Since I’ve been gone, I’ve read A LOT of books & I have a lot of reviews I’m excited to write. First up is a Netgalley find that I’m behind on, but glad to finally get to review. The book is The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.
Evelyn Hardcastle has returned to the United States and her family has thrown her a big party at the ancestral family home, Blackheath. Unfortunately, by the end of the night, Evelyn is murdered. One of the guests at the party is tasked with solving her murder–and keeps reliving the day over and over in hopes of finding the evidence so he can escape Blackheath. Unfortunately, each day, he wakes up as a different guest–and he’s not the only one trying to escape.
I was attracted to this book by the concept of what I perceived as time travel in the synopsis. In reality, it reads more like a murder mystery in the vein of Groundhog Day. The humor of that movie isn’t there, but the concept is slightly similar, though the added twist of being a different person each day adds some flavor as well. In the beginning, though, it is very confusing. As the reader, you are thrown into the deep end and are just as disoriented and confused as the narrator. As the first day goes on, you get slightly acclimated, but this is one of those books where each new piece of information you learn opens up many other avenues of questions. As questions arise and some are semi-answered, you can start to put the dots together, but as you do, the stakes get higher and higher.
This book, in the end, was just a very involved puzzle. I was constantly guessing and second-guessing myself and the conclusions I came to. The narrator is fascinating, and not always altogether reliable. It felt very much like what I think a Rubik’s cube would be like as a book. All of the guessing and scheming and puzzling also leads to a conclusion that is very satisfying and not altogether expected.
If you enjoying mysteries with a flavor of The Great Gatsby, Groundhog Day, and some Memento vibes, I think you’ll really enjoy this one.