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A Perfect Crime

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  102 reviews
A chilling literary thriller about a motiveless murder in provincial China.

On a normal day in provincial China, a teenager goes about his regular business, but he's also planning the brutal murder of his only friend. He lures her over, strangles her, stuffs her body into the washing machine and flees town, whereupon a perilous game of cat-and-mouse begins.

A shocking
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 7th 2015 by Point Blank (first published February 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  449 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a pleasant surprise. I was drawn by the title, synopsis, and cover at the bookstore and thought I would buy it. The book was just translated to English and did not have many reviews. Oh booooooy. This was SOOOOOO good. It gave me chills, goosebumps, and creeps.

I am still scarred by this book. It sounds a message. It will eat you alive. The book is not a light read; in fact it is very very dark. You don't get to see through the mind of a very creepy killer everyday!

I can't review this
This is not a mystery as you may expect from a novel about a murder. From the get go, the reader knows who the killer is, how his victim was chosen, how he planned the crime and his escape, and, most importantly, we know his motives, why he decided to commit such a gruesome, unforgivable act, even if his motives seem incomprehensible to any decent, moral human being. We know all this because the novel is told from the killer's perspective.

That's not to say this book doesn't raise any questions.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having forgotten, or not read, the blurb, I started this newly-translated Chinese novella expecting a detective story. In fact, the narrator is a late teenage boy (whom we later learn is named Su), and he's intent on committing a murder, though yet to settle on a victim. His tone is disarmingly calm and matter-of-fact rather than sinister: I never doubted, for instance, that the narrator was reliable - and for a while it was almost bizarre when he mentioned violent acts, because they didn't fit ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
In any story, I like to have diverse POV, so bad characters are always worthy to read. In this book, however, the killer is empty and boring; although I think that his motivation was interesting and had a philosophical side.

The story doesn't give a reason to keep reading, and if you read the first chapters and then skip right to the final chapter, you won't miss anything.

I won this book through GoodReads and I thank to the author for providing me this copy but this fact didn't influence the
Leah Bayer
This is the story of a teenage boy who hates his life and decides to kill somebody. That's... that's pretty much it. He plans a murder, commits a murder, goes on the run, etc. It's exactly what it says on the box. And, like much Asian crime fiction, this is whydunnit rather than a whodunnit--because obviously we know who did it and how it was done because our protagonist is the criminal. The core "mystery" of the novel is why he committed the crime, because he's very vague about his intentions. ...more
Andy Weston
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Initially a notable book in that it’s the shortest author’s surname that I have ever read.
Also though, and more seriously, it’s the sort of book I seek out, original crime writing. The book has a clever title, and is an unsettling melange of adolescent rage, escapism and the consequent shocking media reaction. The author has used his own background in law enforcement to delve into the troubled mind of young man barely out of boyhood. If we can’t see the evil in him straight away, Yi’s narrator
Apr 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: all-the-books
Disappointing. I was initially drawn in by the stark prose, hypnotic in its simplicity.

But this is just another story of the mind of a psychopath. It’s done much better in Fight Club & American Psycho. And if you want disaffected teen boys... well, they’re everywhere.
I have received this book through Goodreads Giveaway :)

I was looking through the list on Goodreads Giveaway when this cover caught my attention. I read the blurb, decided it's not my thing and kept scrolling. Then I came across it again and the cover was just too eye catching! So I read the blurb again, realised it's not my thing (again), yet decided to enter. Nothing to lose, right?

The next day I got the "Congratulations" email and I knew, I KNEW it would be Perfect Crime by A Yi.

Now, I like
Ashley Mae
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
3/5 Stars. A unique and interesting take on the traditional crime novel.

"Whenever I started something, I would picture its inevitable ending."

Review originally posted on Fictional Living.

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
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I do love a dark crime novel — and A Yi’s A Perfect Crime is probably one of the darkest I’ve read in a long time.

Set in China, it follows the exploits of a disaffected 19-year-old student who decides he’s so bored he needs to do something to make his life more exciting. Where others might go on a holiday or take up a new hobby, this nameless young man decides to murder a fellow student by luring her into the apartment he shares with his aunt. Here, he brutally stabs her to death and then shoves
Jan 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Honestly? If you are an adult - don't bother. Teenager with issues plans and murders friend for no good reason. Flees, then lets himself be arrested and tried. Reason for murder unclear other than (possibly) because he can, someone at home pissed him off, he hates his family, he hates everyone, and craves attention.

Made no sense whatsoever!
Ankita Chauhan
Good storyline. Bad translation.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb got me hooked. I like how it started, the plot was intense but fascinating. It was predictable too but reading how the main character trying his best to plot 'a perfect crime' just out of boredom and escapism really got me staying to the narrative till the end. A very straightforward murder case, nothing fancy or mysterious even the way it was planned was just out of the blue-- perhaps this was more a story of the murderer point of view about his own crime. The reason was vague, he was ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'd completely forgotten that I'd read this book until I came across it and realized I'd never noted it in Good Reads. I think this was because I found this book so boring and annoying to read that it was easy to pass over the egoist, nihilistic vision of the narrator. There's no doubt in my mind that it mirrors the attitude of a lot of juvenile murderers but it felt more like the writer, who worked in criminal justice for many years, needed to purge his system of all the ugliness he'd seen. To ...more
Tonstant Weader
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
A Yi’s A Perfect Crime is one of those novels that is certain to draw comparisons to Crime and Punishment or American Psycho. As a first person narrative by a killer who kills for reasons other than greed, love, jealousy or any of the other simple motivations that give us comfort, it falls into that small collection of books that feature murderers whose crimes are presumed to reflect the alienating forces of society.

None of these stories would be interesting if narrated by investigators or any
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed a couple of days to recover from this novel. By the end of it, I was drained yet enthralled. My reader-self was in pieces on the floor, but my inner psychopath was as delighted as the day I discovered The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Lecter. Hey, if a certain Ms Steele can have an inner goddess, I can have an inner psychopath.

The premise is as it says on the tin - boy is tired of living, brutally murders a pretty and popular classmate, and goes on the run. Eventually he is caught,
Seavling Lim
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This had been an interesting read. The writing (translation of the original Chinese version) was soooo smooothhhh, it was really easy to devour. The plot itself is quite interesting as well and the twisted mind of the mc is .. wait let me find a synonym for 'interesting'... it's uh.. fascinating, yes. I read it at my bestfriend's recommendation and he told me not to read the synopsis and just dive in, which was precisely what I did which I think made the experience really cool for me. I was so ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to expect from this, I had read others reviews and it sounded a good read. Wow, what a fantastic read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and completely ate it up, it flowed really well and before I know it I was through the book.

It is a crime from start to finish from the killer's point of view, the build up, the crime, being on the run and subsequent capture and trial. It is very disturbing how calm, casual and rational the narrator is. Treating it as someone writing about their day
Craig Allen
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'll go 2.5 stars. This was a short why did it take so long to finish? I almost quit it twice, but stopped to read other things before picking it back up again. It just didn't hook me...but I cared enough to eventually finish it so there's that. I will say, after finishing it, the last 30% or so was more interesting. The conclusion was very well done and pretty dark and twisted actually. It saved the book for me. If you suspend your disbelief for a bit, it's worth the read.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was very disappointed with this book. The title is misleading. There is no perfect crime or much of any crime really. It should have been titled "the run" or "teenage angst" or some other thing. I got a feeling the author tried to follow the format of Camus's "The Stranger" but he failed miserably. Unbelievable that the book won some kind of an award. Such a waste of time.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really didn't enjoy this book. It seemed rather pointless.
Martin Roth
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review from Asia Thrills -

I was about a quarter of the way through “A Perfect Crime” when I thought that I had encountered this story before.

It was just a couple of months ago that I read “Real World” by Japan’s Natsuo Kirino. That book, like this one, tells the story of a bored, alienated youth who commits murder for no real reason and then finds himself on the run.

It is scary to realize that this is how two of Asia’s most talented popular novelists,
Chris Angelis
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
My general impression is favorable – though only marginally so. It’s a short book, it flows easily, and there is enough psychological complexity to make a reader’s time worth while. However, in terms of genre, crime fiction fans must know that this book probably isn’t what they expect. Despite the author’s background, there is something peculiarly unrealistic in terms of police procedures and the judicial process.

To an extent, it might be a result of the narrative style (it is the protagonist
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally called 浪和老鼠 (Wolf and Mouse), this murder story differentiates itself from its genre by holding the point of view of the murderer instead of with the police or detectives. As a person that prizes originality and out-of-the-cookie-cutter ideas, I enjoyed every single page of this short novel. There is no “fluff” to divert your imagination from exercising itself to portray these gruesome acts. The words the author provides give you the rawest picture that can last in your memory. I ...more
Ciarán  Williamson
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't hate or love this book. It was short and an easy read (and it seemed like a good translation from what I could tell) so it wasn't hard to get through, I just wasn't very interested in the character/s or the overall story. I pressed on, sort of enjoying the writing, mostly to find out how everything wound up but not having a lot of stock in what the outcome was. I would like to read more from the perspective of a sociopath and I always enjoy reading books that take place entirely in a ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
I just need to resign myself to the fact that no one will do "Follow the main character, someone who murders someone(s) due to a bit of an existential crises, and then their philosophical journey after committing these horrid events" as well as Dostoevsky does in Crime and Punishment (my absolute favorite book). Every time I read a plot like this since reading Crime and Punishment it reads as incredible forced and trying too hard. I know better now.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: china
A dark and brutal book by Chinese author A Yi, former police officer turned writer. A Perfect Crime is a book, written through the eyes of the young murderer. It's not entirely satisfying, as the final chapters of self-destruction in the courtroom drag on a little bit, but the first half of the book is a breathless depiction of a restless soul on the run.

A young disaffected youth of nineteen in Beijing tells us the story about why he decided to murder his female classmate and go on the run, playing a cat and mouse game with the police. He is without empathy and living a hollow existence in the new China. Written by a former Chinese policeman turned writer, this story offers insight into a young sociopathic mind.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A disaffected teenager somewhere in China decides to kill someone; this book takes us through his preparation, escape and trial. The teenager is lonely, bored and angry, and it certainly isn't fun being in his head, but he is depressingly believable. I can't say I enjoyed this, exactly, but it maintained my interest enough for me to read it in an afternoon.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I wanted to cry. If I knew someone was going to write such a shit poem, I wouldn't have killed her. "
This perfectly encapsulates this book for me. The main character is brutal in a calm, matter of fact way and his commentary on the Chinese society he lives in is cold and damning as he methodically carries out his simple plan to kill.
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A Yi is a Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-in-chief of Chutzpah. He is the author of two collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future.