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The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The rules of Blackheath: Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. There are eight days and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.  

Understood? Then let's begin....

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop 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. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others....  

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity that it will leave listeners guessing until the very last second.

©2018 Stuart Turton (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Readers may be scratching their heads in delicious befuddlement as they work their way through this novel, but one thing will be absolutely clear: Stuart Turton is an author to remember." (Booklist starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Great Book and Performance

I really enjoyed this book and the performance by the reader. The plot has a kind of Agatha Christie murder mystery feel to it and the mystery is set up very well. It's fun jumping from character to character, each time receiving a clue and then trying to figure out where it fits in to the story. It reminded me of the movie Memento directed by Christopher Nolan. If you like that type of story setup then I recommend this book.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mat
  • Connecticut
  • 10-18-18

It’s like clue and Groundhog Day rolled into one.

Okay so I really wanted to like this book . There is a lot of love for it everywhere . So this just might be me . It fell flat. The story took way to many turns the ending just fell flat . I would def read another book by author if he does more. He can write . The story just got away from him.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Read at 1.25x - Comes together 15 hours in...

I loved the title of this book and love a good mystery but it took 15 hours to finally reveal what was going on.

If this book had just let the reader know that upfront, I think the story would’ve been more enjoyable. Otherwise it was a confusing mess with zero character development.

The narrator was terrible. Spoke very slowly. I sped up the audio 1.25-1.5x ... hardly any voice inflections...

Story was semi interesting but should’ve been an 8-10 hour book.

I’d save your credit.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic

When the book opened, I expected a dry murder mystery, with straightforward plot twists and turns. Even when the mechanic of multiple hosts was explained, I had no idea to what lengths the story would unfold. This was a great story, and I would highly recommend it!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ree
  • Greenville, SC USA
  • 08-23-19

Almost Brilliant

A fascinating concept, fantastic mystery, fabulous gothic setting and atmosphere, and some truly gorgeous writing. As often happens when you dabble with time, a few things just didn’t quite work, and the story was so convoluted that it got a bit clunky in places. It also fully embraced the less appealing aspect of the mystery genre by loading up the end with long explanations, most by the villain in order to give our hero a chance to escape/outwit his opponent. And a lot of the “outwitting” depended on things the hero had done “offscreen”, only—unless I missed something—we were with him every minute weren’t we?—from waking in one host to waking in the next? Some streamlining and restructuring would have done it a world of good, and, personally (this will be vague so as not to give spoilers), I think a bit of clarity about the underlying physical structure and rules of Blackheath would have also helped. I expected it to be more of an ”unplugging” persay—due to the nature of the host system, the very end didn’t really make sense. The real gem of the story was the redemption of 2 characters and how their redemption impacts each other. All nitpicking aside, I did really enjoy the mystery, loved loved loved the house, and I have to go watch Gosford Park now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

skipped some chapters

This book could have been shorter. I skipped about 10 chapters on audible and it seems like I didnt miss anything.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I was intrigued by this novel's description, and I WANTED to like it, but I was seriously disappointed. We're dropped into the middle of things, and I didn't get any sense of the narrator as a person. Couldn't even finish listening to it, which is rare for me.
The narrator is okay, but the story itself felt very nebulous rather than mysterious/suspenseful/intriguing -- any of which can be enjoyable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • blutoes
  • Orange County, CA, USA
  • 02-04-19

A unique idea, but badly executed

I was really excited about this book because it seemed exactly like something I would like. While the idea was really unique, the writing was just terrible. What should have been a taught thriller was written with such inconsistency that it made it frustrating. People and rules would just drop in and/or change whenever the author felt like it. Some characters were described in excruciatingly repetitive detail, and others hardly at all. It seemed almost like something that someone would write in school. It's really a shame because I've read a lot of time-loop thrillers and it seemed like this one would be different. It is too bad that the author wasn't able to execute the idea well.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

9 hours wasted

After 9 hours of listening I still didn't care about the characters or the storyline. Very disappointed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

UNIQUE 10-LITTLE-INDIAN SHAPE-SHIFTERS!


This was one of the most interesting mysteries I have read! Out of the thousands of 'who dunnits' that I've read, this one will stand out in my memory for it's unique concept. It's the "Ten Little Indians" story-line, as characters are 'knocked off' until there is 'just one'. But, that's where the similarity ends. These 'little Indians' are all guests at a rotting English mansion that has been temporarily spruced up to try to attain it's long-gone glory - in a woody area so distant from the nearest village that it can be considered a 'land unto itself'. And, to make matters worse, the horses are gone - leaving only the carriages (and any attempt to escape from this nightmare) useless.

Enter our protagonist - who wakes up in a body he doesn't remember - immediately at odds with the personality of it's owner whose weakness and ethics he finds repugnant. He is immediately thrust into situation that can only be the murder of a woman - but, in the dense forest, he had been unable to see the dastardly deed - just hear it. Now, stuck with this abhorrent situation, he strives to find answers to the murder that he believes has taken place.

Now the 'Ten Little Indians" come into play. He learns that he is one of many guests who have invited to a Grand Masked Ball. He soon discovers that he has begun a mind-boggling transformation. Every time he goes to sleep, he wakes up in another person's body with their memories and morals quite often conflicting with his own. Even worse, the body's limitations (by appearance, social position or obesity) limit his ability to solve what a murder that may - or may not - have happened.

Enter the 'Guide', a tall man in black clothes and cloak, whose face is hidden under the 'Plague Doctor's beak-like mask. He learns that he will be continue to 'shape shift' into different people's bodies, in an attempt to solve the question: Who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle. But more is at stake that a mere problem-solving conundrum. He will continue to repeat these body-changes, every time he goes to sleep, until he can provide the name of the murderer - on and on, into infinity, if necessary. Thus the "7-1/2 deaths"...one death every night - and then it begins all over again, as he had previously lived through it, until he cycles through the 8 bodies that must inhabit - trying to find clues by knowing their whereabouts and motives - from his unique "personal" standpoint.

Eight days - eight bodies - and if he is unable to name the killer, it all begins again - and again. Escape is impossible from this remote location. No roads or pathways lead to the assumed 'safety' of the village. Only the mysterious provision of a handheld compass helps him find his way out of the dense woods - once again - to the mansion.

The twists, turns, misleading character actions and clashes in English social classes will keep you wondering. With each 'body change', you learn a bit more, and the previous day's activities are not repeated, just 'highlighted', as our hero mulls over what he has learned, in hopes of putting the puzzle pieces together. You won't expect the outcome of this very unusual situation. "Trust no one", the Plague Doctor warns - but some trust must be needed, to earn an ally and find the solution - and freedom.

A cautionary note: I was initially put off by the narrator - whose rather slow reading, in Classic British Accent - was slightly annoying at first. But, on reflection, this narration might best have been slowed down a bit - rather like a mother speaking slowly to a child, so all the information 'sinks in'. It allows you to contemplate the facts - and clues - a bit, as you awaken every day, in a new body, with so much information to process.

This is one book I will definitely read again - just for the fun of it!

#AmateurDetective #Gaslighting #BackFromTheDead #Clever #Quirky #MindBending #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

6 of 8 people found this review helpful