The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
Publish Date: February 8, 2018 (audiobook published September 18, 2018)
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark/Tantor Media, Inc.
Audiobook Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 17 hrs 4 min (432 pages)
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
It took a little bit of getting used to the narrator, but once I did I found this story to be really intriguing and full of mystery with such a unique setting and circumstances. There were many layers to it – not only the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder, but the mystery of Aidan Bishop and the Plague Doctor as well. There were lots of twists and turns to keep me guessing and even by the end I was still finding myself shocked and surprised.
I will admit there were some dry moments, and the beginning especially had me a little worried that this wasn’t going to be for me – it was very slow to start and had me itching to move on with the plot already. I was also annoyed whenever Aidan would suddenly reveal something that he had apparently pieced together, or that he did in order to help with his investigation/cause that was not mentioned before. Little things like, writing a note or unlocking a door for himself. Why am I finding this out after the fact? It felt like being handed an easy answer, or self-made deus-ex-machina at times if that’s weird to say. Basically, if it was an important action that I should have read it while it was occurring, not well after the fact when the effect of said action happened.
Otherwise an interesting story with some interesting ideas about redemption and such. I actually didn’t fully agree with Aidan’s final decision about Anna, but I guess that is his character versus my own. But overall I loved all the twists and revelations and seeing the puzzle pieces fit together through all of the hosts and iterations of the same day that Aidan had to live through. A very unique spin on the traditional sense of “murder mystery” indeed.