Book Review; Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone- Benjamin Stevenson

Page Count 384

Publication date August 2022

Publisher Michael Joseph

GoodReads link

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Synopsis

**********

-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 step-father, my aunt. Even me.

When they find the first body in the snow, it’s clear that only a Cunningham could have committed the crime – and it’s up to me to prove it

**********

Review

Stevenson absolutely nails the introductory chapter. I urge anyone considering this novel to check out the first five pages, that was all it took to hook me and damn what a hook!

EIMF is told via narration from the main character Ern as he tells the reader the story of writing a book about his family reunion. Ern writes ‘how-to’guides for writing crime thrillers which gives the novel an interesting style.
I did at times find myself skimming the sections where Ern compares his story to the normal writing tropes.
It put me in the mind of SGJ’s My Heart Is A Chainsaw where the main character compares her life events to common horror movie scenarios, to be honest I didn’t like that either.

Stevenson gives us beautifully descriptive settings and plot twists when Ern is ‘writing his book’ and a conversational tone when Ern is addressing the reader about his methods for writing the book or explaining the history of various family members.
I didnt care for the milestone summary early on, as if Ern is recapping an episode in a television episode I’d just that minute finished watching. I skip recaps on Netflix, I certainly don’t need to read them in books. Occasionally too many hints were dropped into these, steering the reader too hard and lessening the impact of upcoming reveals. ‘You won’t hear about us locking lips for another 89 pages.. if you’re wondering’.
Whilst I loved it’s use as a first chapter hook, I felt it should have been left at that.
Stevenson uses these as a clever misdirection later in the novel which did somewhat redeem them for me.

You can guess by the title that Ern’s family are dysfunctional, and wow they aren’t likeable folks either, this endeared me to Ern early on. Being the outcast for doing what was right and braving the scorn of a selfish family made me simultaneously sympathise with him, agree with him but also pity him like a stray dog.

Each chapter centres around a family member. The characters are somewhat stereotyped but they are believable, I challenge you to find a family that doesn’t have atleast the majority of personalities who fit the bill. Although hopefully without the murderous intent.

As Ern discovers more and more of his families secrets and history the characters develop into an entirely new image. I’d done a complete one-eighty by the end of the book.

Overall I feel Everyone In My Family would benefit from some heavy editing, (including the email from Ern’s editor simply stating that adding photographs to the book would be too costly) but was still a clever plot-twister, very much worth the read.

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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