Swanson hits the mystery writer’s daily double: a devilish premise combined with jaw-dropping execution ... Mystery fans will be salivating as the plot unfolds, trying to outsmart the confoundingly unreliable narrative and, of course, relishing the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the classic books, which range from A. A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery (1922) through Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (1992), including along the way, inevitably, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train (1950). Swanson hits every note in this homage to the old-school crime novel, and the turnabout ending will leave readers reeling in delight.
... delicious ... A series of shocking twists culminates in a masterful ending. You won’t get there on your own—trust me, don’t even try. Just relish the opportunity to reacquaint yourself or discover the classic books ... Whether you are a well-read mystery maven and classic whodunit fan, or a rank beginner, don’t miss Eight Perfect Murders. Swanson hits every high note in this homage to the old fashioned crime novel. Oh and that nifty climax will leave you breathless!
... an homage to classic mystery stories that offers both the charms of a puzzle mystery and the bleak atmosphere of a noir ... The flawed main characters are well developed, the New England settings are vividly drawn, and the twists keep coming in this suspenseful, ingeniously plotted tale.
... engagingly original ... [a] multilayered mystery that brims with duplicity, betrayal and revenge – all bubbling slowly to the surface in increasingly bloody pages ... Fans won’t be disappointed ... Swanson plants clues and misdirections throughout. Not only does he make many literary references, he analyzes the perfect murders’ storylines. While he’s spinning this compelling murder story that will keep you on edge and guessing, he’s also spoiling those eight classics for anyone who hasn’t read them. Swanson warns readers up front ... Some mystery lovers will savor how slow the suspense builds with Mal’s no-hurry, low-adrenaline narrative. Others, not so much. This is a cerebral mystery, more dialogue than action. Although the twisted finale isn’t all that unexpected or climactic, when it comes to perfect murders, it’s the process that matters, not so much the end, right?
As the story unwinds, Malcolm's chilly, dispassionate narration becomes more unreliable and tension increases about who might be next and how it ties in with his list ... The wintry New England setting and eerily cool narration, together with trust-no-one twists and garish murders, will satisfy thriller readers; fans of classic mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, and John D. MacDonald will enjoy how Swanson...repurposes the plots. While you may not warm to Malcolm, you'll stay to the finish of this one.
The early pages of the book, with their comforting trappings (the purring store cat, the endearingly eccentric employees), suggest a work on the cozier end of the spectrum. But things soon turn dark ... 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. 'All works of art,' Malcolm tells us early on, 'seem like cries of help to me.' Darned if he doesn’t make us see what he means.
Swanson...jumps the shark early from genre thrills to metafictional puzzles, but despite a triple helping of cleverness that might seem like a fatal overdose, 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. If the final revelations are anticlimactic, that’s only because you wish the mounting complications, like a magician’s showiest routine, could go on forever. The perfect gift for well-read mystery mavens who complain that they don’t write them like they used to.