Book Review: “The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

I finished this book in two days, only because I had to go to sleep on the first day or risk passing out at work the following day. I even bought a new charging cord for my ancient Kindle Keyboard 3 (that’s how old it is!) so I could read this book on the Kindle instead of on my tiny phone screen.

And I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, just like I predicted I would.

Without going into too much detail, The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle deals with one man reliving the same day over and over again, eight different itmes, but in different bodies each time, in order to find out who really killed the titular Evelyn Hardcastle at what is supposed to be her engagement banquet (on the anniversary of the death of her youngest brother, no less). Aiden Bishop, body-jumper, is warned that should he fail after exhausting his eight host bodies, he will restart the day over again — but without any memories of what happened in the last “loop.” It’s like Groundhog Day, but more exciting.

As Aiden navigates through this new life, he starts uncovering secrets that show that the Hardcastle family is not who they appear to be and that something much darker runs underneath what, at first, appears to be a simple suicide.

There is so much that I want to gush about this book, but I want to go ahead and say that what I said on this week’s First Impression Friday post was correct: the amnesia in the beginning was a big risk that is usually seen as an out for lazy writers, but it absolutely paid off once you understand Aiden’s role in this gruesome play.

I was most excited to see that one of my predictions came true (I’m not going to tell you what it is), but it came true in a way different way than I realized it was going to. There were also plenty of other twists that I did not see coming. Although maybe that’s my fault and I read too fast to pay attention to the foreshadowing (maybe?), but that just means I get to reread the book and see if I can spot what’s coming when I didn’t see it the first time around.

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a book that I would absolutely recommend to anyone who has even a passing interest in mysteries or thriller novels. It’s one of the better books that I’ve read this year. Is it perfect? Not quite. There will always be a character that irritates you or a plot thread that you think doesn’t quite match up (but then again, that could be my fault because I devoured this book as quickly as I could and might have missed something crucial). However, I would absolutely give this a solid 4.5/5 stars because it’s different than anything I’d read before. Although I’m sure the whole loop-sequence thing has been done to death in other genres by now, I have yet to see it happen in a mystery context, and for that I am very pleased with this book.

What about you? I know I’m late in hopping on this hype train as this book’s already out in paperback and is being discounted to $3 on Kindle, but what are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the looping? Did you figure out the whodunnit before I did? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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