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A Perfect Crime

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  595 ratings  ·  130 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 invest
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 7th 2015 by Point Blank (first published February 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  595 ratings  ·  130 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 bo
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 revi
Jul 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I don't know what I just read.
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
Shelves: crime, translated, china
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
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 wi
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
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
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
Nina Rmn
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I give it a 2 only because it's not the the kind of thrill that I'm into. However, I praise the author for making us read from the killer's POV only on his murder plan but really, the bigger content of this story is about us, the society and how we have responsibilities towards each other. It's a very personal type of read because you're almost practically reading a diary. Readers know from the get go who the killer is, who he's going to murder, how he's going to do it, his motive, etc. If anyth ...more
Rami Hamze
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A good attempt at a dark plot novel. yet, style is quite amateurish. Maybe because the narrator/anti-hero is a teenage nihilist, so not much depth or effort there. But this came on account of quality.

My exploration of chinese literature continues...
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 t
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 s ...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 t
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. ...more
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. ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really didn't enjoy this book. It seemed rather pointless. ...more
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, Kir
Okay I've been procrastinating with writing this review for so long now I need to actually stop and freaking write it. So here we go. This might be all over the place (might even sound a bit rant-y too) but oh well. A bit spoiler-y (though mild) so proceed with caution.

First of all, this is a hard one to rate for me. When I finished this book I felt ambivalent. I had mixed feelings towards the story. There were aspects of it that appealed to me. The rest, however... Sad to say, but it's not eno
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-lit, mystery
Have you ever feel like killing people or animal? This book brings us into a mind of a person that feels and thinks such way.

This book could be disturbing at certain extent, but it makes you think a lot on every action of the main character. The way his mind keeps telling him to kill and when he actually does it, the details, you don't want to know.

Writing style wise, I like how descriptive the author is with this book but sometimes it gets blurry between the reality and what the main character
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 do
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: rc2020, china
Forget about the title - you are not going to read a thriller, you are not going to try and find out the culprit. There is going to be a chase, but you will know who, why and how from the start.
What is missing is motif. Love/hate or money, Hercule Poirot would say, are usually the engines for murder. But not in this case.

The book on the one hand criticizes society for bringing up youth with no real aim in their life and points at the risk of idleness (reminds me a bit of the black comedy Idle
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 coul ...more
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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.

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