The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 5 stars
A man wakes up alone in a forest without his memory. He has no idea who he is, why he is overcome with a sense of being watched, or why he keeps thinking of a woman named Anna. He makes his way to a house filled with other guests in hopes he will find a clue to his identity. Shortly, he learns his name is Aiden Bishop and he is tasked with a strange quest by a masked man: "Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out." Aiden is allowed one day in each body, with a total of 8 identities, to solve the mystery or his memory will be wiped and he will have to start again. To make things even more complicated, there are others that will stop at nothing to ensure Aiden does not succeed.
This book has been described as being "Agatha Christie meets Quantum Leap" and I could not possibly agree more with that assessment. There are so many twists and turns that I could not put down the book until I found out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. This book sat with me for days after I finished and I immediately told nearly every reader I know that they have to immediately get this book. I have had genre fatigue because so many mysteries have been variations of the same old tired trope; I was delighted to find Turton's debut novel to be a fresh take on the genre.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is easily the best book I have read all year and I strongly urge anyone who loves a good whodunnit to get it. Additionally, if you are trying to ease yourself into a new genre, this is an excellent segue into historical fiction, science fiction, and mystery.