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56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Thriller

56 Days

Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Catherine Ryan Howard

Quick take

Shack up with your quarantine bae, they said. It will be totally awesome and not terrible, they said...

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder

    Murder

Illustrated icon, Icon_Challenging_Indicator

FYI

This book contains mentions of suicide as well as scenes containing violence directed at minors.

Why I love it

Sarah Pekkanen
Author, You Are Not Alone

When COVID first struck, several authors I know grappled with the question of whether to acknowledge the pandemic in their upcoming novels. At the time, a lot of novelists decided against it: The global crisis was so rapidly-changing and immense that they feared it would overpower all other storylines. But into that conundrum stepped Catherine Ryan Howard, who took the opposite approach and with great success: Not only did she capture the bottled-up emotions and literal confines of quarantine, she also wove them into a pitch-perfect thriller that presents new revelations on page after page.

56 Days situates itself in the jittery, almost otherworldly setting of Dublin just as the virus begins to seep ashore in Ireland. We meet a young couple—Ciara and Oliver—who decide to enter lockdown together, even though they've been on only a couple of dates and each secretly feels a bit wary of the other. Cue the goosebumps, because within a few weeks, someone is dead.

It's a terrific, chilling premise, elevated by the plot's sophisticated architecture. Like a game of Jenga, the chapters pile up with subtle clues and layered twists—until one final piece is revealed, causing everything to come crashing down. This is a first-rate thriller not to be missed.

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Synopsis

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

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

35 DAYS AGO
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.

TODAY
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?

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of 56 Days.

Member thoughts

All (20136)
All (20136)
Love (8083)
Like (10681)
Dislike (1372)
20313 ratings
  • 40% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Clermont, FL

    I loved how this book jumped between “now” and “then” and also between both characters’ POVs. Interesting to read what some of us expected from this pandemic (short lived) vs reality! Kept me guessing

  • Sharon, PA

    I loved this book. It kept me on my toes - every time i thought I knew what was happening, something would happen that made me second guess. Kept me intrigued up through the end. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Cheyenne, WY

    So good! I loved all the lil twists that didn't feel out of place and the way everything ended up being flipped. It wasn't the happiest ending, which I also LOVED because nothing is perfect irl. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Londonderry , NH

    This is it, this is the book that makes me say “I love reading”. A surprise after another, I couldn’t stop reading and gasping at yet another revelation. Really well written! Thank you for this book!!

  • Sebring, FL

    I loved this book!! Great story!! Different that it was about COVID-19!! I didn’t mind reading about Covid-19!! Since it’s been a while since Covid-19 started!! Werid that that their wasn’t chapters!!

  • Pekin, IL

    I would finish one chapter and the author would move onto a different stage in the story or someone else’s perspective and I’d groan. Pure frustration. (In a good way)My husband just staring at me. ????

  • Plainville, KS

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 I didn't regret choosing this book for my July Book of the Month. First fiction book I've read that's set during the pandemic. The story is pretty good too! Well written and thrilling!

  • Wyandotte , MI

    Wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy a ‘covid’ book while it was still happening. But it’s written into the story so seamlessly and makes for a great setup. This was a great thriller that kept me guessing.

  • Frederick, MD

    I have no words. Really. It was clever. The whole time I’m thinking Ciara is the dead kids sister, which would explain the need to insert herself in the middle of Oliver’s life. But no. It was great.

  • Plymouth, MN

    I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone published a pandemic dating book. However I wasn’t expecting it to be such a terrifying concept! I enjoyed experiencing the pandemic from a non-US perspective

  • Dearborn, MI

    I wasn’t sure I even wanted to get this book because it’s based on the pandemic. So glad I got it because it was amazing. I loved the alternating story lines and the different points of view. So good.

  • Saint Louis , MO

    Perfect amount of twists &turns. Read it in one day! I didn’t think that I would want to read a book about a couple during Covid-19, but it doesn’t center on Covid as much as the characters and story.

  • Waukesha , WI

    Loved how “current” it was, especially that we’re still dealing with the Covid pandemic. About halfway to 3/4 of the way through, I had to finish it in one sitting because of all the twists & turns

  • Frankfort , KY

    I really liked unraveling the layers in “56 Days”, it’s a book that took me on a twisty rollercoaster and I absolutely enjoyed the ride. I also was impressed by the way COVID was part of the plot.

  • Mineola, NY

    Didn’t think I’d stand to read about COVID lockdown after having lived through it but here we are spiced with a murder mystery. Every time I thought I knew what was happenning I was wrong! Excellent!

  • Strongsville, OH

    Catherine Ryan Howard knows how to craft a well-written and believable thriller that I just fall into as an absorbing escape. The concept for this book could have gone so wrong in someone else’s hands

  • Waco, TX

    A twisty thriller set against the backdrop of a global pandemic is the book I didn’t know I needed. I was surprised by this book over and over again, while laughing at witty banter between characters.

  • St. Davids, PA

    You learn early that the protagonists are keeping secrets, but the eeriest parts were the descriptions of early days of lockdown. Just when you think you have it all figured out, there’s a huge twist!

  • Bayside, NY

    I didn’t realize how much that first disbelieving feel of lockdown would come rushing back while reading, but it added beautifully to the tension of the story. Wonderful layers and a too-real setting!

  • Venice, CA

    What a twisty delight! The author is so clever with the information she slips to the reader, you assume you know what the twist is and then you assume again and both times you’re wrong! So fun to read

Thriller
  • Too Good to Be True
  • The Push
  • The Collective
  • The Last Thing He Told Me
  • The Damage
  • 56 Days
  • We Were Never Here
  • Everything We Didn't Say
  • The Last Flight
  • The Night She Disappeared
  • Not a Happy Family
  • The Wife Upstairs
  • Rock Paper Scissors
  • The Maidens
  • A Flicker in the Dark
  • Razorblade Tears
  • Reckless Girls
  • Winter Counts
  • Silverview
  • The Woman in the Window
  • The Hunting Party
  • The Silent Patient
  • Goodnight Beautiful
  • The Hunting Wives
  • Pretty Little Wife
  • The Guest List
  • Invisible Girl
  • Girl A
  • Behind Her Eyes
  • The Girl in the Mirror
  • The Night Swim
  • Before She Knew Him
  • Then She Was Gone
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Family Upstairs
  • The Wife Between Us
  • Into the Water
  • Gone Girl
  • Dark Places
  • The Alienist
  • Since We Fell
  • The Blinds
  • Cross Her Heart
  • The Winter Sister
  • The Other Woman
  • Necessary People