This book can be found here.
Turton’s novel is his debut. It won the First Novel Award at the 2018 Costa Book Awards and is a Sunday Times bestseller; so head’s up, it won’t be bad. As an aside, before I get into the book, in the United States it is known as ‘7 ½ deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’. Whether that gives anything away or not to you; I don’t know.
‘We have work to do,' he says. 'I have a puzzle which requires a solution.'
'I think you've mistaken me for someone else,' I say. 'I'm just a doctor.'
'You were a doctor,' he says. 'Then a butler, today a playboy, tomorrow a banker. None of them are your real face, or your real personality. Those were stripped from you when you entered Blackheath and they won't be returned until you leave.'
Great quote, right? That’s why I used it. And it will draw you in to the story you are going to want to read.
The story is about a character called Aiden who has been told he needs to solve a murder at Blackheath House. As simple as any crime novel? Except that at the end of each day, the day repeats and Aiden finds himself in another guest at Blackheath House, with what clues he has remembered. That is correct. He inhabits the bodies of guests at Blackheath House to solve a murder.
As far as the plot goes, it can be disorientating, but it is very solid. There is an historical setting to the novel, which is interesting given the way the main character Aiden moves through the novel (science-fiction-like, if you will). However, it is well-paced, and it isn’t drenched in description. In fact, the plot is much denser than the description, which helps the pace. This therefore makes it more complex than an Agatha Christie novel, though the same “whodunnit” theme can be found across. But it is a nice step up from Christie if you are used to reading her.
In terms of character … because of how Aiden works, and so I do not give too much away, I cannot say much about Aiden himself. However, all the characters at Blackheath are well-developed, different from each other and sordid. Surely that’s a Christie word, right? Most characters have dark secrets and character traits that make them unlikeable; so, it also makes it hard (at least for me) to really tell who did commit the crime until the end. Yet it also adds depth to the characters, the setting and the plot, as all these characters appear multi-layered.
This book was a very solid first novel; and reads like it isn’t. There is crime, action, deception, science fiction elements, mystery … it’s almost an all-rounder, making it a good suggestion for any reader.
Links for you:
Title read-a-likes in the Library:
This novel has an historical setting, is structurally complex and has a main protagonist who lives days over and over again. It is more humourous than Turton’s and removes the mystery / crime element from it.
Author read-a-likes in the Library:
Minette Walters’ books
Tends to write in a similar style with stylistically complex writing, intricate plots and a creepy tone. A lot of the items in the list (there is a trilogy there) have historical settings; and others are more suspenseful.
Author read-a-likes in cloudLibrary:
Hawkins tends to write in a similar style with stylistically complex writing, intricate plots and a creepy tone.
These were chosen as Hannah was commissioned to write new Poirot novels in the vein of Christie (she also writes her own suspense / thrillers). These will be typical “whodunnits” with the crime and mystery elements similar; though possibly less suspenseful, yet with historical elements and intricate plots.