Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson begins by listing the 10 Commandments of Detective Fiction by Robert Knox, and really sets the tone of the book within the first 3 pages. The book wastes no time and after just one page, lists every page in which someone was killed.
Despite the first page being the rules of writing a crime book, the book really laughs at the traditional third-person writing, with a first-person format that communicates with the reader (literally).
The book’s first chapter depicts Ernest Cunningham’s explosive involvement with the (almost) start of the entire chain of killings. The story then jumps to 2 years later, when the Cunningham family have a reunion at a remote ski resort, and on the second day of being there, a man is killed from supposed natural causes. The Cunningham family aren’t so sure. From there, the humour and bloodshed spread, with about 3-4 genuinely surprising plot twists.
The book was hilarious to read but spared no tension when needed. The book connects every single detail in the final reveal and really makes you think that the entire book is a recount, not fiction. It really competes with movies such as Knives Out, with a similar hilarious tone, but 14x the murders, and really 14x the humour. It would make an amazing movie/tv series, and HBO seem to have their eye on it, as they have already bought the rights to the book.
Benjamin Stevenson’s writing style is exceptional, with its strong balance of humour and tension, plot twists, murder, romance, and everything you want to see in a crime book. The book is comparable to some of the greatest crime novels ever written, and definitely is one of the greatest books of this decade. This is not Stevenson’s first book. He’s written two novels in the past – Greenlight, and Either Side of Midnight. Greenlight was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut of Crime Fiction, and Either Side of Midnight was shortlisted for the International Thrillers Writers award for Best Original Paperback. He is also (unsurprisingly) a comedian, not just in his books, but also in real life.
Written by Kayden Goyal
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson is published on 29 March in Australia (Penguin, $32.99) and 18 August in the UK (Michael Joseph).