The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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Book #04 of 2019
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle…
I’m not a huge reader of fiction books, but I think it’s good to mix things up on occasions, especially as a lot of text, factual and reference books can be quite heavy reading… So this book has been surrounded by a lot of hype. It is the debut novel by author Stuart Turton and has quite a foundation of critical acclaim. The plot is pretty original and during the early stages has enough to hook you on the line. Enough that is to get you through the difficult and possibly too drawn out middle section - which, in all fairness, isn’t drawn out enough to make you want to quit.

Stuart Turton does pull together some beautifully written adjectives when describing the setting for the book, so that it easily paints a picture in your mind of the setting, which is a glorious country mansion that has seen better days.

Some of the characters (and this maybe a deliberate attempt) require a little more fleshing, as some of them you never really feel like you have a connection with, meaning they just become peripheral when in reality they hold a much larger role within the plot.
The basis of the plot is for one man, who seems to have lost his memory, to solve the murder of the daughter of an upper class family set in, I believe, Victorian England. The main character has 8 days to solve the murder, whilst trying to stay alive himself, upon which he will be set free from this peculiar mix of Big Brother / Crystal Maze / Hunger Games style set up . Of course it’s not as simple as it first may seem. The main character possesses certain sub characters within the plot, using their strengths and flaws as well as their societal and political connections to discover as much information as possible to try and identify the murderer. It would be difficult enough were he just working against the clock, however he is also working against avoiding being murdered himself, all the while being double crossed at each turn.

Without giving the end away - I was a little disappointed, only because it seemed to end with more than 1 loose end left untied. It seems fashionable in a lot of independant style films now, for the final scenes to be left open to interpretation - whether used as a get-out, due to not finding a suitable finale, or used as some dramatic inspiration for the viewer to use their own imagination and conclude the hidden meaning. It feels as if this option has been utilised in the final pages of this book.

Overall it was fast paced and intriguing so much that it kept me reading, and subsequently finishing the book (500 pages+) in just over a week.