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The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Written by: Stuart Turton
Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (187 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

What the critics say

"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 listeners say about The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Average Customer Ratings
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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

Amazing

Very well written! fantastically narrated! I never wanted it to end! A true whirlwind of emotions until the very end!

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent listen!

His female voices were a little weird but otherwise a great book! It was very intriguing!

4 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Amazing narrative and history totally recommended if u are into suspense pilled up hahaha plot very well structured and delightful descriptions. :)

3 people found this helpful

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A Most Interesting Book

The author is excellent. I loved not only his writing style but also his ability describe even the smallest detail in a most wondrous descriptive manner.
The storyline too is very well crafted. It kept my attention well in place right to the end, which in itself was quite clever. A good book must always have a good ending.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Audaciously ambitious

Rarely have I seen a book with so many characters. The plot logic, timing and events are about as complicated as it gets, yet towards the end of the novel it felt a bit like a Scooby Doo episode where the villain(s) have there masks dramatically taken away only to reveal more masks, etc. Also, all the business about redemption, in the book, reveals very immature concepts about the nature of life, and is thus not very enlightened. The moral ideology is misleading. It perpetuates the notion of culpability in a system of causal slavery, which the book also tries to touch upon. I don’t believe there is any truth in its art. I was basically disappointed the way one might feel when one discovers the mechanical nature of their own church pastor. The author does not ultimately pull off the thing that they tried to achieve. I am wondering if the authors closest family and friends thought the same thing. If you spin a child around in circles, and then snap your fingers a couple of times saying “Look over there! Look over here!” The child will overlook all kinds of trains of thought prior. And, this is how the logic of the book seems to have been internally reconciled. Even after all that finger snapping I still see the logical inconsistencies. I am left expecting a Scooby snack that never appears. I think the author is just fooling children.

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Brilliantly Convoluted

This is the most interesting story I've heard or read in a very long time. Really unlike the typical "who dunnit", this story keeps you on your toes throughout the entire book and the revelations near the end are completely unexpected.
The narration was another unexpected bit of brilliance, giving different voices to all of the different characters. Their personas seemed to come alive with his narration. Very, very well done.

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interesting story and twists

The narrator's women's voices were grating, almost enough at one point to want to drop the book. he also sometimes doesn't pick up the right voice for the same character. the story is worth plowing through.

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Agatha Christie meets Groundhog day!

This is a journey and there are definitely unpredictable twists in this book! Expertly narrated this whodunnit is worth the time!

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  • VS
  • 2020-06-11

Interesting, different, unusual

I liked it, I didn't love it. It was different, it was twisted. Didn't know till the end who killed who... But something was missing for me, not sure what. Good book nevertheless.

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The Eternal Sunshine of Evelyn's Mind

A book I had to hear to the end. A dark and stormy night. A grim weekend at a massive, rotting English estate. Throw in a visiting Holywood producer, and we could call it Gosford Park. There is alot more going on, and now I just need to sit and stare at horizon for awhile. A very good turn on a very well-trod genre of fiction.

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  • Anita
  • 2019-05-08

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.

25 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ree
  • 2019-08-23

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.

28 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mat
  • 2018-10-18

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.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Trent
  • 2018-10-07

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.

32 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • blutoes
  • 2019-02-04

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.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Linda Likes to Learn
  • 2018-11-11

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

21 people found this helpful

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  • Princess Buttercup
  • 2018-12-03

An Amazing Experience

I loved every second of this book. Excellent narration and totally engrossing story. A must listen!

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Cat Lover
  • 2019-01-23

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.

25 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine
  • 2018-11-11

The Groundhog did it

This one hurt. It sparked enough curiosity to keep reading, but never enough to satisfy. It just kept going, and every new discovery was just more of the same. The ending was on a par with the rest of the book - an ending but not a conclusion. I am so glad this is over. At the end I think back on a bunch of hateful, uninteresting characters that filled me with no empathy. Bleech!

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reisodi
  • 2018-10-14

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!

16 people found this helpful