Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson
Everyone is going to be talking about EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE, because it's fiendishly clever, dryly funny (well as funny as a crime novel with a very high body count is going to get), complicated without being overly so, different, and well, relatable, in a weird sort of way.
Right from the very start our narrator, Ern Cunningham, has a lot on. Professionally he self publishes "How To Write" crime books, with his advice based on Ronald Knox's '10 Commandments of Detective Fiction' from 1929 (well worth googling although they are all (with one edit) included at the commencement of this novel). Remember them, you're going to see them again. You might also want to take note of the page numbers referenced early on in the book as well. I cannot imagine the nightmare that laying this book out became, and the thought of coding the ebook is making me want to lie down in a dark room - but I digress.
Which I think is something you'll find yourself catching from EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE. There's a lot of what feels like digression as you meander your way through a family reunion that reads exactly like some family reunions go. Emnity, clashes of personality, long-held grudges and remembrances, a control freak or two, a peacemaker or two, recently separating couples (did I mention Ern's got marital problems), oh and Ern's brother being released from jail, returning to the "bosom" of his family, after Ern testified against him in a murder trial.
Chuck in a classic locked room scenario by setting the whole thing in a snowed in luxury resort in the middle of a blizzard and the bodies, do indeed, start to pile up, and a lot of closets start to open out.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this book. The tone is pitch perfect, slightly light-hearted, slightly bemused, ever so slightly sarcastic and utterly matter of fact about, well a family that seems to be pretty darn good at killing people. To be fair, they do keep a bit of it in the family. The way the story unfolds, with the references forward, the casual introduction of new storylines (and deaths) and the gentle, almost kind way that the whole builds to a crescendo of fire and retribution was ... well seems a bit sick to say it here ... but hugely entertaining.
Every now and again something different should pop it's head up above the clouds when it comes to crime fiction and EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE is just that. It's so well crafted, brilliantly executed, entertaining, different and utterly engaging, and I hope somebody supplied the typesetters and ebook generators with enough antacid to get them through.
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.