My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Date read: January 15th, 2018
Published by Raven Books (Bloomsbury Publishing), February 8th, 2018
How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, 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 Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.
Groundhog Day Meets Agatha Christie was all I needed to hear to be completely positively intrigued by this book. I had an absolute blast reading this and trying (and failing) to figure things out. Aiden Bishop wakes up in a body that is not his with no memory at all. He learns that he will wake up on this same day 8 times in 8 different hosts to solve a murder that will occur in the evening. We follow him chronologically (from his perspective), but everything is always happening at once. There are two others trying to solve the same murder and he will have to figure out who is on his side and who isn’t. This is such a staggeringly brilliant premise that is then executed stunningly.
Stuart Turton juggles many moving parts in a way that makes it relatively easy for the reader to follow along. He has all his moving pieces coming together beautifully and effortlessly and I think this is the biggest strength of this very strong book: this could have been a confusing mess but never was. The different versions of Aiden Bishop feel distinct enough to be complete characters while there is also a piece of him that is always recognizable. I adored the ruminations on identity and responsiblity, with a strong emphasis on action rather than personality.
Aiden Bishop has an incredible disdain for his hosts, who to be fair are mostly unpleasant, but I sometimes found his descriptions unnecessarily cruel, especially regarding one of his host’s overweight body. He went into detailed description of why this body was disgusting and this just did not sit well with me – especially when juxtaposed with his descriptions of another of his hosts (who is a rapist) who he also hates but not that viscerally. It makes sense from an in-book-perspective (his hosts’ personalities influence his reactions and the rapist sees nothing wrong with his behaviour) but still did not work for me. But this was a slight issue I had in the grand scheme of this highly enjoyable book.
I found this extremely clever, very well-written, and exceptionally well-plotted. I cannot wait to hold a finished copy in my hands to reread parts of this to find the hidden clues that I might have missed in my rush to finish this and to know. I cannot wait what Stuart Turton writes next.
I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.