September 25, 2020

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Murders Wraps A Brilliant Thriller In A Love Letter Re: All Things Bookish, To All Those That Revel In It

Peter Swanson's Latest, Eight Perfect Murders Takes A Suspenseful Thriller And Wraps It Up In A Love Letter To All Things Bookish, And Those That Revel In It


Marvel did a brilliant job in EndGame. Well, the more you had invested int the ride that was Marvel since Iron Man 1, the more you got out of EndGame. It was, at its core, a love letter to Avenger fans. And while yes, I admit to being able to draw an Avenger reference to just about anything at this point.

The parallel truly, if you did take that Avenger ride, smacks you in the face, in a fantastic ride. Beyond the amazing thriller at the core. Eight Perfect Murders accomplishes a truly beautiful thing for anyone that considers themselves bookish, or apart of the bookish community, at large. It recognizes, acknowledges, and tips its hat at you in some way, shape or form.

While I would love to go through them all in stunning detail. And anyone who has been around my site long enough knows that I completely could. There is an epic story to get to, here (not that there that much to talk about… because, spoilers). I will indulge myself and you with a shallow list. I say shallow because the depths in which Swanson discusses these different parts and interweaves them throughout the story is absolutely incredible. At times, some of them become themes that made me reflect on the impact of different genres, sub-genres, and overall types of stories might be having. Are stories me, my dark soul, and my shattered heart are drawn to pushing it further? And well…

To Bookish Things And People I’ve Loved Before

  1. Bookstores and Booksellers
  2. The many genres – or even those that just stick to the one genre of their life
  3. Authors!!!!
  4. Blogs- Yes, Mr. Swanson- You had me at “Indispensable”
  5. Nostalgia- Through the good times, bad times, and all of them in between- Books.
  6. The entirety of the above- the bookish community- the ability to talk about books, share books, recommend books, lose our minds together, disagree about them and scream, get lost in books- finish it look up and yell in public just to realize no one knows what you are yelling about but you- or go online and yell at a bunch of others. YES! ALL OF US!
  7. ALL THE EDITIONS OF BOOKS–  Yep. For all the first editions of whatever books are in Eight Perfect Murders? I sat there thinking- hell one day– I’ll be like- I have what editions signed, unsigned and otherwise of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom???!

A Memoir FFS

Ok. Look. This is my first book by Swanson. So maybe this is just a me thing. And fine then. Just stop reading now. I won’t be offended. BUT. Here’s the thing. THE WHOLE THING IS WRITTEN AS A MEMOIR. A DAMN MEMOIR.

Apparently Swanson didn’t think it was enough (IT WAS ENOUGH). The story he wrote, I mean. He didn’t think it was gonna keep people screaming WHAT THE MESS (OH YES IT WILL) with a first-person narrative, multiple points of view narrative, or even an unreliable narrative (OH and he gets to that when he reminisces on bookish things TOO). NOPE. This whole hot damn- keep you up till it the sun comes up and you are yelling so loud the neighbor comes up, banging on your door because he thinks YOU ARE THE ONE BEING KILLED- (OH YES HE WILL) is wrapped up in a fictional memoir. And what does that do? Oh. I’m so glad you asked. Here is what that does. Well. Without spoilers.

First, it gives you many, many moments like the one in the featured image. I’ll quote it again because it was the least spoilery I could come up with.

If these words are ever read, then I am sure that the reader might have already guessed that I have more to do with these crimes than I’ve been letting on. It’s not as though there haven’t been clues.

And that is NOTHING. So. Yeah. The memoir angle is a stroke of genius and it is bile rising, heart racing and a straight out kick in the ass.

Here’s What I Can Say

Malcolm Kershaw is a HOT WRECK. No seriously. Your main character owns Old Devils Bookstore and years ago he wrote, well like a Top Ten Tuesday (I tagged one of my favorite ones there- not one I think anyone could go ripping murders off of, but hey, it is Kaz Brekker- so why not?), but he built a list of the most perfect murders he’d come across in the mystery books he’d read. Someone who has read his post, decides to start picking them off the page and acting them out in real life. WHOOPS.

Here’s the point where, I, your most amusing neurotic, starts thinking through all my posts and thinking – CRAP!

Anyhow, his personal life isn’t kicking to well, either. Five years previously his wife, Claire had died. And he’d been pretty much a loner ever since. Except, of course he has secrets. Everyone has secrets. So when the FBI comes knocking, Mal starts scrambling. Of course, it all goes downhill from there.


Eight Perfect Murders Review
Thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Set in a winter besieged Boston- bonus points because I’ve only been to Boston a couple of times and hell- I could picture it like I lived there. Eight Perfect Murders plays out brilliantly. Every time I even thought I had something figured out? HELL I HAD NO CLUE. And the thing is? It wasn’t because Swanson had laid out some non-sensical twist in there. UH-UH.

The Wife and The Widow

What I thought was going to happen? It completely made sense. The boomerang Swanson threw at me? As he slowly laid it out? As my eyes grew wider and wider and I slowly realized it? OH hell. That made just as much, if not more sense as I thought… HOW DID I NOT EVEN SEE THAT COMING? Or at least, how could I have been so dead set on MY IDEA and not even think THIS was a possibility? Geeze.

And good luck trying to separate the good guys from the bad guys. There isn’t…. you know. I’m not even going to finish that sentence. I think I’ve said enough. The only thing else I want to say is that the ending isn’t just gripping and suspenseful. It is epic, raw, and emotional. You don’t get that often in this genre. Damn. Well. Played.

jennifer lopez standing ovation

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