56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard @cathryanhoward @CorvusBooks

Source: Review copy
Publication: 19 August 2021 from Corvus
PP: 432
ISBN-13: ‎978-1838951627

My thanks to the publisher for an early copy for review

No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores
.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside. Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

I adored The Nothing Man and that made 56 Days a ‘must read’ for me. Catherine Ryan Howard is an inventive and entertaining writer and she approaches her subject with verve and originality. That is absolutely the case with 56 Days, a novel inspired by lockdown and set just as Ireland is about to enter the first lockdown phase.

Don’t worry, though, this isn’t a Covid novel, just the starting point for a brilliant mystery that will keep you guessing all the way through.

56 Days is an engrossing and immersive story about two people who meet for the first time on the eve of lockdown. Their story is one of secrets, lies and sharing spaces amidst the fear and isolation of the pandemic.

Catherine Ryan Howard’s story moves back and forwards across her three time zones, but is never difficult to follow. It’s a very clever device in which she slowly reveals snippets of information which the reader has to piece together, all the time jumping to conclusions which may – or as proves to be the case- may not pan out.

This makes it a fascinating thriller as we listen to the stories of Ciara and Oliver, meeting by accident for the first time. Then, after we have established that first attraction, the present day brings us to DI Lee Riordan and DS Karl Connolly. They are standing over a dead body in a shower, in an upmarket set of apartments in Dublin City. It’s been there a while. Has this person died an accidental death, or was it murder? Only by following the timelines will be able to reach a conclusion.

It is obvious when Ciara and Oliver first meet that there’s a mutual attraction. They find common ground very easily and though both are slow to trust, their attraction to each other leads to a relationship forming pretty quickly and that is only accelerated when lockdown comes. Forced to choose between separation and the isolation that would bring to each of these lonely souls, they choose instead to be together when lockdown kicks in.

Because of Howard’s time shifting plot, we know someone is going to end up dead in Oliver’s building. Which one will it be?

Howard is a brilliant writer whose reveals are at once fascinating and also deceptive. This is an excellent masterclass in how to reveal secrets and develop characterisation, all the while leaving the reader wrong footed in their conclusions.

She writes with wit, too. There’s a terrific vein of humour threaded through what turns out to be a dark and troubled story and even when you think you’ve got to the bottom of her fast paced and excellently twisted plotting, she still has some last surprises for you.

Verdict: 56 Days is quite cinematic in construction. It is vivid, very well written, twisty and propulsive. The premise is clever and the execution staggeringly good and all achieved with a seemingly light touch. A great suspense thriller that is as good as it gets.

Bookshop.org                                Waterstones                                  Hive Stores

Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut novel Distress Signals was published by Corvus in 2016 while she was studying English literature at Trinity College Dublin. It went on to be shortlisted for both the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger. Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 and was a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel 2019. That same year, Rewind was shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and was an Irish Times bestseller. She is currently based in Dublin.
Photo c. Steve Langan

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

2 thoughts on “56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard @cathryanhoward @CorvusBooks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Bookliterati Book Reviews

'I declare there is no enjoyment like reading!" Jane Austen

EmmabBooks.com

Book Reviews by Emma b Books

The Curious Ginger Cat

Books, travel etc.

The Reading Closet

Books, adventure and cups of tea!

STAGE LEFT

Love, theatre and ideas

findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...

O. D. Book Reviews

Over dose on books with O and D!

Dream Come Review

~ a home for bookish musings

mybookishblogspot

Just books, more books and some other stuff too

Mrs. Peabody Investigates

International crime fiction, TV and film

Book Bound

For the love of books...

CookingTheBooks

Feeding the soul one story at a time.

Years of Reading Selfishly

Life is too short to read books you don't love

Love the Smell of a Book

Reading, reviewing and sharing the love for our favourite books for adults, teens and children

%d bloggers like this: