The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian
Published June 7, 2022 by Avon
Reviewed by Kate
I had some trouble getting through The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes. While I enjoyed it overall, the story struggled with pacing issues. The correspondence between Marian and Rob in the beginning of the book drew me in. However, when it moved on to the action, it started with a bang, but then kind of meandered all the way to the end. The story feels somewhat disjointed and there is a bit of a patchwork feel to it, as well.
Another issue I had is that the stakes in The Queer Principles of Kit Webb felt so high, and comparatively, the stakes in The Perfect Crimes seem to pale in comparison. In both books, the “bad guy” was barely on page, but in The Queer Principles (and even continuing through The Perfect Crimes) I feel like the reader gets a very clear picture as to what an evil man Kit and Percy are up against. In The Perfect Crimes, the nemesis is barely mentioned and feels almost like an afterthought.
Don’t get me wrong – this book was still delightful, because it is a Cat Sebastian book. The letters were stellar and the banter was amazing. I loved Marian’s grumpy to Rob’s sunshine, and was delighted when they nearly immediately found themselves in a room with only one bed. I liked that both Rob and Marian were both bisexual and openly talked about past relationships with each other. Their relationship was also just so cute. Rob was clearly gone for Marian and it was so much fun watching them figure everything out.
Because the events in the book overlap with those in The Queer Principles, I would not recommend reading The Perfect Crimes as a standalone. There’s a good bit of context that in my opinion is necessary to understand what Marian is going through in the beginning of the book and throughout.
Like I said, overall, it was an enjoyable read. But the plot didn’t always make sense and it felt like a bit of a let down after The Queer Principles. Read this one for the dialogue and the characters, and maybe the Robin Hood references (for example, Rob and Marian – it only took me writing their names five times in this review before I caught on).
Content notes: References to prior murders; implied marital rape in the past (not on page); Marian’s father has Alzheimers/dementia