I am so terrifically behind on my reviews. I have read 56 books this year and have reviewed… far fewer than that number. The sad part is that I have already written MANY of my reviews, I just haven’t posted them.
Today, instead of posting a review for a book I read way back in APRIL, I am going to post a review of the book I finished most recently: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It is possible that I am the last person on the planet to read this book, but I loved it and, if you somehow have managed to avoid it this long as well, I want you to read it and love it too.
Mini Plot Summary: Aidan wakes up in the body of someone else. Bit by bit, he uncovers the facts: he was summoned to Blackheath – a decaying mansion deep in the woods – to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. Until he finds the killer, Aidan must relive the same day over and over again, each day in the body of a different guest. And someone doesn’t want Aidan to succeed…
What I Liked About This Book: This is one of those books that had me completely entranced by its logistics. As with many books about time travel (although this doesn’t deal in time travel, per se), I kept thinking – with great admiration – about how complex the mechanics of the story were, and kept wondering how the author got it all to work. (How did the author keep track of every person and their whereabouts throughout the book? How did he determine the order in which we meet the guests, and how did he dole out specific pieces of knowledge to each person? How did he fit all the action into the specific timeframe surrounding Evelyn’s death?) The book takes place over the course of one day, but we get to live that day from the perspective of different guests, giving us new views of its goings-on, new interactions, and new insights into Evelyn’s murder. I loved how different each person was, and how Aidan came to know their strengths and weaknesses. I also loved the writing style. Turton’s prose is so vivid and descriptive and his use of figurative language was wonderful. It was a really fun and fascinating read and I loved every minute of it.
What I Didn’t Like About This Book: There is an inciting force at work in this novel, and I wish the book had delved more into the how and why behind it. It’s kind of hard to discuss without spoilers, but I wish I had more information about some of the tertiary characters – Anna, the Footman, and one of the other guests. I also found the solution to the mystery itself a little puzzling; it didn’t feel particularly earned. Part of me wants to go back and reread the book with the knowledge of whodunit, just so I can see if there were clues I missed along the way. But another part of me is content to feel mild disappointment with the killer’s identity and unmasking, simply because I found the rest of the book so satisfying.
Should You Read This Book? If you appreciate intricately designed storytelling, then this book is for you. A wholly original, enjoyable read for sure.