Title: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
(US title will be The Seven and a half deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to avoid confusion with the earlier publication of The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid)
Author: Stuart Turton
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a masterfully crafted murder mystery. It as the air of a classic Christie novel, meets groundhog day with a Quantum leap (showing my age that I know what that TV show was about) sci-fi slant. These two combined, makes this a compelling read that has you trying to guess the murder and piece the clues together while it twists and turns all over the place. It is excellent!
Wow! how do I describe this book that a) does it justice and b) not give any spoilers as all I want to do is talk to everyone about this book. We start following our main character when they awake in a forest in a body he doesn’t recognise with no memorises of who he is and why he is there. All he can remember is the name ‘Anna’. He hears what he thinks is a gun shot and a woman screaming and eventually finds his way to the dilapidated country home of the Hardcastle family -Blackheath. Where he is informed his name is Sebastian Bell and that he is there as a guest for a party. But all is not as it seems at Blackheath. An encounter with a strange figure dressed as a Plague Doctor, informs our main character that he is not in fact Sebastian Bell but was brought to Blackheath to investigate the death of Evelyn Hardcastle. However, there is a twist. The main character is cursed to relive the same day over and over till he can solve who the murderer was. To aid him in this he will live one full day in eight of the guests, switching between them as they fall asleep. Therefore, he must piece together the information, learn about his various hosts, try and save Evelyn, find the enigmatic Anna and try and escape Blackheath all while figuring out who he is in the real world and why he ended up at Blackheath in the first place.
This book clearly has an ensemble cast but the way we experience them is very interesting. We get to know eight of them both from the view of the main character as he meets them on his journey through the day but we also learn about them as the main character inhabits them and bits of their personality slip through. this makes how we learn about the characters very fluid and dynamic. We may meet them in one chapter and have an impression of them but then in later chapters we find out that was not their personal motivations but actually our MC inhabiting them. Again it is so hard describing them with out spoiling them. I just encourage you strongly to read this book. You will both love and hate the characters, you will find every one of them suspicious and curse them and as more of there story unfolds either warm to them or detest them even more. Honestly, I would say most are detestable humans that I really did enjoy hating.
READ THIS BOOK!
Honestly, the twist and the turns just threw me through a loop. Every time I thought I had figured it out I would turn the page and a new twist would slap my ideas aside. I genuinely was engrossed in this book and loved every bit of it. I loved the construction of the interwoven timelines, The characters were so abhorrent at times that i had to rant in the margins. I audibly gasped at sections and was invested in the whole outcome. It is one of the best reads so far this year.
READ THIS BOOK!