Thursday, January 23, 2020

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring a recent read, Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson.  The excerpts shared are from an advanced reader's edition that I received from the publisher.  The book will be available on March 3, 2020and now's the time to place a hold at your library if you're so inclined.  

Eight Perfect Murders 

Beginning:  Disclaimer: While what you are about to read is largely true, I have re-created some events and conversations from memory.  A few names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the innocent.

Chapter 1
The front door opened, and I heard the stamp of the FBI agent's feet on the doormat.  It had just begun to snow, and the air that rushed into the store was heavy and brimming with energy.  The door shut behind the agent.  She must have been just outside when she'd called because it had only been about five minutes since I'd agreed to meet with her.

Page 56:  "Uh-uh."  She shook her head rapidly, and I thought she might elaborate, but that was the end of the conversation.  I didn't mind that she was a private person.  I was, as well.

My thoughts:  Peter Swanson established himself as a master mystery/thriller author with his very first novel, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart.  Each of his novels has unique plot developments and twists, making him one of my favorite authors in this genre.  Eight Perfect Murders displays more of Swanson's talentsin this case, drawing on eight classic mysteries that, in addition to paying homage to the genre, presents a well-plotted and compelling read.

From Goodreads:  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.


This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.


  1. Recently I have been seeing more and more about Eight Perfect Murders. It sounds like a suspenseful story. Enjoy your current read!

  2. This sounds really good. Like a book I would have read before I became a wuss and had to stop reading thrillers. I'd love for you and your readers to check out mine!

  3. This one sounds really intriguing!!! Happy weekend!

  4. I like this author, so this book is going on my list. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That is a fantastic premise, for mystery lovers particularly. I was struck, however, by the author's use of pronouns in the quotes. A lot of "she's. Wonder why that caught my eye...

  6. This sounds really good. I think I'll have to see if my library has it.

    Thanks for your kind words on my post; you made me smile. :)

  7. Oooh, I love the idea of bookish murders! Wait ... that sounds wrong. You know what I mean. xD This sounds like a really interesting premise. Happy reading!

    Here's my Friday post.