I imagine Stuart Turton’s house must be a right mess: every wall covered with the kind of murder board, maps and photos, post-it notes and red string covered display that you see in the office of a television detective on a complex case.
Either that or he is some kind of
genius with Excel (in which case, can we be friends?)
Otherwise, I have no idea how he kept track of all the connections, intersections, relationships and shifting causality in the plot of this book.
This is Back To The Future meets Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap meets The Matrix meets Downton Abbey meets The Running Man meets Crooked House. (Phew!)
And by throwing in elements from some of our most entertaining, well-loved and mind-bending fiction, Turton has created something fantastically original.
A man wakes in a forest in the early morning with amnesia.
In the pages that follow, our hero must piece together not only who he is and what on earth he is supposed to be doing, but also an almost impossible jigsaw of the events in one day that lead to a dramatic murder.
In a bizarre synchronicity, I read this book during the same few days that I also fell down the brilliant rabbit hole of weirdness that is the German television series Dark.
In this, I learnt about causal determinism, which I don’t pretend to understand, but seems to be the theory that things could not be any way other than how they are.
This is in direct contradiction to what I shall very scientifically refer to as the Back To The Future theory, where if we
travelled in time, we could potentially change and affect the present.
Turton explores this dichotomy to great effect.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t tell you which side of the argument he comes down on. But it will have you scratching your head and referring back to previous chapters as you go along. Turton should include some of his leftover post-it notes and red string with each copy of the book.
The scope and ambition of this book is seriously impressive. This is a high concept take, executed with great affection, on the Christie whodunit. And it works.
I read a lot of crime
fiction, and this is an exciting and refreshing take on the genre.