Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

So – if you’re reading this in the UK it’s 7½ deaths – but in America, where it’s already been published, it’s just 7.  I’m not sure why we get an extra half a death over this side of the Atlantic – but I am assured it’s the same book.

Anyway – I was very kindly given an advance review copy (well, advance for the UK market) from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Here’s the blurb:

“The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests. 

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem. 

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it. “

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This really is an intriguing and very different book!  (Different in a much better way than when I described Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ as different – before various friends get panicky!)

Each day Aiden Bishop wakes up in a different host’s body.  He stays in that body for a day (during the host’s waking hours) or until the host dies.  It therefore flips between hosts, days, hours of the same day, with alarming frequency.

I am very glad that I am on the wagon at the moment – as it was tricky enough to keep track of when stone cold sober – and definitely would not be a book to read when even mildly inebriated!! Even in my abstemious state, it was still tricky to keep a handle on entirely what was going on…….

Often with books I get cross with the author (and editor!) for not spotting loopholes in plots and inconsistencies – but it was pretty much impossible to even begin to dissect the plot with this one!  The interview with the author at the end says that he had a wall full of post it notes and a spreadsheet to ensure all of the characters and plot lines were consistent whilst writing the book – and unless I’d recreated this, I really don’t think it was possible to keep up, you kind of just have to go with it (which for a control freak like me is a bit tricky!)

The hosts that Aiden uses each day are all very different – physically / emotionally / mentally – and that is very cleverly portrayed.  You’re never quite sure who you’re rooting for though.  The house where it’s set – Blackheath – is also really well described and you can picture yourself inside it – and it’s grounds. It is very atmospheric.

Overall I enjoyed this – although I’m pretty exhausted having finished it – and am looking forward to something a bit lighter and less taxing for my next read!  Reading something with a new ‘concept’ is a refreshing change – and I’m already interested to see what the author writes next!

Definitely put this on your list for when it’s published in the Autumn.

It’s slotting into my 2018 Reading Challenge as a book about time travel.

 

 

 

 

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