cover image Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone

Benjamin Stevenson. Mariner, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-327902-5

Ernie Cunningham, the narrator of this exceptionally clever and amusing mystery from Stevenson (Either Side of Midnight), hooks the reader immediately with his opening words: “Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once.” Ernie, who acknowledges up front the recent trend in crime fiction for narrators such as himself to be unreliable, self-publishes how-to books for aspiring authors. As another character comments, “You write books about how to write books that you’ve never written, bought by people who will never write one.” It’s been three years since Ernie’s testimony sent his brother Michael to prison for murder after Michael asked Ernie to dispose of a corpse that turned out not to be quite dead yet. While attending a tense family reunion at an Australian ski resort, Ernie winds up in the middle of a real-life whodunit. The death of a stranger, apparently killed by a fire in the snow that didn’t melt any snow, resembles the work of a serial murderer known as the Black Tongue. Along the way, the author tosses in other deaths, past and present. Stevenson carries off this tour de force with all the aplomb of a master magician who conducts his tricks in plain view. This is perfect for Peter Lovesey fans. Agent: Pippa Masson, Curtis Brown Australia. (Jan.)