56 Days @cathryanhoward @blackstone @JanBelisle @absltmom

Book Cover

Jan’s review

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.  

Marialyce’s review

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 ad 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.

and here’s the author:

Catherine Ryan Howard

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.

12 thoughts on “56 Days @cathryanhoward @blackstone @JanBelisle @absltmom

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