- The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
- Stuart Turton.
- 528 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Historical.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
I won a proof copy of this book courtesy of a Twitter retweet competition, winning!👌
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a murder mystery and yes, you guessed it, Evelyn Hardcastle of the book’s title is the murder victim but who killed her and why? Those are the questions that need answering. Taking place over eight days, you have those eight days to solve the murder. Sounds simple, huh? Well, let’s put a kink in that simplicity, shall we? You see, the story takes place in a time loop and if you haven’t identified the murderer by the end of the eighth day then the loop will revert back to the beginning, you will start over from scratch and once again attempt to unravel the mystery, piece together the clues and solve the murder. Makes solving the murder rather more tricky, doesn’t it? A set number of days or else you have to begin your investigation all over again.
Well, then dear readers let’s add another kink in the simplicity, you see, on top of the original loop of eight days there’s another loop, it’s a time loop within a time loop! At the end of the day, the day will begin again, eight days but each day is the same day, so, one day to solve the murder, it’s getting trickier, isn’t it?
Let’s throw a final kink into the simplicity of a murder mystery, shall we? At the start of each new day, from the moment that he wakes up Aiden Bishop (the main character) will be inhabiting a new host body from the guests at Blackheath, eight bodies over eight days each with their own distinct personalities, instincts, traits, relationships, plus sides and drawbacks. Luckily, Turton throws Aiden a boon and each time the day reverts back to the start Aiden gets to keep his memories and the information he has learned throughout the course of his investigating from the previous day’s host. Can you say mind blown!
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a journey of discovery and investigation that you take alongside Aiden Bishop. Its Inception meets Groundhog Day by way of an Agatha Christie setting but even with those comparisons The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle truly deserves to stand on its own merits. It is an utterly fantastic read that you will want to keep coming back to and one that you will devour.
When Aiden inhabits a new host it’s not just Aiden Bishop with his own personality fully in control masquerading as that host character. No, the host character keeps much of their own personality and Aiden has to work with their way of thinking and impulses giving each day a unique twist as Aiden has to adapt to each host seeing things from their perspective and using their own traits to help further his investigation. As the days progress towards the last day and the final host. The connection between Aiden and the host he is inhabiting gets stronger with Aiden being less like himself and more like the host losing himself in their personalities and memories and struggling to keep hold of himself.
The estate of Blackheath, the setting in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is very reminiscent of locations found in Agatha Christie novels and wouldn’t be out of place in either a Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple investigation. The isolated estate that has seen better days with vast grounds, small holdings and adjoined by a forest and it is well realised and depicted by Turton who brings Blackheath and its surrounding area to life.
I had no clue who the killer was! Throughout the duration of my time reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle I literally thought that any of the guests at Blackheath could have committed the murder from the lowliest servant up to the Lord and Lady of the house as Turton makes them all viable suspects.
Turton kept me guessing right up until the killer is finally uncovered and then, yet more revelations are still to be revealed and they will really knock you for six.
It’s a testament to the high-quality skill of Turton as a writer that he is able to keep abreast of all the various plot threads that he creates throughout the eight days and the various rich and well-developed eclectic mix of characters that inhabit Blackheath and bring his story to life. There are layers upon layers of this clever mystery and secrets galore to be found at the estate of Blackheath and it really is a multi-layered and elaborate story that Turton tells.
This is one of those books that you need to read and experience first-hand to get a grasp of how truly brilliant it is. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a work of art, cleverly plotted, intricately woven, absorbing and ingenious.
Books like Seven Deaths are what reading was made for, it grabs you, doesn’t let go and it is the book equivalent of Bobby Roode and AJ Styles (if you know who they are then I offer you the highest of fives ✋if not, they are WWE wrestlers). Both glorious and phenomenal.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of the best books I have ever read.
UK Pre-order The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (released February 8th, 2018).
US Pre-order The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (released September 1st, 2018).
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