The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Tuton

7 deaths
Publication Date: Sept 18, 2018

In case you’re as confused as I was, this is the same book as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. An extra ½ death was added into the title for the US publication, for reasons I can only speculate. Perhaps the discrepancy is due to the similarity of another recently-published book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Regardless, that extra ½ death is just one more reason you may need an aspirin and a glass of wine after reading this book.

Our main character is trapped on an estate with numerous guests all planning to attend a party that evening where a murder will happen at exactly 11pm. Our protagonist (giving away his name is almost a spoiler) inhabits eight people, or “hosts”, during this one day in an attempt to solve the murder. Honestly, giving away any more information will inhibit your reading experience. Nothing is linear, time is relative, and the mystery is never straightforward.

This book is “Quantum Leap” + Memento + “Sherlock”, a triumph of complexity. Like the author mentioned in the Q&A at the end of the book, there are fourteen things happening at 1:42 pm and you have to keep it all together. If you can’t, don’t worry. The author leads you through the muddle and you never get so lost that you’re floundering. A little confusion and some mental staggering only make the story more interesting.

I couldn’t stay away from this book. Even though I may not have followed every detail in the mystery and despite being perplexed multiple times, I enjoyed this immensely. I looked forward to reading it every chance I could. It is a whirlwind of clues and twists and red herrings. Seldom do I read a book that captivates my attention from beginning to end. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle had quite a strong grip on me, and kudos to the author for keeping everything straight.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Bookish First, and Sourcebooks for the advance copy in exchange for my review.

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