The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Staurt Turton
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Length: 448 pages
Coming: September 18, 2018
Blurb via NetGalley:
How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
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. Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.
I received an early release copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.
This novel was such a mind-bending adventure! Given the premise, I was a bit concerned it would be too difficult to follow; it would certainly be easy to get lost in the constantly switching perspectives and timelines. I needn’t have worried; while this isn’t a “brain candy” mystery novel where you can turn your brain off and enjoy the ride, it was impressively easy to follow given the complexity. Pay close attention and you’re in for a treat!
Aiden is an interesting protagonist, mainly because he’s a giant question mark for most of the book; he takes on aspects of the personalities of each of his “host” bodies, and he struggles to untangle his true self from each of them in the absence of his own memories. Aiden enters the story completely lost, and this makes it very easy for the reader to form as sense of kinship with him as he works through the mystery.
The atmosphere in this novel is so much fun: an old fashioned masquerade ball in a spooky, cavernous mansion. This could easily have felt overly cliche, but given the originality of the plot, I think it kept the book comfortably grounded in mystery tropes and struck just the right balance of familiar and dazzlingly new.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has huge crossover appeal for fans of mystery as well as sci-fi. While reading, there were moments that felt like Agatha Christie meets Black Mirror; this makes for a truly weird book that just works so well, and aren’t those always the most fun?