Title: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Source: Free ARC from Sourcebooks Landmark
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Goodreads Summary: “Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…
The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.”
Review: Inventive is the perfect word to describe this book. I’ve never read anything even remotely like it. The way the story is laid out is unique and compelling, if a little confounding at the onset.
In the early chapters, I felt certain I was missing something because I really had no clue what was going on. I even went back to see if I’d somehow missed some pages or accidentally skimmed over critical information that would relieve my confusion (and growing sense that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I’d thought!), but it was not to be. Fortunately, I persisted and as it all came together, I realized how brilliant the approach was. As the reader, I was put into the same state of confusion as the main character when he initially woke up! Probably the cleverest beginning to a book I’ve ever encountered.
And that approach serves the story well throughout. We, the reader, learn new information right along with the MC. He knows nothing we don’t! Of course, other characters in the story know a great deal more, and as this quasi-gothic Groundhog Day continues, the clues pile up until a conclusion is reached, as well as a very satisfying ending.
It isn’t very often that a reading experience is a tried and true adventure, but that is exactly how this book felt. Everything about it felt wholly original, the atmosphere was rather gothic (I love gothic, my friends!), and it was virtually impossible to guess what was around the next corner.
This is a book I’ll remember for years to come.