Monday, September 3, 2018

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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

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.

I can honestly say I've not read a book quite like this before. I thought the beginning of the book was a little abrupt but this is such a fantastic story.  The premise of a man (Aiden Bishop) waking up in the body of another and tasked to solve a murder while shifting between eight hosts linked to the victim was genius.  Our protagonist initially wakes up in the body of Dr. Sebastian Bell but throughout the course of the novel he shifts between 7 other hosts while attempting to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle.  Each night at 11 pm she is doomed to die and he must figure out whodunnit before it is too late.  Each time one of his hosts falls asleep, he takes up with another host and continues on with each host having various degrees of usefulness.  

The author does a great job of building the suspense in part because enough doubt is cast on each of the characters you don't know who to trust.  Also in play are two characters: the mysterious plague doctor who seems he is alternately helping and hindering Aiden and an insane creature called the Footman who pursues the main characters throughout the book.  

The story weaves back and forth at a blistering pace as crucial parts fall in to place one by one.  I was up til 3 am finishing this book and I was not able to guess the outcome at all.  The only downside to the book at all is that there are so many characters involved it takes quite the effort on the part of the reader to keep them all straight.  I really liked this book.  It invoked the same feelings I had when reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Books that produce that heart in throat-can't put this down-must find out what happens-type feelings are rare for me.  This book definitely falls into those categories.