Author: Benjamin Stevenson
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
I received an email from the publisher about reviewing ‘Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone’ and the premise sounded intriguing, I didn’t read much about it and I had not heard of the author but thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad that I did. I was surprised, entertained, amused and at times left wishing I hadn’t decided to read while I ate.
Ernest Cunningham is our narrator, one of the lead characters in the story and a writer; so it makes sense that it is he writing the story. He writes books about how to write books, and uses this to help him tell the story the way he wants to tell it. Many crime novels have unreliable narrators but Ernest (preferably referred to as Ern or Ernie) prides himself on being a reliable narrator and telling the truth (as he knew it) at all times.
Ern is part of a reasonably large family that has been estranged, but an aunt organises a family reunion to bring them all together again and hopefully heal some rifts.
The Cunningham clan takes dysfunctional to a whole new level and every character has some pretty serious issues, and we get to learn all about them in Ern’s own voice. His writing style is very conversational, feels like you’re sitting with him somewhere as he tells you his story. The story of an extremely eventful family reunion with all of it’s backstory and enough baggage to fill a coach.
We get to meet all the major players and Ern sets out his story in relevant parts, with each character getting their own section. We know that Ern is sitting down to put his story to paper after the reunion, but we don’t know how long. He is quite careful to make sure that he writes it in order, and doesn’t share information that he didn’t have at the time.
‘Everyone In My Family’ is quite a complex story with a few well placed twists and a long list of suspects. It will definitely keep you guessing, and I would be surprised if you don’t laugh out loud at least once.
Family relationships feature heavily in this tale of crime and murder because the Cunningham’s are a tight knit family even though they have some pretty hefty obstacles to overcome before they can be the close unit they once were.
Set in a secluded snow resort in New South Wales it’s definitely one you want to read curled up somewhere cosy, because Stevenson’s vivid storytelling will have the storm leaving you chilled to the bone.
I find crime fiction the hardest genre to review because spoilers can definitely ruin the whole experience of reading the book so I just don’t know what else to tell you – except read it. It’s original, it’s quirky and it’s super entertaining.
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is Stevenson’s third novel and I will definitely be checking out his earlier work in my local library.
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin RandomHouse and is available now where all good books are sold.