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Marilyn StasioEach stage of this perverse puzzle has been constructed with deadly artistry. . ..Peter Abrahams gets the human dimensions just right.
— The New York Times Book Review
Art critic Francie Cullingwood is the beautiful, sophisticated and dissatisfied protagonist who seeks sexual satisfaction outside her stale marriage. Her lover is Ned DeMarco, a handsome, touchy-feely psychiatrist who hosts a radio show for the emotionally forlorn. Their passionate arrangement begins to unravel when Roger, Francie's brilliant but angry husband (a Harvard summa who's been fired from his job as a securities analyst), suspects her adultery and hires a hit man, Whitey Truax, to exact revenge on his spouse. Truax, it turns out, is a serial killer with a very short fuse. The tension rises as Abrahams cuts between the plot participants: Ned's wife, Anne, becomes Francie's tennis partner, making Francie aware of the damage the affair is causing, while Ned desperately clings to their involvement and Roger plots his bizarre campaign of retribution.
The initial showdown between Whitey and his potential victims takes place at the adulterous couple's love nest, a New Hampshire cottage that quickly becomes a house of horrors when Whitey suspects Roger of double-crossing him, and runs amok on a killing spree that eventually leads back to Boston.
Abrahams does his best work in a series of well-crafted early scenes that effectively convey the different levels of emotional duplicity among the protagonists, but the actual murders are strictly formulaic. While Francie, Ned and Anne are well-drawn, Abrahams's portrayals of both Roger and his minion lack dimension; they are both plot devices whose ludicrous partnership never carries the ring of credibility. Even so, as he explores Francie's emotional terrain in the wake of tragedy, Abrahams will keep readers very much engaged.
Francie and Ned, both married to others, meet illicitly at a cabin in the New Hampshire woods. Francie decides to end the affair when she discovers that her new tennis partner is Ned's wife, who suspects Ned of being unfaithful but is unaware of Francie's involvement. Francie's husband, Roger, suspects, too -- and plots a deadly trap for the lovers at their remote hideaway.
Edgar-nominee Abrahams (The Fan) weaves a tight web of deception and intrigue involving the two couples, a sheriff whose wife was brutally murdered years ago, and a desperate ex-con who becomes Roger's pawn in his murderous game. A Perfect Crime is fast-paced, tense, even witty as it careens to its bloody conclusion. -- Karen Anderson, Arizona State University West Library, Phoenix
Better-read fans than Roger will know, of course, that the choice of Whitey (whose determined stupidity, a savagely comic echo of Roger's shallow arrogance, is Abrahams's most original touch) is the last thing that will go rightwith Roger's foolproof, but not geniusproof, scheme. One other surefire prediction: With Hard Rain (1987) and The Fan (1995) already turned into Hollywood movies, this property, suitably pruned and tightened, can't be far behind.
Posted June 30, 2010
I just got finished with this book, and I was optimistic when I checked it out of the library. The reason I did so was because Stephen King recommended it at the end of On Writing; if it entertained S.K., surely to God it would entertain me. And it did for a while. A Perfect Crime started out strong, but it fizzled out fast. I didn't like any of the characters except Nora, and she was more of a plot device than a character (what a shame); Abrahams seemed to be rather timid about how to go forward in some instances in the storyline. It had a good flow, but by the time I was three quarters of the way through I just wanted him to wrap it up. Oh yeah, and the ending sucked, and my suspicions were confirmed that Francie is just a tramp.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2004
Posted January 24, 2001
This book was a big disappointed. It's mainly about a woman having an affair and yet portrayed as if she has a conscience. The 'Perfect Crime' is far from perfect, it has more loopholes than the US tax code. There is no mystery, no suspense. You know what's going to happen 20-25 pages before it happens. A complete disappointmentWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2000
I had high hopes for this novel, based on the other reviews. However, I found the plot a little too predictable. The book was entertaining enough to keep me reading, but I doubt I'll read it again or recommend it to my friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2000
Posted July 4, 2000
'Perfect Crime' is a near-perfect suspense novel. The premise and its execution are almost flawless. Unfortunately, the last quarter of the book is somewhat less compelling than the preceding chapters because the characters of Roger and Ned did things that I felt were out of character. (I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil any of this marvelous book for you.) <p> I have purchased Abraham's follow-up, 'Crying Wolf.' And I pray every night to the eBook gods that Abraham's publisher will release all his books in Rocket eBook format.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2000
Posted May 17, 2000