Book Reviews

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard – Book Review

A book cover of the audiobook version of 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard – Book Details

TITLE – 56 Days

AUTHOR – Catherine Ryan Howard

GENREthriller, mystery



MY RATING – 4 of 5


A huge thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook version of 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard in exchange for an honest review.

What It Is About

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.

Amongst all the other things the lockdown was, was it also a perfect opportunity to commit a crime and get away with it?

Ciara and Oliver met in a supermarket right before the Covid pandemic reached Dublin. When after only a couple of weeks the lockdown has been announced, they decided to move in together and spend the quarantine in Oliver’s apartment.

But when the lockdown is done, there’s a decomposing body in the apartment and not much evidence as to what happened. No one of the neighbors knew the couple. No one has the slightest clue how they got into that position.

What happened in 56 days since they met that pushed one of them over the edge and cost the other one their life?

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard – My Review

Ah, the sweet suspense… Not only who done it, but in this case also – who died?!

I was in such a mood for murder mysteries lately, that’s practically all I want to read. And 56 Days has been everywhere, I’ve heard so many people talking about it and – they got me intrigued. When I got the opportunity to read the early copy, I just couldn’t pass on it.

And boy, did it deliver!

The premise of this book was so good. Two people meet during the pandemic. Because of the lockdown they don’t get a lot of opportunity to get to know each other well. But they still decide to live together through the lockdown.

Which is more than reckless. But also – I mean, I can see it. On one hand, you have an almost complete isolation. On the other, you can spend that time with someone you’ve just met, but kind of like.

Sure, things could go wrong, but that severely – what were the odds?

This book pulled me in from the start and kept me on the edge of my seat like not many others. It follows 2 timelines and it is told from 3 perspectives, the two in the past unsynchronized. Which sounds like it might give you a head spin, but it was actually quite easy to follow. It would annoy me in many other cases, but I thought it was a great way to present this particular story.

I actually really liked the format. The going back and forward. Each new perspective adding new layers to the story. Adding a new meaning to what you’ve read before. How quickly every thought and every small action starts to have a double meaning.

Since we knew for a fact that something horrible is about to happen in 56 days, all the chapters from the past felt like a countdown. And like a guessing game. There’s a body, but whose? Someone is hiding something, but what?

To me, the beginning was like a sweet romance between two flawed, insecure people who somehow managed to find each other and now have a chance to spend the lockdown not alone. So what went wrong?

56 Days is set during the first lockdown in Ireland. I know a lot of people don’t like to read about the Covid pandemic, but for some reason I find these books relaxing. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but in my head, I guess – if I see it in a fiction book, it somehow makes it less real?

This is not the first book I read that includes a lot of guidelines and procedures we had to follow these past months. But what I loved about 56 Days was that it didn’t only mentioned these things – it used the lockdown as a plot device. And it used it so successfully, a lot of the things worked out because of the quarantine.

It added another layer of mystery, where they had to ask themselves do I know so little about this person I’m living with because of the pandemic, or are they actually hiding something. Is this distrust I’m feeling paranoia, or could this person actually hurt me?

And though the twists weren’t 100% unpredictable, there were several surprises I didn’t see coming. And I love when a book keeps me guessing till the end.

Still not quite sure what I think about some aspects of the ending. But other than that, I really enjoyed this read.

I listened to 56 Days as an audiobook, and I am sure I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I did if I read it physically. The narrator did an amazing job. I loved how she managed to pull me into the story, I just couldn’t put it down. Literally – I was looking for any excuse I possibly could to keep listening.

I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews and I know this book won’t be for everyone. But to me it was exactly what I’ve been looking for. The story was intriguing, exciting and on a weird level – relatable. The narration was really good. And though in many ways this was a typical murder mystery, it still had a dash or originality to it.

All in all, I had a great time with this book and I’m more than glad I’ve read it.

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