Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5 / 5 stars)
Aiden has no memory of his past; all he knows is he woke up in the forest, screaming the name “Anna.” But the players are in place, the game is set. And Aiden Bishop has to recall the rules and play the game over eight days as he occupies different hosts, to determine who in fact killed Evelyn Hardcastle. But, with a man in a plague doctor mask, a mysterious footman out to kill him, and a woman named Anna stuck in a similar loop, Aiden has to solve this murder while also saving his own life. Otherwise, the loop will start again in perpetuity.
In a fascinating “who-done-it” mystery, with a twist of “Quantum Leap”, we are thrown into a unique story about a man trying to right a crime…without any recollection as to why. Each host Aiden occupies has it’s own characteristics, funneling there way into his personality, so sometimes even the reader cannot tell each person apart. It’s done masterfully and with purpose, and part of me wishes I took notes while reading this book, because each clue was laid out with precision.
To be fair, when I love a book like this, it is so hard to write a review. The message is clear: everyone is given a chance to rewrite their destiny. That is the message of Blackheath, lying beneath the floorboards and waiting. This is not just a story about a murder; it’s not just a story about rehabilitation; it’s a story about change, for everyone. Good, bad, or in between.
There’s an ambiguity that remains as well. We are left with questions about one of Aiden’s “competitors”, about the foundation of Blackheath, and whether this is a sci-fi or fantasy tale. Do the answers to these questions matter? No at all. It is left in the air so we can decide. And that ambiguity is a clear message: sometimes things aren’t exactly as they seem, as is obvious with the overall outcome.
I’m definitely going to consider going back to read this book again, possibly taking notes in the process. Stuart Turton wrote everything with such care, I can’t imagine the time it took to plot this novel out!
Please, if you enjoy a good mystery, definitely pick up this book! It’s utterly fascinating, unique, and compelling! 100% recommend.
What’s it about?
Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.
For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
This inventive debut twists together a thriller of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.