Mystery readers who enjoy thrillers chock-full of twists and turns will adore Peter Swanson's (Before She Knew Him; The Kind Worth Killing) meta-mystery Eight Perfect Murders. A few years back, indie mystery bookstore owner Malcolm Kershaw created a blog post listing eight mystery novels where "the murderer comes closest to realizing that platonic ideal of a perfect murder." Now, someone is using that list to replicate those murders. When FBI agent Gwen Mulvey contacts Kershaw, it's revealed that he knew some of the victims, and the killer may be trying to frame him for their deaths. Can he figure out who is behind the killings before he's incriminated?
Kershaw is the novel's narrator and even he notes, "I don't trust narrators any more than I trust the actual people in my life." He has some secrets in his past, including a dead wife and a store cat who figure into the mayhem. A murder mystery with a mystery bookstore owner as its narrator should delight fans as it revolves around analyzing plot points from Agatha Christie's The A.B.C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, Ira Levin's Deathtrap, John D. MacDonald's The Drowner and other classic puzzlers. Swanson uses plenty of clever twists and a tight cast of suspects to construct Eight Perfect Murders, a supremely entertaining whodunit that plays fair with attentive readers.
This superbly plotted novel, thrilling, fast-paced and psychologically complex, makes the perfect book club choice for fans of Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders and A.J. Finn's The Woman in the Window. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant