The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author // Stuart Turton
Publication Date // February 2018 (UK) / September 2018 (US)
Publisher // Raven Books / Sourcebooks Landmark
Readership // Adult
Genre // Thriller, Speculative-Fiction
Rating // ✭✭✭✭

I received a copy of The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There are 2 titles listed for this book on Goodreads, for UK and US releases. There’s no difference in content, just title. The edition I read was the US/Sourcebooks version.

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle. 
But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.  
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 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.
The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of the most complicated and intriguing thriller books I’ve read in a long time, and it had me on the edge of my seat, constantly turning the pages.

The synopsis gives a great overall summary of the story in general terms, but it’s so much more than that, and to say any more is to spoil it. Aiden Bishop has been sent to the Hardcastle masquerade in an attempt to identify who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. Every time the day begins, Aiden wakes up in a different body, and each body he inhabits is a guest of the masquerade. The only way he can escape this loop is solve the murder, but if he can’t do it in 8 days, he has to start the loop over again, losing the memories of everything he’s learnt previously.

There’s a glorious Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day meets Black Mirror story within the pages of this book. It’s a thriller, but there’s definitely an element of speculative fiction woven through it, that becomes more pronounced the further into the story you get. 

I loved how Turton switched between POVs of the different guests that Aiden inhabits – I thought it was really clever and well done, although I can understand how some people might become frustrated or confused by it. You definitely need to be paying attention. Each time Aiden switches body, his voice changes slightly, mirroring the guest body, and thus providing different perspectives on the events that take place during the day of the Hardcastle masquerade. I was thoroughly immersed in the characters and the world and the mystery.

I didn’t see the ending coming, and I loved the moral and ethical dilemmas that are evident as a result. (I wish I could say more on them, but then that would really spoil the book.)

This was a book I couldn’t put down and I highly recommend.

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