The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Publisher: Raven Books
Publication date: 08 February 2018
Genre: Crime fiction
Page count: 528 pages
Format: Digital ARC
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the debut novel by Stuart Turton. I had been seeing fabulous reviews for this book all across social media, and was lucky enough to snag a copy via NetGalley. I had heard it pitched as ‘Groundhogs Day’ meets ‘Gosford Park’ and I was immediately sold. Not knowing much else about the book, I dove straight in.
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.
How can you possibly review a book like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? This is one of the weirdest and most original books I’ve read in a long time, and it’s so hard to talk about without spoilers. It’s incredibly atmospheric, a bit spooky, and incredibly entertaining. The reader is dropped straight into this bizarre situation alongside the narrator, who has woken up in a forest screaming the name ‘Anna’ with no recollection of why or how he got there. The twisting, turning narrative develops from there.
I absolutely loved the complex and complicated world that Turton created for this book — it takes place within a single house but feels so expansive. I cannot imagine the amount of planning and outlining went into plotting this book. There are so many opportunities for him to slip up within the complex events and actions, but I really don’t think he does once. Each character in the huge cast is well developed and compelling. The book is tightly plotted, well edited, and wholly captivating. The only thing I wasn’t sold on was the reason that this was all happening and how the book ultimately resolves. That doesn’t detract from the mystery and the unravelling of the crime, but it did make this a four star read instead of a five star one.
It feels like it’s such a cop-out, but I really don’t want to say anything more — apologies for such a vague review! I went into this book completely unaware — I really just skimmed the summary before I requested it — and I think that’s the best way to read it. Go in unaware, read it, and love it. You’ll be sucked in immediately and the book won’t let go until well after you read the last pages. I highly recommend this for fans of period fiction, Agatha Christie, or anyone who just wants a thumping good read.
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