I knew it was inevitable but I wasn't really looking forward to reading anything fiction that included the pandemic. It felt too soon and not something that I was interested in reliving...while it's still going on. I didn't think authors would be so quick to document the ongoing tradegy but I was proven wrong. 

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard was released in August and I received it in my July Book of the Month subscription  but didn't crack it open until a few weeks ago. I think I was preparing myself for reading about the pandemic but I was really surprised at how well I responded to it.

This is a psychological thriller, set in Dublin during the beginning of the pandemic, and it was really something else. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! 

Publisher's Summary

No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.


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


When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who—and what—he really is.


Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

My Thoughts

The book started off a little slow and it was taking me a minute to understand what was happening. This is another thriller that goes back and forth to the past. You start off with detectives finding a dead body in the middle of the pandemic (probably around April 2020) and then you immediately go back to the week or so before the pandemic and lockdown started in early March 2020. 

There, you meet our main characters Oliver and Ciara. They just meet and eventually decide to move in together once lockdown begins, to really start their relationship. The timelines of the book and the different POVs were a little confusing at first and hard to grasp but once you were really into the meat of the plot, everything was right on track. 

You soon discover Oliver has a secret and he's doing his best to hide it from Ciara.

This was a very vague book with everything, including the secrets of Oliver and others, held close to the chest. You couldn't get a read on who was dead in the apartment, what everyone was hiding, and where the book was even going to go. 

When you finally understand what Oliver is keeping... and soon, what Ciara is keeping, your mind is blown. It feels like the rug is pulled out from under you and things really start to pick up. There are multiple reveals during the novel and each one, after the first, is intense and mind blowing. I was thoroughly shocked and I think they made the book that much more interesting and exciting.

The writing and storytelling were perfect... the book was a slow burn, the characters were well developed and the pandemic, while important to the plot, wasn't  the entire story. It was more like a secondary, background character or a vehicle to help the story come together. It definitely could've been written outside pandemic times to but it only added to the intensity of the story. 

I cannot recommend this book enough; at times it was slightly triggering because of the pandemic but it was so good!

Would you read a book that involved the pandemic?
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