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56 Days

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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?

428 pages, Hardcover

First published August 17, 2021

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About the author

Catherine Ryan Howard

23 books2,810 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,008 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
June 14, 2021
this is the first book ive read that uses COVID as a plot. and because it takes place in the city that i live, i was worried it would be too meta for me. i also thought it would feel gimmicky reading about something that only just started a year ago and is still ongoing. like, how can an author write something so quickly and relevant and be good quality?

well, all of those worries were completely unfounded. this is riveting story of first encounters, hidden secrets, and confined spaces. i really liked the jumps between the past and the present and the way the 56 days unfold. i thought the unravelling of information is done very well and the reveals always kept me on my toes. i also adored the sneaky references to CRHs other book, ‘the nothing man.’ and her authors note at the end does a great job at tying everything together - i think many readers will enjoy her take on COVID lockdowns.

so shame on me for initially doubting CRH. she has once again proved why shes one of my favourite crime/mystery authors.

thanks so much for the ARC blackstone publishing!! :)

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Kat.
265 reviews79.6k followers
October 28, 2021
2.5 maybe idk underwhelming
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews3,013 followers
August 18, 2021
The COVID books are coming! The COVID books are coming!

While riding out the COVID lockdowns of 2020, bestselling author Catherine Ryan Howard rolled up her (pajama) sleeves and said LET’S DO THIS. She had an idea for a story about a new couple locked down together in Dublin, “for whom the strange, isolating circumstances of this new and uncertain world was just the opportunity they were waiting for.”

The end result was 56 Days, a captivating thriller with great characters that kept me on my toes. Oliver clearly has a past he’s trying to keep hidden, so although he seems like a very likeable fellow readers aren’t sure if he’s the hero or villain of the story. Ciara, his girlfriend of only a few weeks, agrees to shelter in place with him though she perpetually second guesses her decisions. Wouldn’t you wonder what type of weirdo you were living with?

Heck, DIDN’T you wonder what type of weirdos you were living with last year?

Since in real life COVID-19 is still our reality and not even 56 days behind us yet, there were moments when the setting very much felt too soon. But then again, reflecting back on the surreal early days of the pandemic is a little irresistible. We were all in it together, which makes it easy to relate to Ollie and Ciara.

56 Days had twists and turns that I did not see coming, and it might have been a 5-star read had the back-and-forth timeline not felt so repetitive in some places. But if you’re up for a stroll down COVID lane, this is a thrilling place to start.

My thanks to the author and Blackstone Publishing for my gifted copy to review via NetGalley.

Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,140 reviews1,896 followers
August 17, 2021

Take a moment to REALLY remember what it feels like when you finally meet someone that you think could be “the one”....those early days when you can’t stand to be apart...when you are hoping that every “ping” on your cell phone is from THAT person.

Now think about FEELING this way about someone you met just TWO weeks before a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic forces the World to go into lockdown.

This is a story about two people who were forced to make a decision without precedent.

How they come to this decision is shared from EACH of their perspectives, which results in some repetition in a few chapters, but it isn’t written that way for the book’s entirety, although the timeline jumps back and forth throughout.

Both had just relocated to Dublin, and barely knew their new co-workers. Neither had family close by.

Very alone in a scary, new reality, they choose to “shelter in place” together so they can still see each other, but to not tell anyone, because they KNEW what kind of “push back” would be received...

Now, one of them is dead and nobody is looking.

Gillian Fannin from #4 has called in a “smell” coming from #1, just three doors down the hall.

And, now DI Leah Riordan and DS Karl Connolly have been called to figure out what has happened between the couple who met just 56 DAYS ago....

I don’t think that author Catherine Ryan Howard ever imagined that we would still be dealing with this Virus by publication date, when she penned this very CREEPY idea of hers during lockdown, and yet, here we are!!

But, set your Covid-19 fatigue aside and embrace this EXTRA layer of fear, because this author knows how to write books which are engaging from start to finish, and she hasn’t let me down yet!

And, if you haven’t yet read “The Nothing Man” (my favorite-it gets a mention in this book) and I highly recommend it!

BOTH are available now!!

Thank You to Blackstone Publishing for the gifted copy provided through NetGalley! It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

And, to my friend Susan for the buddy read!
Watch for her wonderful review as well! 💕
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,805 followers
February 2, 2022
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard (Author), Alana Kerr Collins (Narrator)

For the most part, my time since Covid appeared hasn't been a lot different than before Covid appeared. Living in a rural area, making use of mail order before and during, being sort of hermit-y anyway (along with husband and pets) and having lots of room for walks on the property, allowed me to miss some of the big changes other people have felt. Reading this story brought home the feeling of being locked down, locked out, and claustrophobia that is shown so well in this book. Then, add to that two strangers who are holding back as they get to know each other and things do not seem right at all.

Actually, the "not right" starts immediately, when a decomposing body is found in the tub of an apartment. It's the smell the clued other residents in that something wasn't right. Now DI Leah Riordan (down to earth and all about work) and DS Karl Connolly (all about sex all the time) are having to figure out why this, maybe, accidental death doesn't really work as an accidental death.

Fifty six days earlier Ciara and Oliver meet. Ciara seems so unsure of herself and so sure she's going to make a mistake, mess up things with this new guy. Oliver is beyond paranoid and has something big he's hiding. He knows he should run away from any chance of things going anywhere with this woman but he's so desperate for a relationship, no matter how unwise or short lived. If only she could get to know him before she "really" gets to know him.

NOW is interspersed with the past timelines, which are out of order and told from the point of views of Ciara and Oliver. I wish the past had been told in order because I know I would have enjoyed the story more that way. Trying to match up similar but different memories of Ciara and Oliver seemed like a chore. I loved the mystery of what took place and what each person was hiding but adding the confusion of the mixed up timelines was frustrating. Overall, I really did enjoy the story and would love a story that focused on the team of DI Riordan and DS Connolly. They made me laugh although I do hope Leah keeps her Hazmat suit handy when she's around Connolly.

Pub August 17, 2021
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
625 reviews1,541 followers
August 17, 2021

An intriguing thriller set during the early 2020 days of COVID-19 and lockdown.

56 Days Ago - In Ireland, Ciara and Oliver meet when each of them are taking a break from work to grab lunch...Just as COVID-19 reaches Ireland. There seems to be an instant connection.

35 Days Ago - With full lockdown rapidly approaching, Oliver asks Ciara to move in with him...at least for the two weeks where nobody is allowed outside with the exception of grocery shopping, medication pickup, and brief exercise. Ciara agrees...but does she know know Oliver is hiding something about his past?

Present Day - A decomposing body is found in Oliver’s apartment, and nobody else is inhabiting the space. Detectives work hard to determine the cause of death and find out anything they can about the victim.

I was immediately hooked by this story. The writing is top-notch and really pulled me back to the early days of COVID-19: the scary uncertainty, the shockingly quiet streets, non-essential businesses shut down. The mystery element is expertly crafted around the state of the world at that time. I guessed some of the surprises before they were revealed, but happily enjoyed one or two more that I didn’t fully anticipate.

A few minor critiques: The story is told from multiple POV’s that bounce back and forth between timelines. While I normally love that approach, there was a bit of repetitiveness as one character explained a scene that we already read about (with few new revelations). This gimmick isn’t used incessantly, but I noticed it a few times. In addition, the lead-up to the end is a bit long-winded.

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable and unique thriller that I think many will love. Author Catherine Ryan Howard is a force to be reckoned with in this genre. I read her first four thrillers last year (including the incomparable The Nothing Man), and while 56 Days doesn’t quite achieve the same level of tension, it’s still a worthy and welcome addition to my “finished reading” shelf.

3.5 stars rounded up.

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on: 8/17/21.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,440 reviews78.1k followers
November 18, 2022
"Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want the most."
-Abraham Lincoln

We all have differing opinions on whether or not we're ready to read about books featuring the pandemic, but I think we can all agree that it adds a very real element to books that we generally write off as so fictional it's only escapism. While I wholly enjoyed this unique piece of crime fiction, I understand that not everyone is comfortable examining the Covid-19 outbreak in their reading realm, and I respect anyone who chooses not to pick up these types of books until they're in a mindset to handle such content.

For those wanting a little more detail on how big of a part the coronavirus plays into this narrative, this book is set in the early days of confusion and chaos; while it does play a rather large part in the book, it is more from the aspect of shepherding the plot line in the direction it needs to go, rather than trauma porn meant to unsettle the reader. As far as my memory serves, no character becomes ill with or passes away from Covid-19, and the majority of the story includes the topic more as background atmosphere than anything else. I just wanted to be upfront with this, in case it is a major trigger for some readers who would prefer to stop here and abandon ship.

On to the book! Ciara and Oliver have a meet cute at the grocery store right around the time that the first Covid-19 case is diagnosed in Ireland. They decide to meet up on a few dates and devise the craziest of schemes: they're going to shelter in place together for the 2 week lockdown to continue moving forward with their relationship while complying with the government. However, we find out early on that one or both characters have a few secrets up their sleeves, ones they don't want the other finding out about, and living in such close quarters proves more and more difficult to keep up pretenses.

You know going in that there is a dead body in the apartment that this couple is living in, along with the rough time frame of when that person died, but over time we find out the how and why that adds all the clarity to what went wrong. The author uses her trademark shifting timelines and POVs to keep the reader on their toes, and while the beginning chapters that showed the initial phase of Ciara and Oliver's relationship were a tad slow, once the stage is set the book took off and I couldn't put it down. (Just ask my husband, who was wondering when I'd be turning out my lamp and go to sleep.) If you enjoy a good puzzling crime fiction novel set in the Republic of Ireland, and don't mind a little unsettling Covid atmosphere, I highly recommend picking up this latest book from Catherine Ryan Howard. After the halfway mark we get hit with twist after twist, and I'm curious to see how much you had figured out, or if the author "gotchya" too.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
992 reviews2,779 followers
June 10, 2022
I cannot tell you how clean my house is because I DIDN’T WANT TO STOP LISTENING TO THIS BOOK AND I HAD TO KNOW THE ENDING!!!!

I loved “The Nothing Man” and my expectations were high. I was not disappointed!!

Once again the narrator is Alana Kerr Collins and I think her light Irish accent seems perfect for Ms. Howard’s books.

What does a talented author do when the Covid crisis hit?? When she is in lockdown herself?? She gets an idea for a brilliant book about a couple in lockdown, what can go on behind closed doors and with everyone sheltering in place??? Turns out A LOT!!

This couple, Oliver and Ciara have only met and gotten to know each other for a few weeks. There is a spark there and they both feel it.

Lockdown begins in Dublin and they decide that Ciara should stay in Oliver's apartment, it is large with an extra bedroom. She ends up staying for months.


Then we switch to present time with two detectives who are called to an apartment in an upscale neighborhood in Dublin. A resident had called the police and complained of a strong smell coming from another apartment. What DI Karl Connolly and DI Lee Riordan find is a decaying corpse. Whoever it is has been dead a very long time.

The novel goes back and forth in time from before the pandemic to present time. The timeline switches flow well and I had no problem keeping track of what was going on.

While I didn’t feel the tension that I felt in “The Nothing Man” this was an entirely different kind of thriller. I felt an inner fear kick in towards the last third of the novel when secrets were revealed!! Ms. Howard builds the fear slowly as we get to know the characters. During most of the novel we know little about them.

I did not see the big twist that came at the end and I loved it!!

My one complaint is that between these two points of view sometimes there was repetition of events, etc. It wasn’t enough to detract from my enjoyment of this audiobook.

I received an audiobook from the publisher through NetGalley. This audiobook is available now for you to enjoy!
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,384 reviews7,088 followers
July 3, 2021
Just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, Oliver meets Ciara in a Dublin supermarket. When I say met, Oliver actually saw Ciara in the supermarket for 5 consecutive days, which he found strange, given that he’d arrived at different times, so initially he thinks she may be someone other than who she pretends to be ( and he has very good reason to be anxious about that). However, they eventually get chatting, and find that they get on really well, so Oliver asks Ciara to move in with him, but now, one of them is dead! All of the characters in this story though, have an agenda, but we’re not apprised of that information until much later.

This is a story built around multiple timelines, from 56 days downwards. It was a complex but well constructed story, and despite the jumping about from one timeline to another, it held my interest with several revelations along the way.

*Thank you to Netgalley and Atlantic Books, Corvus, for an ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review *
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
458 reviews1,031 followers
August 19, 2021
Happy publishing day! (19th August 2021)

3.5 stars

A enjoyable and well plotted thriller set during the early days of the Covid19 pandemic

56 Days ago they met in a Dublin supermarket queue, just as covid19 was first detected in Ireland.
35 days ago they moved in together so that Covid wouldn't keep them apart, but what do they really know about each other?
Now, detectives find a badly decomposed body..

What happened in flat 1? With no one knowing they'd moved in together, did one of them commit the perfect crime?

This was my first book set in the pandemic because I haven't been ready to read about a situation that we're clearly still in the middle of, but I'm happy that I trusted Catherine Ryan Howard. The author of The Nothing Man, one of my top books last year has written an intriguing mystery, which although didn't wow me like her previous book, was still enjoyable, with some shocking, sad and horrifying twists, some of which disgusted me!

Ciara and Oliver were very relatable, as they struggled to navigate those early days of the pandemic, where we all went from' oh it's only flu,' to 'ah we have a problem!' Memories hit hard of quiet roads, apologising and waving as we crossed the street to avoid others, the supermarket queues and empty loo roll and pasta shelves! 😂🙈

56 Days was told by Ciara, Oliver and Detective Leah Riordan from different time lines, which was good. I enjoyed seeing it all unfold, from when the couple first met, moved in together, and to what happened after that.. And really liked Detective Lee's perspective. BUT it did get quite repetitive, as we see the same scene play out from a different character's pov several times. This didn't quite work for me, as no real new details were added, and it dragged the story out a bit for me.

I did like Detective Lee and DS Karl Connolly's banter, and was interested to see if they would figure it out.

If you're looking for a chilling mystery/thriller set during the pandemic, give this one a go!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Atlantic Books for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,070 reviews3,613 followers
February 27, 2022
Are you ready to revisit lockdown?

I most assuredly didn’t think I was. This book sat tucked away on my shelf for months. But now, as we all begin moving forward searching for a smidge of normalcy, I felt it would be safe to finally pick this one up.

Now I’m asking myself… This was so darn good! What took me so long!‍🤦🏻‍♀️

Oliver and Ciara only recently met, having gone on just a few dates when the forming clouds of Covid began sweeping across the entire globe.

Once the Irish government ordered its citizens into lockdown for two weeks, the new couple decide to face it together and spend the lockdown at Olivers’ place.

Naturally, the two are apprehensive about making such a hasty and bold commitment. After all, they barely know one another. Can Oliver win over Ciara during this time? Or will she discover what secret he’s desperate to hide?

This book was so ingenious! I just loved the writing and dare say this could be my favorite Catherine Ryan Howard novel to date. I was instantly drawn into the storyline, and though it was nothing like I expected…it worked superbly!

I realize there are some readers that may still be hesitant to read about a time we all want desperately to forget. But trust me here…it’s just the backdrop for this brilliant book. There is so much more to this suspenseful storyline.

A buddy read with Susanne that surprised both of us and we couldn’t stop talking about its originality.

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,146 reviews2,528 followers
September 2, 2021

The anxiety, uncertainty, and eerie isolation of the early days of Covid is the perfect backdrop for this twisty tale. Although this takes place during quarantine, Covid does not take center stage, but simply provides the unique atmosphere and set of circumstances for a perfect mystery.

Ciara and Oliver met 56 days ago, and 35 days ago decided to move in together when everyone was ordered to shelter in place. Today one is found dead. But which one? And why?

The author plotted this brilliantly with the discovery of the dead body in the beginning, followed by the alternating points of view of Ciara and Oliver in the days leading up to the death. We also hear from the detectives working the case, Leah and Karl, and I especially loved the humor and good-natured banter between them.

The characters of Ciara and Oliver were well-developed, and the underlying motives/psychology of both were explored as they each withheld information from one another (and from the reader). It’s obvious from the beginning that there are secrets and hidden agendas, but the reader is just as clueless as the characters.

Cleverly plotted and compelling right up to the last page, with perfectly timed twists, the pages practically turned themselves. My reading buddy, Marialyce, and I enjoyed peeling back the layers, where even if you think you know where the story is headed, there are surprises in store.
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
815 reviews1,869 followers
May 17, 2021

My head is still spinning a little after the jumping timelines!

Different time periods within 56 days as well as the present day are presented in alternating chapters.

Quite a bit of back and forth, a tangled web emerges, until the big reveal emerged as I turned the last page.

Oliver and Ciara barely know each other, but decide to spend the next two weeks in Covid lockdown together.

They know virtually nothing about each other.

What could possibly go wrong?

I enjoyed the way the story unraveled in such a unique, puzzling way. However, the repetitiveness of certain parts frustrated me and I think it was too long (like 100 pages). I'd say it is still quite a curious page turner with a unexpected ending! Got me!

Thanks to NG and the publisher for my review copy! OUT on 8/19/21
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,572 reviews1,880 followers
August 20, 2021
I listened to this book on audio and had a difficult time stopping! I love Alana Kerr Collins as a narrator, this is the third audiobook by Catherine Ryan Howard that I've listened to and her Irish accent is perfect for the stories.

Howard has a tendency to write timelines that jump back and forth between past and present and this one is no exception. I was easily able to follow the timeline in this book as the "past" is just 56 days previously, and then there's a timeline in the middle, and then the present day. There are a few twists that I didn't see coming (and a couple that I did, but that's fine). Lots of secrets!

I can't neglect to mention that this book is centered around two people, newly in a relationship, who decide to share an apartment during the initial stages of the Covid-19 lockdown. I recently read another book that was set during the pandemic (False Witness ) and the mentions of the masking and sanitizing really annoyed me because it wasn't really integrated or necessary. In this book, it really didn't bother me because it is a part of the story without being over the top. I know that it's too soon for some people, but for whatever reason, it worked for me in this case.

The overall mystery of what happened to the person found dead at the beginning is creative and very shocking once everything is put together. I feel like Howard is really hitting her stride with her last two books and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29.1k followers
July 27, 2021
3 Stars

This was a super decent mystery novel. It takes place during the initial phases of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, however, I wouldn't stay that's the main focus of the story. It was more about the...opportunities lockdown conditions provided for certain characters' objectives.

I really liked the author's writing and the way the story was laid out - the way certain information was miserly parceled out really built up my interest - but I also wouldn't say it blew my mind.

A decent read though. I would read more by this author in the future.
Profile Image for Allison Faught.
305 reviews144 followers
September 24, 2021
Holy wow!!! So I definitely finished 60% of this book today because I could NOT stop reading. 😂
I think I’m a relatively picky person when it comes to entertainment like movies, shows, books so I think it says something when I give 5 stars.
When you think you know what’s happening…BOOM! You’re wrong. Got me Every. Damn. Time. There were so many twists that I was continually surprised.
I’m not going to lie, this pandemic has left a bad taste in my mouth for countless reasons (and I know I’m not the only one.) However, the author makes this pandemic talk work so it didn’t leave me totally sad and wallowing, yet brought up the importance of the issue at the same time. I’m happy I went with gut instinct and checked this out because it took me on the wildest of rides.
The characters: You hate ‘em, you love ‘em, you hate to love ‘em and you love to hate ‘em. Spot on.
Check this book out. If you needed a sign. This is it.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,974 reviews1,506 followers
June 11, 2021
It’s 2020 and Ireland like the rest of the world is in Covid-19 lockdown when a decomposing body is found in a ground floor apartment when the smell alerts a resident. 56 Days previously the ‘far off flu’ led to the cancellation of the St Patrick’s Day Parade just in case and Ciara meets Oliver in Tesco. They have a coffee and a few days later a date and it goes well. Thirty five days ago the Taoiseach announces a full lockdown and Oliver suggests Ciara moves into his apartment for the duration. In the present day DI Leah (Lee) Riordan and DS Karl Connolly investigate and brace themselves .....

This is a very engaging and powerful thriller with the Covid restrictions with which we are all too familiar adding an additional edge to the storytelling. The characters are very well portrayed, a bit enigmatic at times as you try to delve into what is their truth. I especially like the two detectives with their relationship and really good banter offering a bit of welcome light relief from the darkness of the tale. As Ciara and Oliver’s backgrounds and stories emerge there’s palpable tension, some shocks and it’s horrifying, chilling and sad. There are some good plot twists especially towards the end. I like the reference to The Nothing Man!

However, the constantly changing timelines takes a bit of getting used to and it does lead to some repetition especially with Ciara and Oliver’s perspectives, hence my four star rating.

Overall though, this is another compelling read from the author who creates clever and multilayered storylines.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Atlantic Books, Corvus for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jen.
133 reviews208 followers
September 24, 2021
Ciara and Oliver meet and immediately hit it off. There's just one small problem… right after they start dating, the city is put under lockdown due to Covid. Worried about losing momentum, they decide to take a risk and move in together so they can be in the same household and therefore quarantine together. What could go wrong? Well a lot apparently, as the book opens with the discovery of a very ripe dead body in the apartment. 

We follow along with the current timeline where detectives try to figure out exactly what they've stumbled across as well as getting both Ciara and Oliver's perspectives on their budding relationship as it unfolds, starting from 56 days prior to the discovery of the body. I really enjoyed the current chapters. We were dropped right in on a fully formed universe where characters had backstories, relationships, inside jokes etc but none of it was clumsily spelled out. I love when an author just trusts the reader to catch on. 

I'm conflicted however regarding Oliver and Ciara's chapters. We don't bounce back and forth between the two as time progresses, we see the same events unfold through each's eyes. The first time this was done, I really liked it. Seeing the same scene play out from the other perspective was a cool concept, and since it was their first meeting and date, I found it to be especially interesting. Wouldn’t you just be dying to know what the other person thought of how things were going. Were they as nervous as you? Did they pick up on that tiny gaffe you made that you’ve been playing over in your head for 40 minutes now in bed, unable to fall asleep? But after each subsequent use of the technique, it lost more and more of its lustre. Eventually it was a bit “yes, yes, I’ve already read all this, can we move on”, even though tucked into the sameness there were bits of new and important information. I wanted these little nuggets but was also was anxious to move on because I was dying to know what happened next. This ended up creating a strange sensation where the book was simultaneously a bit boring but also gripping. 

Catherine Ryan Howard is a new to me author, but I’m immediately going to go find her back catalogue. Regardless of my quibbles with the POV technique, I loved the writing style. I cannot wait to read The Nothing Man which I've seen so much glowing praise for. 

As a note for those worried about the Covid angle: I’ll be honest, when I saw this one was available for Book of the Month, I almost passed on it, thinking I wasn’t quite ready to deal with a story that had a strong pandemic focus. I saw some early positive reviews though, and decided to give it a chance, and I’m so glad I did. Admittedly, I still didn’t *love* being swept back to March and April of 2020 and all of the uncertainty and fear of those times, but the lockdown did provide a pretty unique premise opportunity, and I cannot fault the author for taking advantage of that. 
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,974 reviews2,041 followers
August 24, 2021
EXCERPT: 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.

A flash of something - surprise? Recognition? - crosses her face just as he thinks to himself, I've seen her somewhere before.

Somewhere else, in different circumstances.

But where?

'It's okay,' she mumbles, waving the bottle of water she's holding in her right hand. 'I've just realised I've got the wrong one.'

She turns on her heel and hurries off in the opposite direction.

And now he thinks, Gotcha.

He knew coming back to Ireland would be a risk, but he had presumed that enough time had passed for him to be yesterday's news. Besides, anyone interested in exposing him would have to find him first. He goes by his mother's maiden name now. He's severed all contact with anyone he knew or had known on the day he left London, save for two people: his brother, who can be trusted, and Dan, who is professionally obligated to be. Oliver has a better cover story now and is more practised at sticking to it. He doesn't take risks. He won't take them.

There can't be a repeat of what happened in London.

But now he's seen this vaguely familiar woman swinging her little space shuttle bag in the supermarket across from his office every day for five days in a row, at a slightly different time each day, and it's got him paranoid.

Who is she, really?

What is she?

ABOUT '56 DAYS': 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?

MY THOUGHTS: Oh, what a tangled web Catherine Ryan-Hyde has woven! Intriguing and at times perplexing, 56 Days is set in the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the author has used this event very cleverly and to great effect. But it is only one of many layers in this story where it seems everyone is hiding something.

I was immediately immersed in the storyline and didn't come up for air until past halfway through. Ryan-Hyde has taken us back to a time of great change, of fear, of uncertainty, of almost alien landscapes, deserted streets, and suspicion, and dropped into the midst of this two equally suspicious characters who are, while attracted, also circling one another warily.

The suspense is palpable and I was twisted in knots as I tried to figure out where the author was taking me. The plot is set over several timelines and the story told from the points of view of Ciara, Oliver, and the DI investigating the case. It starts at 56 days before the body is discovered, and we follow Ciara's and Oliver's story moving forward, with occasional forays into their past. At the same time we follow the investigation into the death, of whom I'm not saying. Now, usually I am fine with multiple timelines, but just occasionally I was thrown and had to frantically page back to check when I was reading about. This was probably more inattention on my part than any fault of the author. Also, we are occasionally shown the same event from multiple viewpoints, which does lead to a certain amount of repetition, not all of which was warranted.

But as far as predicting what was going to happen, the author stumped me. There were a few things I almost got right, but not entirely.

I really enjoyed 56 Days, the second book I have read by this author, and I look forward to reading more from her.


#56Days #NetGalley

I: @catherineryanhyde @blackstonepublishing

T: @cryanhyde @BlackstonePub1

#contemporaryfiction #crime #irishfiction #mystery #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Catherine Ryan Howard is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Cork, Ireland. 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.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of 56 Days by Catherine Ryan-Hyde for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Debra .
2,293 reviews35k followers
May 29, 2021
56 Days Ago

Ciara and Oliver met in a supermarket line in Dublin. She was always there when he was there - no matter what time of day. She had this bag which caught his attention. They make plans to see each other again. This is before the Covid-19 lockdown.

35 Days Ago

Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him during the initial days of COVID -19 lockdown. He has the bigger apartment: an extra bedroom and it will give them both time to determine if this relationship is going somewhere.


Detectives are at Oliver's apartment. A body has been found inside.

Readers will be able to relate to the character's reaction to Covid-19, lockdown, trying to make sense of everything, social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing, etc.

Both characters are new to Dublin. Both decide to be together during lockdown. Neither really knows the other. This is a get-to-know-you time without the knowledge of others. But how do you get to know someone when both of you have secrets?

This is a clever book that takes readers through various times - present, past, not so distant past, while it examines how these two people came to the decision to move in together, what that experience was like and both of their thoughts during that time.

I really enjoyed how the story unfolded. I love trying to figure a book and its characters out. Catherine Ryan Howard not only tackled the early days of Covid-19, but she created a story with deep layers. Having both of their perspectives moves the story forward and gives insight into their motivation(s). The story jumping around really worked for me as well. I loved the how-did-we-get-here vibe to it. The book just kept getting better as tiny snippets were revealed.

Cleverly plotted, well thought out, and shocking!

Thank you to Corvus Books and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,820 reviews478 followers
November 24, 2021
56 Days is set in Ireland the week COVID-19 hit the island.

56 days ago
Ciara meets Oliver in the supermarket. Oliver is tall and handsome and Ciara wants nothing more than continue talking to him.

Oliver for his part can't believe that Ciara is who she says she is. Oliver lives in fear of people finding out about his past. What he did and every time he brings his walls down, something happens that makes his new life disappear right in front of his eyes. This time, this is a new beginning for him, one he doesn't want to lose.

35 days ago
Then the world goes into lockdown due to a pandemic. What better way to find out more about Ciara than to spend time together in the apartment his work is providing. No one will see much of them and they can explore what they are feeling for each other.

A body has been found in Oliver's apartment. Who's the body??


I was hooked! Despite the different timelines from past and present and the voices from Ciara, Oliver, and the detective Leah Riordan, it all made perfect sense and my attention never wavered.

56 Days had the right kind of suspense. Do I wish the ending was a little different? Sure but the way it went also works.

The Nothing Man is still in my TBR. I know I have to read it after enjoying 56 Days so much.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Linda.
1,229 reviews1,279 followers
July 9, 2021
56 Days is a reminder that all our days are numbered......

Catherine Ryan Howard sets the stage in a busy food shop in Dublin. Two strangers struggle with their purchases they hold in line with only moments to spare at lunch. Ciara notices the handsome man at the head of the line. He casts his eyes upon her as she quickly turns away in embarassment. As she takes to the sidewalk, she hears a voice behind her remarking about her NASA tote bag. Immediately a conversation breaks out about the space shuttles. Oliver quickly impresses her and a date is set for the next day. Ciara and Oliver in their own orbit now.

Howard flips the switch and we find two police officers, DI Lee Riordan and DS Karl Connolly, checking out a report of a dead body at The Crossings, an apartment complex in downtown Dublin. From all indications it seems that the body has lain on the floor of that apartment's bathroom for over two weeks. Not the sort of thing that you wish to walk into after all that time. But with Covid-19 and a lockdown in place, there were very few comings and goings. Someone knew their way in and someone knew their way out.

I enjoyed the writing style of 56 Days with humorous dialogue in just the right spots and a fast-paced storyline that gives nothing away. Howard measures time in her chapter headings and flips the actions from present to past and back again. We only know surface information on our characters as we line up our suspects. Howard is gonna make us work for it. Her lead-up with the lockdown brought a sense of relatability to the readers. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors and limited traffic with very few individuals out and about? 56 Days contains knotted threads that dangle in all directions......just like we like 'em.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Blackstone Publishing and to Catherine Ryan Howard for the opportunity.
August 22, 2021
As an avid thriller fan, it can be hard for me to read a book that catches me by surprise, but this one managed to shock me multiple times.

56 days follows the lives of Oliver and Ciara. Who’s relationship is ramped up by the pandemic. However, 56 days after they first meet, Detectives Lee and Karl and called in after a body has been found.

This book kept me on my toes more than I expected it to. Usually with thrillers I get a sense of whether there may be plot-twists. Strangely, I didn’t think there would be any twists in this book, which made the numerous ones that appeared even more exciting! Howard used language perfectly to hint that ‘reality’ was a particular way, only to later reveal a twist that shone a light on the truth. The novel flipped between the present day and time points from the last three months as well as following three different character points of view. At first I struggled a little to understand what was going on but by the end I absolutely loved this.

I enjoyed the unique use of the pandemic to create an interesting thriller storyline. I also love books with multiple characters points of view. My main issue with this novel was that things did get repetitive because of this. If more extra information had been added when repeating scenes from other characters views, I would have loved it. But the repetition of the same conversations with very little added was a bit tiring. That being said, overall I really enjoyed this novel and still feel like I am reeling from all the twists that were thrown in.

I would recommend this book to any thriller fan! I want to thank Readers First, Corvus publishers and Catherine Ryan Howard for allowing me to read this book and give my personal thoughts.
September 2, 2021
4.5 stars

This is the third book I have read by this author and I am happy to say I left the land of the "where are those good books?" and entered one where the pages flew by and had me totally involved in the story Ms. Howard created.

This was the book that enabled me to leave my slump behind and enter into a world where secrets abide and life for Ciara and Oliver veers off the track that they had planned for one another.

It is the beginning of the Covid disaster that Ciara and Oliver meet. They immediately develop, it seems, an attraction to one another. As the lock down seems to be approaching, the two decide to live with one another as Ciara moves into Oliver's apartment. However, secrets seem to be another resident present, a silent one in the apartment.

They have fifty-six days to connect and fall in love, but things hidden tend to destroy what seems like a slice of heaven as both Ciara and Oliver bear witness to some harrowing elements that happened years ago. Will these elements be the end of their love, or will the couple be able to overcome the ghastly happenings of years ago?

Jan and I finally found what we were looking for in this book. Thank goodness, for we were rapidly losing our faith in the thriller genre.

I enjoyed this engrossing tale and want to thank Catherine, Ryan Howard, Blackstone Publishing, and NetGalley for a copy of this intriguing story.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,026 reviews2,535 followers
January 1, 2023
After feeling like many authors were going out of their way to avoid writing about Covid, I’ve now read or listened to three in a row that tackle it head on. 56 Days uses the Covid background as the reason a couple move in together after just a few dates.
Using multiple POVs and a nonlinear time frame, we watch from both the “present day” or day 56 when a dead body is found in an apartment, Day 1 or the day the couple first meets and most days in between.
I love stories that show how two people can see the same event so differently. And this does exactly that. Oliver obviously has a past he’s trying to hide. But Ciera isn’t telling him everything either. It’s great fun to watch how they interact and bounce off each other.
This story kept me engrossed from the first chapter. I was caught off guard with each reveal and twist. And I really enjoyed the ending.
I haven’t read any of Catherine Ryan Howard’s other books. But I will look to remedy that, if this book is any indication of her talent.
Alana Kerr Collins did a great job as the narrator. Her Irish lilt was enchanting but easy to understand, even at my normal accelerated speed.
Profile Image for Michelle .
879 reviews1,278 followers
February 18, 2022
DNF @ 38%

Call it Covid burn out. Call it the most annoying main character ever. Call it intentionally repetitive. Call me a cranky bitch. I don't care. This one totally missed the mark for me. Onwards!
Profile Image for Sue.
2,691 reviews170 followers
September 20, 2021
To me this was a suspense/thriller.

I was listening to The Nothing Man by this author and reading this one at other times.

If I had to chose, my 5* went to The Nothing Man.
4* for this one.

It’s a fairly well done storyline and plot with (for me) centred around the “lockdown” of Covid. I’m not so sure if that added to the plot for me apart from how fast they moved in together as if apart they would lose the chance of dating and getting to know each other first.

I suppose I found it convenient.

Saying that, it kept my attention and I was well entertained.

For me it’s a 3.5 rounded up to 4*
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
649 reviews5,828 followers
September 27, 2021

The discussion of Covid? 4 stars.

The mystery? 2 stars.

The cop-comedy in this book is so CRINGE. Her partner says "Next we'll solve the mystery of why you're still single" Yikes. Also, how we meet the partner is by the main character uncuffing him from his bed where he was left bound and naked by a one-night stand...during a pandemic...ummm???

This is a story that I love to retell to people but I'd never suggest they read it. It's fascinating to hear the highlights but the journey's not worth it.

CRH would retell the same scene over and over from different povs. Then go back to the same pov but say they'd been lying the first time and tell the same story AGAIN but with a twist. Okay, but I've already read this dialogue between these characters 3 times. I can't care it again. Please.

The mystery is also very cliche and I called what was happening so early on which was disappointing.

The covid discussion is fantastic however. I really related to Ciara's mental state during the pandemic. That is what is making me keep this book on my shelves. I want to go back and relate to what she felt and experienced.
Profile Image for Blaine.
749 reviews613 followers
October 5, 2021
People think the decisions you make that change the course of your life are the big ones. Marriage proposals. House moves. Job applications. But she knows it's the little ones, the tiny moments, that really plot the course. Moments like this.

None of us know what we're capable of, if the circumstances were right. Or wrong.
56 days ago, right around March 1, 2020, Ciara and Oliver meet in a Dublin supermarket. A few weeks and a few dates later, as Ireland is going into lockdown, they take a chance and Ciara moves into Oliver’s apartment. They each have their reasons for wanting to give their budding relationship a chance to develop away from others’ prying eyes. But today, the police find a decaying body in Oliver’s apartment, and are unsure whether they’re looking at a tragic accident or a homicide….

56 Days is told in chapters alternating between the past and the present. Those in the past alternate between Ciara’s and Oliver’s perspectives, with some of the scenes shown multiple times from different perspectives but revealing new information each time. The scenes in the present follow the investigating officers, Leah and Karl, as they study the scene and try to determine what happened.

Everything about the story in 56 Days rings true. Ciara and Oliver’s early flirting courtship feels right, as does the bantering relationship between the two investigators. The book also does a great job capturing those early days of the pandemic that seem quaint now, from wiping down groceries to the rush for supplies and toilet paper. But where this novel really excels is in the plot itself, the slowly unfolding mystery, the perfect pacing, and the slowly, ever-building sense of dread. We slowly learn that characters may not be exactly as they seem, and while the pandemic created a great opportunity for intimacy, it also created a claustrophobic environment for someone who is uncertain about the person with whom they are literally trapped.

So perhaps you saw the references to COVID-19 and lockdowns in the Goodreads description and thought that maybe you didn’t want to read a book related to the pandemic. That would be a totally understandable reaction, but in this case, a totally wrong one. 56 Days is a really great book. Highly recommended.
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