by Stuart Turton
Published on: September 18, 2018
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is what has been accurately described as an Agatha Christie mystery with Downton Abbey and Quantum Leap all rolled into one. I had the pleasure of listening to this book on audio and seriously loved every single moment. It is easily one of the most clever and well thought-out books I’ve ever read. My mind is blown just thinking about what it must have taken to create the timeline alone for the entire narrative. On top of that I can’t even begin to imagine how much time, effort, diligence, and patience it took to plot out every single plot point without making a huge misstep. By the end of the novel no stone was left unturned and there was no lingering unanswered question that I could smugly say “you missed this one little thing…”
This novel has everything that makes a classic murder mystery and then more. How many times have I read an Agatha Christie mystery and wished I could be in multiple peoples shoes to see what they saw or heard or knew? Finally within this book I get to do all that and then some. Without going into too much of the mystery Aiden Bishop finds himself at Blackheath estate in a body he doesn’t recognize with no memory of who he is or why he is there. He finds out he will get a full day in 8 different hosts (the same day over and over) in order to learn who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. The catch is that they are not consecutive days and that he changes to a new host every time one falls asleep or is unconscious, so if he decides to take a mid-morning nap he is then immediately placed in another host. In addition to changing hosts, he is also constrained (or helped) by their personality traits or circumstances and must sometimes fight against the nature of the host or even give in to it.
The audio book was outstanding. It clearly shines in helping us to see the uniqueness of each character and there was even a change in tone when the main character would talk to himself within his own head. With the book having so many intersecting plot points along with 8 different hosts to keep track of, the audio version may be the best option for some instead of reading the book.
Because the plot is so intricate and detailed, you may want to dedicate some time to reading it. I wouldn’t necessarily find it a good book to stop reading for a while and expect to come back to and remember everything that is going on. For this reason, some may be turned off on reading this book.
All in all, this book is outstanding. The author has done such a good job and I eagerly look forward to his next book when it comes out. The ride that I was taken on was exhilarating and I could not recommended this book any higher.