Book Review: 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Title: 56 Days
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Release Date: August 19, 2021
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: ★★★★


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?


56 Days blew my freaking mind. I went into this book thinking I already knew exactly how it would go down just from reading the synopsis. I didn’t and the ending truly shocked me. Even when I again thought I knew what was going on, I truly didn’t.

No one wants to read about COVID 19 in a book, or so I thought. The pandemic was the perfect backdrop for these two characters who needed to be isolated from the rest of the world. It even added to the sense of paranoia and chills of this thriller.

This book kept me on my toes. We get three perspectives; Ciara, Oliver and a detective (gardia?). The timelines for each were staggered which was interesting. We had present day where a body was discovered and the other two would take turns by giving their perspective on events. Sometimes we had Ciara’s first while other times we’d see it from Oliver’s first. I really enjoyed how it was set up and thought it just added to the story.

So what were my theories? Well obviously the synopsis wants to trick you into believing that after going into lockdown together, the man killed the woman. That’s too easy though so in all probability the woman killed the man, case closed. Even that seemed too simple of an answer though. I was constantly searching for more in the narratives of each character and was fully invested their stories. What were they hiding? Was one secretly a serial killer? Heck were they both serial killers and that body was someone else entirely? I had theories and the truth didn’t disappoint. The truth was incredibly complex, and Howard masterly wove a tale more thrilling than I could have anticipated.

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