I am not lost…

September 20, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: THE 7 1/2 DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE by Stuart Turton

I’m from a family of readers, and my father has always been the one who when you tell him that he HAS to read a book, it makes him less likely to actually read it. I’ve inherited a lot of this from him. But as much as both of my parents love to toss books at me and say that they’d recommend them, when my father specifically seeks me out to say “this book is on NetGalley and you REALLY SHOULD READ IT”…I know I’m likely in for a treat. That being said, I do walk in with a small piece of trepidation. I am very much my father’s child, but we can have highly different opinions on media and entertainment. But if he’s this excited…

Well, he’s the reason I found NetGalley in the first place, so I’ll give it a try.

And holy cow, was I not left wanting. This book came out in the US on 09/18 and I fully recommend buying it RIGHT NOW.

There is precious little I can really say about the book that won’t spoil some piece of it, so I’m sure I’ll truly just end up rehashing what it says on the back. This is Clue meets Quantum Leap meets Groundhog Day in the best sense of all of those things. This is the premise: Aiden Bishop is at a party, where Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed. She will continue to be killed at the end of the night, every night, until Aiden solves the murder. The catch: Aiden wakes up as a different guest at the party every day. And he’s got a set number of guests until the cycle starts over again.

It’s brilliant. I can’t even fathom how the author storyboarded any of it, because it makes my poor pantser brain sore just thinking about it. But it is absolutely brilliant.

Every time you think you have something figure out, Turton pulls a detail out of a corner you weren’t watching closely enough and says “oh no, but look over here now…” and leads you off somewhere else. Each time you think you have the answer, there’s just a faint twist built in to make you start doubting yourself. Friends could be foes at the turn of a hat–one guest’s ally is another’s enemy. And yet, it does all this bouncing around and maneuvering without being utterly complicated and impossible to follow. We start lost, much like our narrator, but he keeps a solid hand on us as the book progresses and never lets us get too far behind. It’s masterful and brilliant–and I know I’ve used that word too many times in this review already, but I honestly think it’s the best one I have. Turton is simply brilliant in this book.

It released in the UK back in February under the title “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” but as his Goodreads page assures you, the only difference is the title.

Want to know the real kicker? This is his debut novel.

This is the type of author who simultaneously makes me want to hang up my keyboard and never write again, and keep writing constantly until my fingers bleed in the desperate hope of coming even close to this level of (I’m going to do it again) brilliance.

I cannot speak enough good to do this book justice. I am the type of person who is always a step ahead of the movie plot, and this one kept surprising me until the final page. Go get this book.

Rating: ***** (Highly Recommended)

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