RULES FOR PERFECT MURDER
Characters & their development: 4
Personal enjoyment: 3
What did I like
-The unreliable narrator
-The literary vibes
-The fast pacing
What didn’t I like
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 Bookshop 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.
Rules for Perfect Murder is a book about, well, murder of course. we follow our narrator who runs a little bookshop. He’s happy with his day to day life living in his own little bubble. Until the FBI knock on his door, asking him about a blog post he wrote years ago about the 8 perfect literary murders because someone is murdering people according to that list.
First off, I loved the literary vibes that this had. A lot of this novel was spent in his cozy little bookshop, or with him reading the related books. It felt like a beautiful literary experience as we travel through the stories he’s reading and working at the shop, we were transported to every location with him, and it was truly interesting to see the stories through his eyes.
But let’s talk about our narrator, who was super unreliable and jittery. Early on, we see him mention that he’s not telling the whole truth. I enjoyed the idea that he was writing this book as a ‘memoir’ of sorts to expel all his sins as it made for an intriguing idea. Quickly, we find out why he’s not telling the truth, and we find out WHAT the truth is which is a little bit insane to say the least. Hearing about that event really solidifies the idea that he is untrustworthy, and should always be a suspect. It meant that when you were reading this, you were constantly second-guessing everything.
The pacing was perfect too. I ended up reading 200 pages of this book in a single day! I couldn’t put it down for even a minute. The night before I read the first 60ish pages but had to stop because I was falling asleep! I found overall that it was a fast-paced ride that meant that I had to keep going because I just needed to know what happened
However, the ending really ruined it for me because the reveal was disappointing. The character who was revealed to be the killer was not a disappointing choice per se, but the way it was executed left so much more to be desired. I wanted a big bang for the end, something dramatic and not just, what we were given.
Overall, even with the disappointing ending, I still really enjoyed my time with this book and I will be keeping an eye out for his future books since he managed to weave a phenomenal story this time.