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

What… what did I just read?

I just finished this book like five minutes ago, and I’m still processing. Seriously… what did I just read?

First, I really liked this book. It was well written; the story is compelling, the characters are interesting, and it’s faced-paced.

I love a good mystery. And I was interested in reading this because it had an art-deco feel. Nothing in the description mentions the early 1900’s, but that’s the feeling I got from the cover and the description. And I’m not an aficionado of murder mystery novels, but in my mind the early 1900’s (up until the 1930’s) is the golden-age of mysteries.

And this is a good mystery. Be forewarned that this book is surprisingly bloody. The author doesn’t dwell on it; and he’s not terribly descriptive of the gore, but body count is shockingly high. If you’re particularly sensitive to suspense (I’m not), maybe don’t read this just before bed.

This book follows Aiden Bishop as he seeks to find the killer of Evelyn Hardcastle. The mechanics of why and how he is doing this is part of the mystery, all you know at the outset is that Aiden is stuck in a loop of a single day from the perspective different people witnessing the same events unfold.

The amount of detail the author is able to weave into this story from so many different perspectives is truly impressive; I can’t imagine the amount of outlining he had to do to keep all the storylines straight.

One of the things I love about a good mystery novel is trying to figure out the answer, and usually figuring it out before the end; it makes me feel smart. This one made me feel like an idiot. I had no idea where any of this was going and where it finally wound up. That’s partly because there are really three mysteries in this story: who killed Evelyn? Who killed her brother all those years ago? Why is Aiden stuck in this loop?

And I never figured out any of them. Not a one.

The only thing I would change about this book is I would have liked a bit more explanation regarding what happens if Aiden ever escapes this loop. Where does he go? Who is he? What does he do? Unfortunately you never find that out.

My rating? 4.5 stars (out of 5).


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