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Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds

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Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. Somebody is murdering the Songbirds. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. W Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. Somebody is murdering the Songbirds. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. When the star of the school’s piano program is strangled with a piano wire, the only clue to the killer is a grainy picture of the victim during her final moments, mouth wide and screaming, posted on the girl’s own Facebook account, alongside a classic music video. What does it mean? Eve soon finds herself taking the girl’s place as the enclave’s star pupil, in line for a coveted scholarship and a new member of the famed jazz combo, the Songbirds. When Eve is drugged and another Songbird murdered at a campus party, she suddenly finds herself on the list of suspects. Another picture is posted online of the victim in her final moments, and this time, Eve is sure the hands around the girl’s throat… are hers! Could she have killed the girl while under the influence of whatever someone had slipped in her drink? The police and others at the Eyrie are suspicious; the murders began when she arrived. Her new boyfriend Richard insists that she could not be the killer. But who would want the Songbirds dead? One of the other Songbirds, like Gianna, the snarky sax player who seems to hate everyone? Or Philip, the creepy building caretaker and occasional night watchman? Or could it be Prof. Von Klein himself, who seems very handy with a camera and has a secret locked room behind his office where the light always seems to be on after dark? Whoever it is, Eve knows she needs to figure it out. Because when a dead canary is left as a bloody message on the keys of her piano, she knows her own life may be in deadly danger.


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Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. Somebody is murdering the Songbirds. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. W Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. Somebody is murdering the Songbirds. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. When the star of the school’s piano program is strangled with a piano wire, the only clue to the killer is a grainy picture of the victim during her final moments, mouth wide and screaming, posted on the girl’s own Facebook account, alongside a classic music video. What does it mean? Eve soon finds herself taking the girl’s place as the enclave’s star pupil, in line for a coveted scholarship and a new member of the famed jazz combo, the Songbirds. When Eve is drugged and another Songbird murdered at a campus party, she suddenly finds herself on the list of suspects. Another picture is posted online of the victim in her final moments, and this time, Eve is sure the hands around the girl’s throat… are hers! Could she have killed the girl while under the influence of whatever someone had slipped in her drink? The police and others at the Eyrie are suspicious; the murders began when she arrived. Her new boyfriend Richard insists that she could not be the killer. But who would want the Songbirds dead? One of the other Songbirds, like Gianna, the snarky sax player who seems to hate everyone? Or Philip, the creepy building caretaker and occasional night watchman? Or could it be Prof. Von Klein himself, who seems very handy with a camera and has a secret locked room behind his office where the light always seems to be on after dark? Whoever it is, Eve knows she needs to figure it out. Because when a dead canary is left as a bloody message on the keys of her piano, she knows her own life may be in deadly danger.

30 review for Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luvtoread

    Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world-famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. The night before Eve Springer, a pianist (American) arrived in Belgium to study music at one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world another extr Somebody is murdering the Songbirds… A modern Giallo, Everson's homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers. When Eve Springer arrives in Belgium to study with the world-famous Prof. Ernest Von Klein at The Eyrie, an exclusive music conservatory, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But that dream is soon to become a nightmare. The night before Eve Springer, a pianist (American) arrived in Belgium to study music at one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world another extremely gifted pianist was brutally murdered. Eve is an insecure and vulnerable young woman and is very nervous about being accepted by her peers. To Eve the majority of the female students look like fashion models and seem very aloof towards her. Belgium is predominantly English speaking so language barriers aren't really a problem although many of the students are from other countries as well who aren't as proficient in English language. Being accepted at the "Eyrie" has been a dream of Eve's for a long time and then the famous Professor Von Klein invites Eve to try out for the musical ensemble "The Songbirds" replacing the the pianist who was just murdered. Eve is thrilled when she won the audition until the first practice session someone left an unwanted gift on her piano keys and the next night she goes out with the group and someone drugs her drink. That same night while Eve was passed out another member of the songbirds was even more viciously killed and Eve, herself becomes a suspect in this murder. As the days pass there will be more murders and many more suspects but why? Who is targeting "The Songbirds" and what could their motives be especially in the way the murders continue to become more violent and gruesome in the manner they are carried out. The police and the Eyrie aren't doing a very good job at protecting the students and now Eve wishes she never came to Belgium since she now has become the target of a very determined and demented serial killer! This was a fun and very enjoyable horror/thriller by John Everson in bringing to life an over the top murder (slasher) mystery based on the Italian Gallo films "Susperia, Opera" (which I loved). I felt he did a great job with the characterization especially the locale with the long list of very creepy characters where I had a hard time deciding who the master of murder could possibly be. The parts I had a problem with were why the school.didn't shut down immediately or cancel classes and the lack of emotion and empathy the remaining characters seem to have although it didn't change the entertainment value of the story. It really was a fun, slasher book. I am a fan of John Everson and have read several of his other horror books which I really loved and I can't wait to find out what his next book will be and I hope that it won't be a long wait. I want to thank the publisher "Flame Tree Press" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone! I have given this entertaining horror story a rating of 4 GRUESOME AND MURDEROUS 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!! PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press AUTHOR: John Everson PUBLICATION DATE: March 22, 2922

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seneca

    Kudos to John Everson for crafting this amazingly well done homage to Giallo. Everything about this book evokes what I love about these films. You've got your obligatory black gloved killer, over the top deaths-in this case via musical instruments, red herrings galore, and that cover *chef's kiss*. I felt instantly transported to the technicolor nightmare of these beloved films and could hear the Italian prog rock soundtrack playing in my head during the kill scenes. Overall, this was insanely g Kudos to John Everson for crafting this amazingly well done homage to Giallo. Everything about this book evokes what I love about these films. You've got your obligatory black gloved killer, over the top deaths-in this case via musical instruments, red herrings galore, and that cover *chef's kiss*. I felt instantly transported to the technicolor nightmare of these beloved films and could hear the Italian prog rock soundtrack playing in my head during the kill scenes. Overall, this was insanely good and I highly recommend especially to fans of the genre.

  3. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    Oh, the melodrama! So I’ve seen a few people complain that this book is too melodramatic and over-the-top. Well, yes…it’s an homage to the giallo and it’s definitely the kind of thing that has you yelling at the main character and telling her not to be stupid as she makes bad decision after bad decision! And, to be honest, there’s one death that had me rolling my eyes and muttering curses under my breath. But the book is fun! It’s highly suspenseful, kept me guessing for quite a long time, and is s Oh, the melodrama! So I’ve seen a few people complain that this book is too melodramatic and over-the-top. Well, yes…it’s an homage to the giallo and it’s definitely the kind of thing that has you yelling at the main character and telling her not to be stupid as she makes bad decision after bad decision! And, to be honest, there’s one death that had me rolling my eyes and muttering curses under my breath. But the book is fun! It’s highly suspenseful, kept me guessing for quite a long time, and is simply entertaining – just like a giallo should be! Is it for everyone? Maybe not. But if you can suspend your logic sensors for a bit, you may enjoy this one! *ARC via Publisher

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott Neumann

    When this was first announced I was so excited. Giallo is my favorite sub-genre of horror. I can't get enough of the films of Bava, Fulci and Argento and the pinnacle of Giallo "Profondo Rosso". With Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, John Everson has created the ultimate love letter to the genre. As if you couldn't tell I loved this book, everything about it was perfect, the characters, the pacing, and the setting. Eve Springer newly arrived to the "Eyrie" one of the most prestigious music schools When this was first announced I was so excited. Giallo is my favorite sub-genre of horror. I can't get enough of the films of Bava, Fulci and Argento and the pinnacle of Giallo "Profondo Rosso". With Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, John Everson has created the ultimate love letter to the genre. As if you couldn't tell I loved this book, everything about it was perfect, the characters, the pacing, and the setting. Eve Springer newly arrived to the "Eyrie" one of the most prestigious music schools in Europe. Eve auditions to join the Songbirds a loose Jazz collective made up of some of the best students at the school, what she doesn't know is that she is auditioning to replace a pianist who had been kiiled recently and now finds herself caught up in a mystery that could prove her downfall. Filled with well drawn characters and suspense, John Everson throws enough red herrings into the mix to keep you guessing until the end. This reads like classic Giallo something that Argento would have done in the 70's If you're a fan of Giallo, I think you will love this as much as I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Keith Chawgo

    John Everson delivers another exceptional horror novel that sits comfortably between Bava’s Blood and Black Lace and Argento’s Profondo Russo with its nods towards the Giallo whilst giving the book a 1980’s horror stalk and slash vibe. Everson masterfully combines his genres to give a great book with some exciting kills that fit well within his phrase to the Italian written giallos of the 60’s through to the 70’s. The characters are well developed within the confines of the genre that they are i John Everson delivers another exceptional horror novel that sits comfortably between Bava’s Blood and Black Lace and Argento’s Profondo Russo with its nods towards the Giallo whilst giving the book a 1980’s horror stalk and slash vibe. Everson masterfully combines his genres to give a great book with some exciting kills that fit well within his phrase to the Italian written giallos of the 60’s through to the 70’s. The characters are well developed within the confines of the genre that they are in though Everson does do something different with his characters that are not normally found in Giallo, he gave his female characters strength, confidence in their sexuality and are more than murderous fodder for the killer. I salute Everson to give this an update as it has been pointed out again and again that normally the females are victims of the male gaze. The characters are all very self-aware and have strong three-dimensional personalities which helps the reader identify with them and feel a bit of loss when the victims start passing off the mortal coil. The plot and narrative are very intriguing and keeps the reader reading until the final pages. The twists and turns are natural within the confines of the story and keeps the reader guessing on who the killer is and why. Everon masterfully crafts this together with enough red herrings to keep you guessing and more importantly when the big reveal happens, it all makes sense because he peppered enough information to point in this direction and enough misdirection to keep the reader guessing. This is not an easy feat and Everon does this expertly. This is a book written by a fan of Giallo and a writer who has the gift of writing to pull this off. Everson has shown time and time again that he is a new name of horror, and he delivers time and time again. Excellent novel, excellent nod to a genre that needs to be remembered and love the kills as it brings me back to the novels I used to read as a teenager such as Richard Laymon. Loved the book and highly recommend this at all costs. Beware of the black gloves.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Horror Bookworm Reviews

    Horror Bookworm Reviews https://horrorbookwormreviews.com/ Leaving the United States and traveling to Belgium, Eve has begun her new life as a student at an exclusive satellite building of the Royal Conservatory. As her dedication towards a masters in composition gets underway, Eve auditions for a much needed pianist for a tight knit jazz combo called Songbirds. The decision to join the extracurricular ensemble quickly turns deadly as pupils begin to disappear under extreme suspicious circumstan Horror Bookworm Reviews https://horrorbookwormreviews.com/ Leaving the United States and traveling to Belgium, Eve has begun her new life as a student at an exclusive satellite building of the Royal Conservatory. As her dedication towards a masters in composition gets underway, Eve auditions for a much needed pianist for a tight knit jazz combo called Songbirds. The decision to join the extracurricular ensemble quickly turns deadly as pupils begin to disappear under extreme suspicious circumstances. Five Deaths For Seven Songbirds welcomes students from all over the world to a university of murder & mayhem. Conductor John Everson sets an intense tempo of musical fiction that only a seasoned author could create. From professors to students, Everson ensures no one is safe from a lurking psychopath that is in need of exploring the dark feelings of death. With weapon of choice in hand and donning a black mask & leather gloves, the antagonist will undoubtedly provide the reader with iced veins. The combination of a great narrative plot with Everson’s familiar brutality bind together like two wrists behind a back. Of course my attraction to this novel lies within microphones, tuning forks and musical instruments used other than for playing. These weapons of bodily destruction are cleverly woven into an inner sanctum of shadowed intensified moments. Plenty of eye bulging and bloated body moments await the reader. Fashioned after the classic movie Scream, Five Deaths For Seven Songbirds is an entertaining piece of who dunnit reading. Hold your breath, because you won’t know from which direction the horror will come from and which method the crimson will flow. Grab this Horror Book Recommendation today and enjoy the experience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Everson’s love letter to Giallos is a fun read. I really hope this is just the start of trend for this author. Reading this novel was like watching the all-time classic SUSPIRIA. In fact FIVE DEATHS FOR SEVEN SONGBIRDS borrows slightly from the film (music school instead of ballet school, an American student studying abroad...). The plot kept me on the edge of my seats. The female protagonist was likable enough, and the deaths that surrounded her were interesting if some a tad too explicit for m Everson’s love letter to Giallos is a fun read. I really hope this is just the start of trend for this author. Reading this novel was like watching the all-time classic SUSPIRIA. In fact FIVE DEATHS FOR SEVEN SONGBIRDS borrows slightly from the film (music school instead of ballet school, an American student studying abroad...). The plot kept me on the edge of my seats. The female protagonist was likable enough, and the deaths that surrounded her were interesting if some a tad too explicit for my taste. The only really negative point I can give this novel is that the revelation of the killer turned out to be a bit of a letdown since I spotted this person early on into the story. But all in all, I had a good time with this offering. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mommacat

    4.5 stars Review Copy John Everson takes a break from his horror norm to delve into the mystery/thriller genre. I haven't been reviewing books in months now, but for Everson...well, it's a must. And the book is a must read. Taking place in Belgium in a world famous music school, someone is killing the Songbirds. And gruesome deaths thry are. All the clues point to...but that would be telling, wouldn't it? Will the school close and all secrets be revealed? Everson does his thrillsome best in his new 4.5 stars Review Copy John Everson takes a break from his horror norm to delve into the mystery/thriller genre. I haven't been reviewing books in months now, but for Everson...well, it's a must. And the book is a must read. Taking place in Belgium in a world famous music school, someone is killing the Songbirds. And gruesome deaths thry are. All the clues point to...but that would be telling, wouldn't it? Will the school close and all secrets be revealed? Everson does his thrillsome best in his new genre. I hope he continues there, what a speedy, fun read this was!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather Miller

    Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds blends dark academia, old-school mystery, and modern thriller into a tale of murder set at an elite music school in Belgium. First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate that cover, a clear throwback to the classic Giallo mystery covers. (Also, does anyone thing the girl looks exactly like a young Claire Danes?) The story revolves around Eve, a newly arrived student at the Eyrie. Eve is a pianist who is both excited and nervous about her acceptance to the school, Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds blends dark academia, old-school mystery, and modern thriller into a tale of murder set at an elite music school in Belgium. First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate that cover, a clear throwback to the classic Giallo mystery covers. (Also, does anyone thing the girl looks exactly like a young Claire Danes?) The story revolves around Eve, a newly arrived student at the Eyrie. Eve is a pianist who is both excited and nervous about her acceptance to the school, where she will be able to study under the tutelage of the brilliant Professor Von Klein. Eve's excitement is dulled, however, when she arrives at the school and discovers that a student was murdered there the night before. What follows is a story full of music--namely a lot of great jazz--and murder. Eve joins the school's jazz ensemble, the Songbirds, which unfortunately puts her right in the center of a string of horribly imaginative deaths. She then finds herself both a potential victim and a suspect, as she does have a strange tendency to always be around when the bodies are discovered. Added to all this is the fact that Professor Von Klein is a lecherous old man who enjoys taking questionable photographs of his young students and entertaining them after-hours in his special private office. It's not a great first semester for Eve, that's for sure. Who is killing the Songbirds, and why? As the body count grows and Eve begins to grasp the danger she's in, she and a few friends--who may or may not be trustworthy--try to piece together the clues while also trying to keep themselves alive. Will they figure it out in time, or have the Songbirds played their final show? I must admit that I correctly guessed the killer's identity and motive fairly early in the book, but I wasn't completely sure until the end, and the author gives the reader plenty of other possible leads to keep everyone guessing right until the big reveal. This book was a fun read. Evenly paced throughout with the last fifty pages being a speed-run as Eve faces off against the murderer and fights for her life. I found the murders creative, the setting interesting, and the mystery thrilling. Another great, bloody story from John Everson.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael J.

    John Everson's homage to Italian giallo films is a pure delight. This brought back memories of watching some of those films on late night television in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Everson's descriptive skills are cinematic here, painting a vivid picture and creating the impression that I was watching a film. There are numerous suspects, and I enjoyed making notes and ranking them as the story moved along. I did not determine the most likely character behind the murders until near the end John Everson's homage to Italian giallo films is a pure delight. This brought back memories of watching some of those films on late night television in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Everson's descriptive skills are cinematic here, painting a vivid picture and creating the impression that I was watching a film. There are numerous suspects, and I enjoyed making notes and ranking them as the story moved along. I did not determine the most likely character behind the murders until near the end of the book, which flew by so fast that it did not spoil my enjoyment. If you are a fan of Dario Argento's (master of the thriller) giallo films (Deep Red, Suspiria, or The Bird With The Crystal Plumage) the settings, characters, and stylishly nasty murders will take you back there.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

    Thanks to the author for a chance to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion. First off, I really think that another cover would be so much better. This looks as some cheap read that can be bought at bus terminals or similar. It was too long, the plot was repetitive without adding very little to the story. The most of the action happened in the end. Some parts were really silly, like constant walk through dark corridors, empty building even though several murder already happened. I wo Thanks to the author for a chance to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion. First off, I really think that another cover would be so much better. This looks as some cheap read that can be bought at bus terminals or similar. It was too long, the plot was repetitive without adding very little to the story. The most of the action happened in the end. Some parts were really silly, like constant walk through dark corridors, empty building even though several murder already happened. I would have bolted the second night there and booked an Airbnb lol I did enjoy the tension at some parts and the story really creeped me out in bits. I totally like all the little facts I've learned about music and some of the instruments etc. I feel sorry now that I didn't think to not think to jot down the names of the songs the Songbirds performed or that were even only just mentioned in passing by as my knowledge of jazz isn't very good. To sum it up, this was a solid 3* read and I don't regret reading it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Krista Rausch

    Eve Springer arrives in Ghent to begin her education at a prestigious music academy just in time to wander into the middle of a good, old-fashioned slasher. Someone is knocking off Eve’s classmates in increasingly ham-fisted ways (a pianist strangled by piano wire, a saxophonist…well, you get the idea), and our heroine finds herself at the center of the rising body count. Will she survive the semester? Who will be unmasked as the killer? Who the hell is in charge of security at this school? This Eve Springer arrives in Ghent to begin her education at a prestigious music academy just in time to wander into the middle of a good, old-fashioned slasher. Someone is knocking off Eve’s classmates in increasingly ham-fisted ways (a pianist strangled by piano wire, a saxophonist…well, you get the idea), and our heroine finds herself at the center of the rising body count. Will she survive the semester? Who will be unmasked as the killer? Who the hell is in charge of security at this school? This is my first time reading John Everson, and my understanding is that Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds is a bit of a genre shift for him. I must also note that my review is from an advance copy almost certainly not in its final, edited form. With that said, and with all due respect, until I looked up Mr. Everson after I had finished reading Five Deaths, I had assumed it was a debut novel by a promising young author. Some of it was in the writing and stilted dialogue, but what most took me out of the experience were the characters, whose motivations I found either inconsistent or inscrutable. No one has anything beyond a superficial reaction to the fact that a serial killer is leaving corpses strewn about the school like ghoulish dioramas; Eve, for one, doesn’t let her suspicions that a professor may be the killer keep her from meeting him – by herself, after hours, in a dark building – upon the promise of sheet music. One of the more interesting characters takes a heel turn so preposterous it borders on offensive. And yet, Everson understands what makes the bones of an effective thriller and Five Deaths is a propulsive read. If you aren’t coming for a gut-wrenching meditation on the human condition, it’s an entertaining mystery built for passing the proverbial rainy day. Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds doesn’t live up to its potential, but I ain’t mad at it. Thanks to Net Galley and Flame Tree Press for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Don Gillette

    A rousingly good murder mystery that had me guessing all the way to the climactic ending, John Everson has nailed this one to the wall. As you might expect from the title, there are quite a few characters to keep up with in this novel, but Everson does a masterful job in introducing, describing, and giving just enough background for each that the reader has no problem in identifying who's who. Normally with a cast this large, either you forget which character is which OR the author tediously bogs A rousingly good murder mystery that had me guessing all the way to the climactic ending, John Everson has nailed this one to the wall. As you might expect from the title, there are quite a few characters to keep up with in this novel, but Everson does a masterful job in introducing, describing, and giving just enough background for each that the reader has no problem in identifying who's who. Normally with a cast this large, either you forget which character is which OR the author tediously bogs you down with unnecessary information that pads the story so much you lose interest. Not here. You get a perfect sense of character and a great storyline that delineates each one without beating you over the head. As for the story--great. I've read Everson before, so I was expecting something supernatural, but there wasn't a whisper of that in Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds. There didn't need to be. This was an old-school whodunit with wonderful atmosphere, believable (and intriguing) backstories, and simply an all-around good read. My idea of who the killer was changed probably six times while reading the novel. And who was it? Nobody I suspected. The reconciliation of the tale was phenomenal and that ending... that ending. Wow.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Excellent suspense thriller with plenty of twists to keep the pages turning. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paulina M.

    Enjoyment (stars): 3.5 Total rating (stars): 4 Eve arrives in Belgium to train at a prestigious music conservatory under a world-renowned professor. She arrives just in time to hear about the gruesome murder of a student pianist, found strangled with a piano string and a carefully placed polaroid of her perimortem face next to her body. Soon after, she is drugged at a party and blacks out. But when another body is found, she knows it's her hand shown in the picture around the second victim's neck. I Enjoyment (stars): 3.5 Total rating (stars): 4 Eve arrives in Belgium to train at a prestigious music conservatory under a world-renowned professor. She arrives just in time to hear about the gruesome murder of a student pianist, found strangled with a piano string and a carefully placed polaroid of her perimortem face next to her body. Soon after, she is drugged at a party and blacks out. But when another body is found, she knows it's her hand shown in the picture around the second victim's neck. Is she being set up to be framed or a victim? Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds got on my radar because it is sold as a Giallo-inspired book. Giallo is a horror movie subgenre that is a perfect mixture of murder-mystery, horror and thriller. Always with a mysterious killer and often with slasher and sexploitation elements. I mention this because the book delivered exactly what it promised. I wouldn't think it's fair to fault a book for not liking an aspect I knew beforehand would be part of the narrative - in this case, sexploitation. So be warned. Any non-Giallo-inspired book that objectified women to this extent and glamourized unbalanced sexual relationships so nonchalantly would be heavily criticized by me. I wasn't here for that part of the narrative but anticipated it. Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds was the perfect blend of uncomfortable, stirring, entertaining, shocking and clever. Great homage to 70's Giallo and Horror movies. Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for providing a copy of Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This is my second read by John Everson and I really enjoyed it! Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds gave me some great Suspiria vibes. Eve Springer is a pianist (from New York) that is accepted at The Eyrie; a prestigious music school in Belgium to study with the world-famous Professor Ernest Von Klein. (See the Suspiria vibes? Love it!) Little does Eve realize the nightmare she’s in for. Another pianist was brutally murdered before her arrival (with a piano wire). What really unnerves Eve is that sh This is my second read by John Everson and I really enjoyed it! Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds gave me some great Suspiria vibes. Eve Springer is a pianist (from New York) that is accepted at The Eyrie; a prestigious music school in Belgium to study with the world-famous Professor Ernest Von Klein. (See the Suspiria vibes? Love it!) Little does Eve realize the nightmare she’s in for. Another pianist was brutally murdered before her arrival (with a piano wire). What really unnerves Eve is that she seems to be taking her place; especially with her spot in the elite jazz group: the Songbirds. Then, the Songbirds begin being murdered one-by-one. Eve begins to question if this opportunity is really worth it, or if she should just go home. The faculty isn’t doing much to help and with fear and tension mounting, Eve must face a stark reality; she may not make it out of here alive. Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds kept me reading and wanting to know what was going to happen next. I did have the ending pretty much figured out (who the murderer was), but I did second guess it a few times. All in all, it’s a solid thriller with a good ending! Thank you so much to John Everson and NetGalley for my advanced copy!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Full disclosure, I got this as an ARC, and I am a John Everson fan. First and foremost, if you are not familiar with the Giallo films you may not get the full picture of what Mr. Everson is accomplishing here. If your only experience of Giallo films is Dario Argento's *Suspiria*, then you may be apt to yell "That guy is ripping off Suspiria". Going into reading this book, and thinking in the Giallo film mindset, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can feel the darkness... and the over-the-top deaths, t Full disclosure, I got this as an ARC, and I am a John Everson fan. First and foremost, if you are not familiar with the Giallo films you may not get the full picture of what Mr. Everson is accomplishing here. If your only experience of Giallo films is Dario Argento's *Suspiria*, then you may be apt to yell "That guy is ripping off Suspiria". Going into reading this book, and thinking in the Giallo film mindset, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can feel the darkness... and the over-the-top deaths, the only thing it was missing were the screams interrupted by the "pop" of the film jumping ahead a little. Come on, it's Giallo. Do yourself a favor, read this book. Read some of John Everson's other books, if you read on the Kindle they are priced to move and you will not be disappointed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Everson’s love letter to Giallos is a fun read. I really hope this is just the start of trend for this author. Reading this novel was like watching the all-time classic SUSPERIA. In fact FIVE DEATHS FOR SEVEN SONGBIRDS borrows slightly from the film (music school instead of ballet school, an American student studying abroad...). The plot kept me on the edge of my seats. The female protagonist was likable enough, and the deaths that surrounded her were interesting if a tad too explicit for my tas Everson’s love letter to Giallos is a fun read. I really hope this is just the start of trend for this author. Reading this novel was like watching the all-time classic SUSPERIA. In fact FIVE DEATHS FOR SEVEN SONGBIRDS borrows slightly from the film (music school instead of ballet school, an American student studying abroad...). The plot kept me on the edge of my seats. The female protagonist was likable enough, and the deaths that surrounded her were interesting if a tad too explicit for my taste. The only really negative point I can give this novel is that the revelation of the killer turned out to be a bit of a letdown since I spotted this person early on into the story. But all in all, I had a good time with this offering.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jay Kulpa

    The evocation of "Giallo" (films and novels) in cover and copy isn't exaggerating. There are some familiar tropes, but they're fresh and crackling here. An American in Europe caught up in a complicated mystery? Young women endangered by a black gloved, black masked killer? Everyone being weirdly blasé about serial murder? A generous splash of kink? Thrilling chases and murders that are occasionally and exceptionally nasty? Checks across the board - and I loved it. Everson has done a fantastic jo The evocation of "Giallo" (films and novels) in cover and copy isn't exaggerating. There are some familiar tropes, but they're fresh and crackling here. An American in Europe caught up in a complicated mystery? Young women endangered by a black gloved, black masked killer? Everyone being weirdly blasé about serial murder? A generous splash of kink? Thrilling chases and murders that are occasionally and exceptionally nasty? Checks across the board - and I loved it. Everson has done a fantastic job here creating horror/mystery/thriller mélange. For the genre fan, the environment evoked is practically a cozy mystery it's so familiar, and has Pat Metheny playing in the background - but it's kept fresh with frequent twists and propulsive chases and murders. You don't need to be familiar with the Giallo genre, but if you enjoy the novel, you're in for a read treat if you seek out the films. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy and this is the third novel I've read by Everson. It finds me picking up four more before I was finished.

  20. 4 out of 5

    J Messina

    Thank you NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an ARC of this book. The instant I saw the cover, the word "giallo" came to my mind. Having watched many gialli, the book definitely appealed to me. This book offer a more subtle type of horror, just like the movie genre that inspired it. For those familiar with the genre, it is a nice book which could translate nicely to the screen. Also, some of the names of the characters are a direct reference to said movie Thank you NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an ARC of this book. The instant I saw the cover, the word "giallo" came to my mind. Having watched many gialli, the book definitely appealed to me. This book offer a more subtle type of horror, just like the movie genre that inspired it. For those familiar with the genre, it is a nice book which could translate nicely to the screen. Also, some of the names of the characters are a direct reference to said movies, which was a nice touch from the author. The setting, a music school, reminded me a bit of Suspiria, with an American student as the main character. The page of the story was in line with the subgenre and allows the reader to analyze the various suspects. For horror readers looking for something different, this book is a fun ride.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lynsey

    ‘Five Deaths For Seven Songbirds’ is a dark thriller, with an atmospheric setting, a foreboding style of writing and hooked me right from the start! I thoroughly enjoyed all the jazz references and went on a Spotify journey whilst reading this novel. Like a good piece of musical composition it had its main theme throughout but came with up and down tempos and built to a high octane crescendo at it's fulfilment. It was thoroughly entertaining. I came into this book blind - as in the case I didn’t ‘Five Deaths For Seven Songbirds’ is a dark thriller, with an atmospheric setting, a foreboding style of writing and hooked me right from the start! I thoroughly enjoyed all the jazz references and went on a Spotify journey whilst reading this novel. Like a good piece of musical composition it had its main theme throughout but came with up and down tempos and built to a high octane crescendo at it's fulfilment. It was thoroughly entertaining. I came into this book blind - as in the case I didn’t know anything about the term ‘giallo’. A lot of the reviews of ‘Five Deaths’ mention this term and reference the film they believe this novel is based upon. So I did a lot of googling and found that the wiki page was actually very informative so I will drop the link here; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giallo What I discovered is that the idea of this regional genre felt more accessible when I realised that the original books were translations of authors from the golden age of crime like Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Edgar Allen Poe etc. As an avid vintage crime fan this began to excite me as a concept a lot more! Obviously, it has been developed by the Italians during that period and then moved into film but it meant I understood the combination of a detection type story along with the Hitchcock type visuals and slasher movie feel of the action. The only criticism is that I felt the characters could have shown a bit more empathy and awareness of their situation. There is no way I would have been able to go about my normal daily existence knowing that so many people were being murdered in such close proximity. Apart from that I enjoyed all the characters personalities, especially that of the protagonist Eve. I can see how she reflects the traditional giallo themes of a foreigner being placed into a unique environment and having to deal with the murders. Plus, the influence of the detection side of the golden age crime was also prevalent in her story as she tries to work out who the killer is herself! Now, I did manage to pick up on the clues on who the killer was but then I am a huge vintage crime reader - my occupation is even selling these books - so it's not a reflection of the narrative being weak! Because it is not! I found there were a lot of ideas and strands emerging as the story progressed, there were red herrings galore and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and to grip the reader! I flew through this in a day and loved it! I adore the cover of this novel but then I love the hark back to retro covers with the styling of it. Plus, the original ‘giallo’ covers were always yellow, the term ‘giallo’ actually means yellow in Italian! So whoever, designed this cover well done! It is superb. This was a great read and I learned something new as well! Always a bonus. I really recommend this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Rose

    This is the newest book just released on 2/22/22, a palindrome, which fits the flow of this story. The title refers to a student band that has 7 members, a piano, drums, and wind instruments. The main character is Evelyn Springer(Eve) a piano student from New York, who has been accepted to study at the Eyrie an exclusive music conservatory school in Beligum, which sponsors the great Professor Von Klein. Unbeknows to her, a girl, named Geneviere, also a piano student, had just died, the day she a This is the newest book just released on 2/22/22, a palindrome, which fits the flow of this story. The title refers to a student band that has 7 members, a piano, drums, and wind instruments. The main character is Evelyn Springer(Eve) a piano student from New York, who has been accepted to study at the Eyrie an exclusive music conservatory school in Beligum, which sponsors the great Professor Von Klein. Unbeknows to her, a girl, named Geneviere, also a piano student, had just died, the day she arrived on August, the 21st, who was a member of the student group called the Songbirds. She, Eve, was invited to tryout for the group, despite her not knowing that she was replacing the dead girl. She also makes friends with a girl named Anika, who invites her to come to a club setting one night, where she is given a drugged drink and has to spend most of the night unconscious. The girl, Anika, is found dead sometime that night. Soon more girls are found dead, which forces the school to announce a temporary closure so they can setup extra security measures for the students safety. It is on the last weekend, that Eve uncovers who was doing the killing and the why at great danger to herself. It ends on a happy note, with the newly formed Songbirds group, which now has a violinist included. This was more of a murder mystery tale, similar to an Agatha Christie tale, minus the ever present detective questioning all the characters to solve the mystery. The chapter that revels the killer is the key part of the story and explains why the killings occured.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Before I was allowed to read Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, I had never read anything by John Everson, and after reading Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, I feel that is going to change definitely. I had never really known what Giallo was/is until I read this story, and I must say I am a fan. Everson's writing is very fluid, and the story moves at a good pace. The deaths and mystery of Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds really kept me hooked on the story, and I had to know what would happen next! Before I was allowed to read Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, I had never read anything by John Everson, and after reading Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, I feel that is going to change definitely. I had never really known what Giallo was/is until I read this story, and I must say I am a fan. Everson's writing is very fluid, and the story moves at a good pace. The deaths and mystery of Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds really kept me hooked on the story, and I had to know what would happen next! The deaths were over-the-top in a tasteful (as a horror lover) way, and I immensely enjoyed our main protagonist Eve, who was well written and likable while there was chaos around her. There were many characters in Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, and although it seems tedious at times, at the beginning of the book, everyone mentioned does play a part in the overall story. The only negative remark I would like to say is that I feel like the story was dragged out a bit. I know I mentioned that the pacing was good, but the story in and of itself is a little too long. Not every little detail needed to be included, and I felt it could've been done without some sections of the book. Overall very enjoyable, and I would reread the author! Happy Reading! x

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    First read of a book by this author so was not sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by a thriller that was slightly different from the normal. I wasn’t overly keen on the cover but having consulted Dr. Google about Giallo, as mentioned in the blurb, it all makes total sense. To save you doing it “Giallo is Italian for yellow and the term derives from a series of 1960’s cheap paperback mystery and crime thriller novels with yellow covers that were popular in Italy.” Briefly, Eve Sprin First read of a book by this author so was not sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by a thriller that was slightly different from the normal. I wasn’t overly keen on the cover but having consulted Dr. Google about Giallo, as mentioned in the blurb, it all makes total sense. To save you doing it “Giallo is Italian for yellow and the term derives from a series of 1960’s cheap paperback mystery and crime thriller novels with yellow covers that were popular in Italy.” Briefly, Eve Springer is a talented pianist who arrives from New York to study at The Eyrie in Ghent under Professor Ernest Von Klein. In her first week she is drugged on a night out and when she comes to she finds that a fellow student has been gruesomely murdered. Following the killing Eve replaces the murdered student in a Jazz group called the Songbirds. When more members of the group are murdered ( warning some of the scenes are quite descriptive!) Eve feels threatened. As certain activities of the professor comes to light her suspicions fall on her fellow musicians. Well written thriller with a surprising conclusion and a book that kept me turning the pages. Ok so it’s a bit over the top but I think that’s intentional and it all kept the plot rolling along happily with enough red herrings to fool most people. Gruesome, thrilling, fun read! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I grew up reading "gialli" which how mysteries&thrillers are called in Italian as the first one were printed with a yellow cover, like the one of this book. This could have be one the book i read long ago as there's something of those thriller. It's complex and well written thriller set in In Belgium. The plot is well developed and kept me on the edge and guessing. The characters are well developed and the setting is interesting. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, a I grew up reading "gialli" which how mysteries&thrillers are called in Italian as the first one were printed with a yellow cover, like the one of this book. This could have be one the book i read long ago as there's something of those thriller. It's complex and well written thriller set in In Belgium. The plot is well developed and kept me on the edge and guessing. The characters are well developed and the setting is interesting. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Barondestructo

    This book is described as “a modern Giallo”, an “homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers”, but its direct inspiration is clearly Dario Argento's Suspiria, a movie about a young American student who enrolls in a prestigious dance academy in Berlin plagued by a series of dark events. Here, a young American student (Eve) enrolls in a prestigious music conservatory in Belgium plagued by a series of equally dark events. Whereas the original film (and its sequel) do a masterful job of conveyin This book is described as “a modern Giallo”, an “homage to the stylish Italian mystery thrillers”, but its direct inspiration is clearly Dario Argento's Suspiria, a movie about a young American student who enrolls in a prestigious dance academy in Berlin plagued by a series of dark events. Here, a young American student (Eve) enrolls in a prestigious music conservatory in Belgium plagued by a series of equally dark events. Whereas the original film (and its sequel) do a masterful job of conveying a sense of dread through its surreal setting and quirky characters, forcing our all-American heroine to negotiate a foreign, at times eerie landscape, this novel proves atmospherically challenged. There’s nothing particularly unsettling about the new world protagonist Eve encounters. The setting and her fellow students are so unremarkable that the story could have taken place anywhere in North America. This casual tone is also reflected in the attitude of the characters who, in the face of a mounting body count, go on about their lives as if the bloody events are nothing more than curious developments rather than anything to be alarmed about. On her first day at the conservatory, Eve is informed that a student was murdered there the night before. But there’s no heavy police presence. The school is not shut down. No one is struggling with the emotional baggage of having to come to terms with the death of someone they knew. Instead, everyone is fairly nonchalant, discussing the murder as if it were the equivalent of a juicy piece of high school gossip. At first, I thought this was a hint that something was very wrong with these students, a red flag signaling some macabre conspiracy, but when Eve didn’t clock this as strange in any way, I began to have my doubts - which were cemented when, in a later scene, Eve and her new friends go to a cafe where they are welcomed by the barista. It’s been a while since he’s seen them. He greets them warmly, is introduced to their new member Eve…but there is no mention of the girl who died the night before. Surely, he would have known her too. And surely he must have heard about her death. Yet she isn’t even mentioned. Apparently, it just wasn’t a big deal. These characters don’t act like real people. Throughout the book, these young women think nothing of walking through the dark environs of the conservatory, alone in the dead of night, despite the recent murders. And they pay the ultimate price, getting killed in grisly, over-the-top, often silly fashion complete with arch commentary on the part of the killer. Things reach a crescendo of nonsense late in the novel when a trio of characters, trapped in the building with a killer on the loose, elect to split up and search for a missing friend rather than get the hell out and contact the police. This book would have worked better as a parody. In its present form, it reads like a half-heated tribute to a much more accomplished original.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jay Kulpa

    The evocation of "Giallo" (films and novels) in cover and copy isn't exaggerating. There are some familiar tropes, but they're fresh and crackling here. An American in Europe caught up in a complicated mystery? Young women endangered by a black gloved, black masked killer? Everyone being weirdly blasé about serial murder? A generous splash of kink? Thrilling chases and murders that are occasionally and exceptionally nasty? Checks across the board - and I loved it. Everson has done a fantastic jo The evocation of "Giallo" (films and novels) in cover and copy isn't exaggerating. There are some familiar tropes, but they're fresh and crackling here. An American in Europe caught up in a complicated mystery? Young women endangered by a black gloved, black masked killer? Everyone being weirdly blasé about serial murder? A generous splash of kink? Thrilling chases and murders that are occasionally and exceptionally nasty? Checks across the board - and I loved it. Everson has done a fantastic job here creating horror/mystery/thriller mélange. For the genre fan, the environment evoked is practically a cozy mystery it's so familiar, and has Pat Metheny playing in the background - but it's kept fresh with frequent twists and propulsive chases and murders. You don't need to be familiar with the Giallo genre, but if you enjoy the novel, you're in for a read treat if you seek out the films. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy and this is the third novel I've read by Everson. It finds me picking up four more before I was finished.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Greg Lestewka

    John Everson goes mystery thriller For a full review, please go to https://areviewerdarkly.blogspot.com/... and follow me on Twitter @josenher John Everson goes mystery thriller For a full review, please go to https://areviewerdarkly.blogspot.com/... and follow me on Twitter @josenher

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron McQuiston

    There is something about Giallo movies. Every horror fan, whether they like them or not, has seen at least one or two Giallo movies. I am not the biggest fan of them myself, but I know the tropes, I know the things that make a Giallo film a Giallo film, and John Everson has written a pitch perfect tribute to the genre. With the black gloved killer, the wild kills, the red herrings, and a title and cover that tells me it is a Giallo without even reading the first page, I cannot think of a better There is something about Giallo movies. Every horror fan, whether they like them or not, has seen at least one or two Giallo movies. I am not the biggest fan of them myself, but I know the tropes, I know the things that make a Giallo film a Giallo film, and John Everson has written a pitch perfect tribute to the genre. With the black gloved killer, the wild kills, the red herrings, and a title and cover that tells me it is a Giallo without even reading the first page, I cannot think of a better of a modern take on this subgenre than Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds. The novel starts with Eve arriving at a prestigious music school in Belgium. As soon as she arrives, people start to die. The people who are murdered are killed with musical instruments. Every single kill is bizarre and disturbing. While Eve is trying to navigate this new school, she becomes part of the Songbirds, a jazz group that plays in a coffee shop in town. The killer seems to be specifically killing members of the group, and this puts them all in danger. Between rehearsals, meeting new friends, and trying to figure out who is killing all of her friends, Eve feels like she can be the next victim at any given time. This tension caused by Eve’s fear is strong and believable. Even though she is in the heroine role, she could very easily be a victim instead. John Everson is a great writer and a great plotter. He is able to lead us through this dark maze of a story without losing us while making us fear what might be around the next corner. With the novel trying to feel like a Giallo story, the pacing is spot on, the mystery is strong and unpredictable, and all of the tropes are there. The only thing that might be missing is that some of the Giallo films I see have moments and scenes that do not make much sense to the film. Everson does not do any of this. He has written a Giallo novel that does not stray away from the story, and for this, Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds, is not only a good Giallo novel but one of the first things I will point to if someone asks me for recommendations about this genre. I received this as an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Derwin

    Ghent, Giallo and Gals who Play Jazz Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds Author: John Everson Publisher: Flame Tree Press Page count: 330pp Release date: 22nd March 2022 Eve Springer, recently arrived in Belgium from New York, has a highly-desired student place at the Royal Conservatory, with the illustrious Professor Von Klein. She literally ends up in the rafters on the fifth floor of the tall building with a roommate Kristina and quickly finds out that the previous night, one of the piano students - sam Ghent, Giallo and Gals who Play Jazz Five Deaths for Seven Songbirds Author: John Everson Publisher: Flame Tree Press Page count: 330pp Release date: 22nd March 2022 Eve Springer, recently arrived in Belgium from New York, has a highly-desired student place at the Royal Conservatory, with the illustrious Professor Von Klein. She literally ends up in the rafters on the fifth floor of the tall building with a roommate Kristina and quickly finds out that the previous night, one of the piano students - same instrument as her - was murdered with piano wire in the North Tower. Part giallo, part modern Hitchcockian noir, this novel immediately feels tone-wise, a little like Suspiria or Phenomenon, with hints of Tenebrae. You can almost feel the lurid colours and scratchiness of the screen within its pages. It's also a love song to quality music, an ode to Blondie, Nine Inch Nails, bars like Ronnie Scott's and symphony orchestras. And of course, The Cure. There's a murderer hunting down the Songbirds, a group which Eve is now a member of, and there are plenty of suspects, possible motives, secrets and sins. Predominantly written from Eve's POV, we get the occasional sense of her as unreliable narrator; how much can we trust her view of what's happening and her guesses about who the killer might be? At the same time, we are Eve; the intrusive foreigner, a would-be Jessica Fletcher sticking her nose everywhere yet somehow blindly ignoring some obvious clues. About 80% in, it clicked. The whodunnit was clear, yet I was literally screaming at Eve to figure it out and not to go down into the metaphorical basement. Eve's narrative is interspersed by other people at the musical school. During a chapter from Anita's POV, the killer is portrayed as an almost dehumanised figure, like Mike Myers in Halloween, like a supernatural force or entity. The tension runs high amidst the searing beauty of the music and the Belgian setting , whilst beneath the polite veneer of society, we get glimpses of darkness. This is a wonderful thriller, with great characters, flawed and human like us all. An absolutely addictive read and a spectacular ride.

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