This might have been better as an actual read rather than an audiobook: due to the complexities of the plot and many many characters, if my mind drifted for even a second I would find myself confused as to what was happening or who was who. But then, with all the moving parts I might have had a time keeping everything straight even if I were to have read it.
I know this book has been reviewed by a number of Cannonballers in the past couple years, so I’ll leave the recap brief: a man wakes up on the estate of an old manor with amnesia. After learning that he has been invited here among many people to attend a party that evening, he continues through a confusing day, trying to discover who is he and whether or not he really saw a woman being murdered in a forest the night before as he believes. At the end of the day, however, he wakes up in a new body, and the day starts all over again. He learns that he has 8 days (and 8 host bodies) to solve the murder of a woman named Evelyn Hardcastle that will happen that night. From there our narrator weaves in and out of different bodies and days to solve the mystery of the repeating whodunnit, as well as trying to figure out why he is here in the first place.
The idea of this novel is great, but as I mentioned already, the actual progress can get a bit confusing with all the characters and jumping in the timeline, because as easy as it would be to go singularly day-by-day, the narrator actually jumps between bodies and days depending on the consciousness of the different hosts. The way things end up working out with all the details connecting in the end makes it clear that great care was taken in the extensive plotting, but made the reading experience less straightforward. It is also very long, and takes a little time to really catch its stride; once it does, it is fun and exciting, but then hits another snag near the end when a twist as to the reality of the situation is introduced. This is where it feels a little like Black Mirror, where your perception of what is going on suddenly shifts, and honestly this twist could be a whole book in itself. But given that it is crammed in right at the end, there isn’t time to really let this development breathe and take on life. It felt too much like a twist for a twist’s sake, you know? As opposed to feeling like a natural development.
So in the end, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a fun read, but definitely a meaty one that is a bit of an undertaking to get into. Yeah, I’ll say it, I got a bit lost at times remembering who was who and where everyone was at what time, etc. I did like that there was a resolution that made sense in the end in terms of the actual murder plot, it’s just that extra twisty bit that really left me feeling underwhelmed.