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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Narrated by: Jot Davies
Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2,387 ratings)

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Summary

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2018

A brilliantly original high-concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception by way of Agatha Christie. 

'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder, and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' 

It is meant to be a celebration, but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.... 

©2018 Stuart Turton (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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

Complex but Brilliant. A Classic in the making!

If you tend to choose books (like I do) partly based on listening hours per credit then this is for you. After wading through the 16+ hours I instantly restarted just to revisit all the plot twists to check for holes. Stuart Turton manages to hold together all the intricate moving parts brilliantly and it all makes much more sense a second time through. How he kept it all organised in his mind as he developed the story is amazing and points to a serious new talent. I look forward to his next book even though this is not my typical genre type.

Other reviewers criticise the complexity; they are right to do so. This is definitely not a casual background listen. Some of the prose is fantastic, and the scene setting is bleak, atmospheric and claustrophobic. There are no innocent characters to redeem a darkly twisted plot or lift the oppressive mood where a stately house and grounds provides the stage for some frankly awful people to conduct their vile business. The house itself is like another character in the play, brought to life with descriptions that remind me of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.

If that all sounds horrible, it is but in a darkly fascinating way where the story starts slow, drawing you in and accelerating once it orientates the reader and delivers some clues. It accelerates throughout with the last few hours leaving me reeling with the number of red herrings and direction changes as the mystery is revealed.

Others criticise Jot Davies' narration, but I personally found it spot on for the mood of the book. He creates the perfect atmosphere, slightly sinister but giving weight to such well written description and dialogue. His voice acting was consistent and completely believable over a wide range of characters and accents. Absolutely brilliant.

To sum up. Yes this does demand concentration and effort and benefits (for me) from a second listen, but I found it to incredibly rewarding and enjoyable in a morbidly fascinating way. The characters are vile, but are still believable and true to their own twisted motivations. The pacing is brilliant with more and more of the mystery revealed at an accelerating rate and the climax is brilliantly done. One of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and I cannot recommend it enough. Please put the effort in and give it a go; this could be looked back on as a classic!

87 of 89 people found this review helpful

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  • PJM
  • Kent, England
  • 09-06-18

Oh My Goodness

What a terrific book this is. I was gripped from the very beginning. The story is complicated and I think that listening to it in a short space of time helped me to keep up with the amount of information being decoded and remembering who all the different characters were, but it was well worth it. The writing is fantastic and I really felt like I was learning everything at the same time as the narrator. Jot Davies does a wonderful job with the narration. I can't recommended this book enough. It's unlike anything I've read or listened to before and the ending is quite simply stunning. It's a remarkable achievement to get such a high-concept story absolutely right without alienating the reader by being too clever or complex but Stuart Turton has done something very special and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic and Original

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I loved this book. It was action all the way but you needed to pay attention as it had a complex plot. Took the time travel concept and reworked it in a totally original way. Can't wait for more from this author.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Utterly gripping

So many twists, I feel quite dizzy.
I found the language breathtaking, this is a skilled writer. If Agatha Christie had written Groundhog Day, this would be the end product. My life has been pretty much on hold till I finished it, it so absorbed me. Loved it. Highly recommended.

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dense But Interesting

Thoroughly enjoyable however I think a lot is missed in the audio version, so much so that I have reserved the ebook from my local library. I feel like I missed out on some twists with the audio and want to read it properly.
Good performance however but I don't think this was the best medium for me for this title.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Interminable...

This had rave reviews. It was billed as 'a dazzling take on the murder mystery'. I stuck with it for the entire 16 hours and 41 minutes... and wish I hadn't wasted my time. It's far too long, full of one-dimensional characters and a ludicrous plot - if you can call it a plot. It was like being trapped in a very boring computer game. It's not clever, it's not well written and is a deeply unsatisfying read.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Downtown Abbey meets Groundhog Day!

This book is completely different to any other crime book I’ve ever read! it’s complex, confusing, and mind bending, but at the same time utterly compelling.
There is a host of different characters, time hops galore and a whole host of murders. It’s one of those books that once completed, you want to start rereading to see all the clues and red herrings you missed.
A fantastic debut novel, Mr Turton!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A very hard to sustain conceit or device.

Here is a story that is a kind of science fiction, come detective story, come horror tale but not any of them, in the end, it is just a writers device to spice up a story of redemption and forgiveness. It felt contrived and claustrophobic and repetitive (but that was the warning the title gave), I kept on thinking let's get to the point, and I and the character would be taken back to the same point of the story viewed from a different angle, which did not open any new understandings.

Too much like as nightmare and too long within a conundrum that has no logic except for the one given by the author. It may be fascinating to create this world as a writer, but as a reader, I found it frustrating and without much reward, because in the end, everything had to be explained by one of the characters for it to be understood and have a logic that explained what had happened repeatedly.

Too stylized to feel connected to the character and too repetitive to care for the final outcome. I do not mind putting a bit of hard work for literature, but entertainment should not be this difficult.

56 of 63 people found this review helpful

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Confusing

An interesting idea, well narrated and with real potential. However, the plot was incredibly confusing, particularly as an audio, and I kept having to go back and relisten to sections. I also thought it was over long and the ending lacked impact. Almost all the characters in the novel were vile so I found it difficult to care about them and at times the plot really dragged. I'm afraid this one wasn't really for me.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Convoluted

I would love to watch this as a TV series because as a book it seems rather all over the place. Following Aiden Bishop, who seems to be appear in a new host body every day in order to solve a Gosford Park-style murder, he's also stacked against competitors desperate to flee this entrapment.

The premise is fantastic - it's Inception mixed with Agatha Christie- but I feel the author Stuart Turton may have overstretched himself because by the end it's a tangle of a mess, and finishes rather abruptly, trying to tackle loose ends. I may be in the minority, but I found myself drifting away quite a bit, actually forgetting characters. There's far too many murders and body swapping, and I don't think it reached its potential.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Bea
  • 15-03-18

A grand read!<br />If you think you know something ...

Absolutely loved it! The novel with so many twists and turns that you must be extremely careful on your reading path!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheri Faleij
  • 10-09-18

The Golden Buzzer!

Five stars are not enough.
Enthralling as you experience being multiple victims, perpetrators, advocates, accusers and think deeply of punishments and forgiveness.

I’m betting the story out twists and turns anyone who listens!

The narrator is absolutely lovely!
He’s got the feelings captured in his voice!

So very, very well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke GJ Potter
  • 30-07-18

Page Turner, or Commute Lengthener

I loved this murder mystery. It took a little while to get going, but I trusted in the reviews here on Audible and it was worth it.
I wanted to keep listening to the story, even when my commute was over. I gets into a great flow after the janky start.
I'm really happy I seen the cover of this book in the book shop and added it to my Wishlist here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful