3.17.2023 | Friday

56 Days

category: Book Reviews

56 Daystitle: 56 Days
author: Catherine Ryan Howard
published: 17 August 2021
publisher: Blackstone Publishing
genre(s): thrillers
pages: 305
source: Book of the Month
format: hardcover
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: five-stars

the blurb

No one knew they'd moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?

Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.

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?

❗❗ content warning: some graphic violence/descriptions ❗❗

a few notes

keywords/phrases: murder, lies, secrets
mood reading:
twisty plot, deep themes
awards: Irish Book Awards for Irish Independent Crime Fiction (2020)
bonus points:
COVID premise

my review

This is the first book I’ve read that takes place in the new world of the COVID pandemic. It was written and came out as it was ongoing, so I admit I approached it with trepidation, wondering how it would play out in the midst of something still happening, if it would feel more gimmicky than plot-necessary. My fears were all for naught.

Using COVID created an interesting premise right from the beginning. The idea of using lockdown to explore a new relationship without outside influences is fascinating. But it is also terrifying, creating a situation where anything could happen and who would know? It also fosters a controlled environment, where one can create a new reality in which all their secrets remain hidden.

And that made for an incredibly engrossing read. The story had jumps in the timeline, from the present to varying times in the past. It also had multiple perspectives. from those of Ciara and Oliver in the past to the detective in the present. Timeline jumps and multiple POVs sounds as is it could become confusing, but it really wasn’t, instead creating a story that unfolded in delicious little tidbits.

There were so many twists and turns, so many times when I thought I had it all figured it out. And I was generally wrong, which is something I love. That’s the thing I love most about good thrillers, being wrong and then being utterly surprised. 56 Days gave that to me. As the layers are peeled back, as secrets are revealed, the story becomes something new, something different. So good!


And secrets are about denying people things. The truth, yes, but also the experience, the knowledge. You’re just trying to keep them out of the cool gang.

It’s not secrets I like. It’s discovering things that are new to me but actually were always there. Secrets are a different thing. They’re destructive.

None of us know what we’re capable of, if the circumstances were right. Or wrong.

About Catherine Ryan Howard

Catherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland. Her debut novel, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger. THE LIAR’S GIRL (2018) was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. REWIND (2019) was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year and is currently being developed for screen by Clerkenwell Films (Misfits, Lovesick, The End of the F***ing World.) THE NOTHING MAN was a no. 1 Irish Times bestseller and a no. 1 Kindle bestseller (UK) and was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her latest novel, 56 DAYS, was published in August 2021. It is a thriller set in lockdown that Catherine wrote while she was in lockdown.

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.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

reading challenges:

  • 2023 Alphabet Soup: Author Edition Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Diversify Your Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Linz the Bookworm Reading Challenge
  • 2023 Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge
  • 2023 PopSugar Reading Challenge
::spread the love::

Leave a Reply