Review: A Perfect Crime by A Yi

A Perfect CrimeTitle: A Perfect Crime

Author: A Yi (Translated by Anna Holmwood)

Published: June 9th 2015 by Oneworld Publications

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime

My Rating: 3/5

“Whenever I started something, I would picture its inevitable ending.”

Set in China, A Perfect crime is a first-person telling from a bored Chinese student. In his need for excitement, the boy carries out a plan to brutally murder a fellow classmate, leaving her in a washing machine inside the apartment he shared with his aunt.

Now he’s on the run for his crimes, but how long will that last? Will the police catch up to him, or will his need to make a point about life and society drive him to turn himself in?

I originally heard about this book from the All The Books podcast by Book Riot (which I love!). Being a mostly YA reader, I felt the longing to step out of my comfort zone and dive a little deeper, and darker, into a crime novel.

What first drew me in was the fact that, unlike other crime novels, this story was told from the point of view of the murderer. I found myself curious if I would develop Stockholm Syndrome and learn to love the narrator, fighting for his freedom and justifying his insanely brutal murder.

Secondly, I discovered that the author, A Yi, is a former cop-turned-writer. The things this man would have seen and his ability to dive into the mind of a murderer would make for a very interesting point of view indeed.

Both are very logical reasonings to jump out of YA for a book-long hiatus and attempt this little thriller.

But that jump was more like a three month long free fall.

My bookmark lived on page 71 for a good two out of the three months. Why page 71? Because 71 pages is how long it took me to want to stab myself 37 times and dive head first into a washing machine.

No, this book is not as horrible as I make it out to be. It’s an interesting twist on the crime novel, its dark and twisty like us humans tend to love, and it is indeed a thrill ride.

But the narrator just fell flat for me. His innate boredom with life left me bored as well, most of the time. I could see the thrills and chills but I couldn’t feel them, like watching a chase seen on the big screen without the volume: you know its intense, but you just aren’t fully in it.

I find that length could have contributed to my lack of following in this book. I can’t even tell you how long the narrator was on the run because it felt like a couple days for me. Things happened quickly and I didn’t always find them easy to follow.

Yes, its a look into a troubled and messed up mind, but you would think a cat and mouse game with police would have me on the edge of my seat.

Overall, this story in unique, interesting, and definitely a great POV for a crime novel. Many factors could have gone into my inability to love this story: My undying love for YA, the story being translated (I had a hard time following settings and layouts through unfamiliar territories that would be second nature to a Chinese audience), my stubborn need to have faith in a narrator and not detest them.

Sadly, this story wasn’t one I wanted to finish, but was forced to by my OCD. It’s not a book I would recommend wholeheartedly, but I would encourage you to take this review with a grain of salt and give the mere 210 pages a shot. It is unique, and I value books for that in a time when love triangles and predictable endings are a dime-a-dozen.


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