All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

on August 12, 2022

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone
Benjamin Stevenson
Penguin Books AUS
2022, 384p
Personal purchased copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}: Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle meet Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club in this fiendishly clever blend of classic and modern murder mystery. 

I was dreading the Cunningham family reunion even before the first murder.

Before the storm stranded us at the mountain resort, snow and bodies piling up.

The thing is, us Cunninghams don’t really get along. We’ve only got one thing in common- we’ve all killed someone.

My brother.
My step-sister
My wife
My father
My mother
My sister-in-law
My uncle
My stepfather
My aunt

Oh my gosh, I loved this.

I get the feeling that this is probably a book people will either love or hate, with not too many falling into the middle ground. You will either really appreciate the way it’s written, or find it enormously irritating. I found it incredibly funny and clever – it’s quite meta. The book is written as the main character writing a book about a family reunion, from the perspective of it all being over and so he will quite often reference things that are to come, or remind you of things or drop in a note to his editor. It’s written in a way where it’s almost like you’re reading the book and the main-character-who-is-also-the-author is there with you, adding interjections and little asides to you personally. For me, it absolutely worked and when I picked this up, I only intended to read about 100p but I ended up reading the whole thing in a single sitting because every time I was like ‘oh I’ll finish up at the end of this chapter’ that chapter would end on a spectacular cliffhanger or reveal something interesting and I would find myself rolling straight onto the next chapter until I got to the very end.

The Cunningham family are notorious. The sort that you can google. They probably have their own Wikipedia page. And now, despite the somewhat varying levels of animosity, they are all getting together for a family reunion at a remote ski lodge. Ernest Cunningham isn’t particularly enthused about it – from the email with the spreadsheet he’s required to fill out, to the various relatives he’ll be required to interact with for the first time in a long time (or watch as they refuse to interact with him) to the fact that his former wife will be there….. There’s a lot going on. And when the first body is discovered, look there’s a lot of suspects. Because as Ernest will happily detail for you, pretty much everyone there has killed someone. It’s up to you to figure out if one of them has perhaps killed this particular person.

A book that tells you so bluntly in the beginning on what pages all the deaths occur/are explained honestly has no business building suspense so well but that is what this book does. It’s so clever and funny and Ernest’s conversational and (dare I say it) somewhat earnest tone as he relates which of his relatives is responsible for the death of a particular person is often at odds with the fact that you know, so many people are dead, especially when the body count starts increasing at the ski lodge. There is still so much that manages to be surprising as well, the twists and turns are incredibly well done.

I don’t want to say too much about what happens here, why some of the family aren’t speaking to each other and what the dynamics are because I honestly feel like it’s best if you go into this not knowing much. The brief blurb is enough to be intriguing and doesn’t spoil anything at all and that is definitely part of the reason I had the best experience reading this! I think this would be absolutely excellent to listen to on audiobook as well, where you could really get to experience that private conversation feel narrator-to-reader, speaking directly to you. It might also make a really fun TV show or movie. Actually I just googled it and already it’s in development as an HBO series so….there you go! I’ll definitely be looking out for that when it is released.

I just loved everything about this. Definitely one of my favourite books this year. I highly recommend trying it.


Book #138 of 2022

2 responses to “Review: Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

  1. I might make this my next read. I love meta.

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