EXCERPT: He made his way to the checkouts where he saw that she was just about to join the line – perfect timing, but whose? – and he’d hung back so she’d have to do it in front of him, and that’s when she’d stopped and looked up and their eyes had met.
A flash of something – surprise? Recognition? – crosses her face just as he thinks to himself, I’ve seen her somewhere before.
Somewhere else, in different circumstances.
‘It’s okay,’ she mumbles, waving the bottle of water she’s holding in her right hand. ‘I’ve just realised I’ve got the wrong one.’
She turns on her heel and hurries off in the opposite direction.
And now he thinks, Gotcha.
He knew coming back to Ireland would be a risk, but he had presumed that enough time had passed for him to be yesterday’s news. Besides, anyone interested in exposing him would have to find him first. He goes by his mother’s maiden name now. He’s severed all contact with anyone he knew or had known on the day he left London, save for two people: his brother, who can be trusted, and Dan, who is professionally obligated to be. Oliver has a better cover story now and is more practised at sticking to it. He doesn’t take risks. He won’t take them.
There can’t be a repeat of what happened in London.
But now he’s seen this vaguely familiar woman swinging her little space shuttle bag in the supermarket across from his office every day for five days in a row, at a slightly different time each day, and it’s got him paranoid.
Who is she, really?
What is she?
ABOUT ’56 DAYS’: No one knew they’d moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?
56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.
35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him. She sees a unique opportunity for a new relationship to flourish without the pressure of scrutiny of family and friends. He sees it as an opportunity to hide who – and what – he really is.
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.
Will they be able to determine what really happened, or has lockdown provided someone with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime?
MY THOUGHTS: Oh, what a tangled web Catherine Ryan-Hyde has woven! Intriguing and at times perplexing, 56 Days is set in the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the author has used this event very cleverly and to great effect. But it is only one of many layers in this story where it seems everyone is hiding something.
I was immediately immersed in the storyline and didn’t come up for air until past halfway through. Ryan-Hyde has taken us back to a time of great change, of fear, of uncertainty, of almost alien landscapes, deserted streets, and suspicion, and dropped into the midst of this two equally suspicious characters who are, while attracted, also circling one another warily.
The suspense is palpable and I was twisted in knots as I tried to figure out where the author was taking me. The plot is set over several timelines and the story told from the points of view of Ciara, Oliver, and the DI investigating the case. It starts at 56 days before the body is discovered, and we follow Ciara’s and Oliver’s story moving forward, with occasional forays into their past. At the same time we follow the investigation into the death, of whom I’m not saying. Now, usually I am fine with multiple timelines, but just occasionally I was thrown and had to frantically page back to check when I was reading about. This was probably more inattention on my part than any fault of the author. Also, we are occasionally shown the same event from multiple viewpoints, which does lead to a certain amount of repetition, not all of which was warranted.
But as far as predicting what was going to happen, the author stumped me. There were a few things I almost got right, but not entirely.
I really enjoyed 56 Days, the second book I have read by this author, and I look forward to reading more from her.
I: @catherineryanhyde @blackstonepublishing
T: @cryanhyde @BlackstonePub1
#contemporaryfiction #crime #irishfiction #mystery #suspense
THE AUTHOR: Catherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida. She still wants to be an astronaut when she grows up.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of 56 Days by Catherine Ryan-Hyde for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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