do you buy books after you’ve read them to add to your collection? Do you buy special edition collector sets? How invested are you in your book collection? 

Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH! Today’s topic is about collecting books, which I’m sure many of us can relate to. I’d actually be more interested to see if there are bookish peeps who don’t at least want to collect books. Can’t wait to see what you all have to say.

I enjoy collecting books. But like I said, I don’t think that is surprising given the community we’re in here. I would say I’m not an avid book collector though. I have seen people get the works and really go all out on collecting very nice books and creating extravagant bookshelves. If finances weren’t a concern (and space!), I would certainly have more books. I certainly enjoy buying and collecting books, but I wouldn’t place myself at the top of the list of being the most avid book collector though.

I feel like not all physical books are overpriced, in which case, what criteria makes pricing go out of whack? Is it supply and demand? I honestly have no idea and have never looked into the economics of book pricing, but I don’t feel like books are always overpriced…though maybe I have just gotten used to it. I have seen some crazily overpriced books though, but maybe there’s a good reason for them.

I usually buy books before I read them, but if it’s a book I really like I’ll buy it after to add to my collection too. Or if there’s a special version with a new cover, that’s always a good reason to add something to your collection too. It’s not always the right time to be buying a book, so I do pick and choose my moments.

I haven’t really gotten into special edition collector sets. That being said, I have seen some in person and they are gorgeous. But I’ve checked some prices and they’re also exorbitantly expensive. I’m just not sure I can justify at this point in time. It does look ultra nice though, and had I the means, I’d probably consider it. It really is the ultimate decoration on the book shelf (and of course functional too!)

Ultimately, I am currently not overly invested in my book collection. It is something for my bucket list, and something to create as my career progresses, but I am not currently too bogged down in it. I am getting good ideas from my friends who have nice bookshelves and collections though!

How about you all? I know many of you read e-books or listen to audiobooks, but does that preclude a book collection? Let me know in the comments below!


Let’s Talk Bookish – Problematic Inspiration

Aria @ Book Nook Bits is the new host for Let’s Talk Bookish! If you aren’t following her yet, good check out her blog and give her a follow!

January 13: Problematic Inspiration (Ikwords @ Words on Key)

Prompts: Can inspiration for a book be problematic? What inspiration would you consider to be problematic? Should an author be canceled because of a perhaps controversial inspiration for their book? In other words, is any kind of inspiration “bad”?

Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH, everyone! Today’s topic is one that I’ve sometimes wondered, though not sure if I have ever openly complained about it. But I also wonder if problematic necessarily means bad. I’d love to hear what you all think on this!

I definitely think inspiration for a book can be problematic, but I’m not necessarily sure this is a problem in and of itself. If an inspiration for a book pre-supposes some sort of notion that is inappropriate/problematic, then I would call that a problematic inspiration, although it may not be the case that the book itself automatically becomes problematic. It could be a book that tries to combat the status quo or take a presupposition to take it down. In these cases I think it’s probably okay that there was a problematic inspiration.

I think something like a very racist sentiment being the underlying inspiration could be an example of something problematic. But again, I think it probably comes down more to how the book is executed that determines whether it is problematic or not. In addition, something having a problematic inspiration may not always necessarily be written out in a way that is problematic, so in a way it doesn’t matter what the inspiration was. That of course all changes if you announce your inspiration…but I hope authors would be smart enough to keep such sentiments to themselves if so.

Should an author be canceled for these inspirations…probably. If we accept and condone it, we are basically accepting their problematic viewpoints. One particularly famous author comes to mind. Although if the inspiration is just controversial and not actually wholly accepted as problematic, there’s no need to cancel them at that point. I think discussion is healthy and we should all be open-minded to both sides of a situation/perspective and to make judgments for ourselves.

I don’t think any kind of inspiration is “bad” in and of itself for a book. It really depends what stems from it and how the book is executed and written. For example, a book about all women being weak and needy stemming from the same inspiration is not likely something I would support. But if that initial thought made the author think to write about a protagonist combating that exact mentality…even if the inspiration was that they personally thought that all women were weak and needy…I think that we shouldn’t judge the book by its inspiration necessarily. Although if it is announced by the author themselves…then I think that should probably fall on the reflection of the book.

Hopefully that’s not too unfair. What do you all think about problematic inspirations in books? Is it the books themselves or the authors that are the problem…? Let me know in the comments below!