“How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home?”
Published in 2018, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton follows Evelyn Hardcastle who is attending a party thrown by her parents, where she will be killed – again, and again.
She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. The only way to break this cycle is to identify Evelyn’s killer. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is desperate to stop him ever escaping Blackheath…
Wow! What. A. Book.
A beautifully gothic murder mystery with a time-travelling twist, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a complex but utterly absorbing story that will pull you under a masquerade of deception and foreshadowing with a vice-like grip.
I had been warned that this book demanded your full attention so I got to reading with my pen and notebook by my side, jotting down character traits and potential clues. But what I loved so much about this story is that it’s not complex in that you feel like you’re constantly missing something, but you instead journey through the story with these different characters who are only just figuring out things for themselves.
As the characters comment about their own confusion, they slowly start to figure out how things work and clue you in on what’s going on, which means that they’re always there to support your understanding (or lack of) of how everything works. But it never feels overwhelming. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a puzzle that you can solve before the characters do (although if you did, you are a genius!), but it’s so much fun to play all the same.
Like a game of Cluedo stuck in groundhog day, I absolutely love the concept of trying to solve a murder through ever-changing identities, and Turton has masterminded his game so well that his conclusions left me completely satisfied.
I constantly had questions about what was going on, and I definitely couldn’t tell you if every loose end was tied up or if every timeslip was plausible because I would need a much bigger notebook and a lot more time on my hands to pin every thread together. But Turton made me feel as though every question had its answer and every loophole went full circle, so I’ll take him at his word for it!
I somehow predicted the overall concept of what was going on (ie, why these characters were in this situation), but I was still mindblown by how Turton managed to make it work so well and I only came up with this conclusion myself because I thought it would have been the perfect way for everything to make some sense.
I also loved reading about Turton’s inspiration for the story and the work he put into it, and just as he intended, I did stay up until the early hours of the morning, desperate to see how everything concluded, so mission accomplished!
And just like with The Devil And The Darkwater, I immediately want to read it all over again! Stuart Turton has most definitely made his mark as one of my new favourite authors!
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