The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

hardcastleIt is unique, innovative and certainly a compelling piece of fiction, with an almost dystopian like plot.

Think Fallen (1998 with Denzel Washington) with the psychedelic feel of Clockwork Orange and crime element of a 24/7 days a week ongoing Groundhog Day meets Christie mystery.

‘Nothing here is arbitrary’ and that is exactly what readers have to keep in mind whilst reading this.

Aiden has, as far as he is aware, been summoned to Blackheath to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, and until he can do that he has to relive the same day over and over again. Initially it all sounds like a rather complex murder mystery weekend. Then things start to get a wee bit more sinister and violent.

Aiden awakens each day in the body of a different guest, which gives him the advantage of seeing the crime and clues from a variety of angles. There are also disadvantages to inhabiting a new host every day though. When there are two conscious minds in the same body only one can be in control, which means that might not always be Aiden.

He finds himself struggling to maintain control and to differentiate between friend and foe. There seem to be other players in this nefarious game, the question is whether they are working with him or against him.

I liked the concept in its entirety, especially the retribution angle of the plot. In fact log this as a potential future method for so-called rehabilitation a la Dante’s nine circles of hell. I will gladly plan very specific scenarios for certain people, just saying.

I am certain we will be reading more by Turton in the future, and I do hope he manages to maintain his ability to think outside of the box, which in turn gets readers grey cells twisting like tiny tornadoes. I do so like the occasional unpredictable storm in my head.

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