Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson #review

Book cover of Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Title: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect
Benjamin Stevenson
Series: Ernest Cunningham #2
Publisher: Penguin


When the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society invited me to their crime-writing festival aboard the Ghan, the famous train between Darwin and Adelaide, I was hoping for some inspiration for my second book. Fiction, this time: I needed a break from real people killing each other. Obviously, that didn’t pan out.

The program is a who’s who of crime writing royalty:

the debut writer (me!)

the forensic science writer

the blockbuster writer

the legal thriller writer

the literary writer

the psychological suspense writer

But when one of us is murdered, the remaining authors quickly turn into five detectives. Together, we should know how to solve a crime.

Of course, we should also know how to commit one.

How can you find a killer when all the suspects know how to get away with murder?

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My review:

After the crazy brilliance of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, I was excited to return to Ernest’s world but I did wonder how he could follow that novel. It turns out: easily! Book number 2 is just as fast-paced, fun and ridiculous as the first, and I enjoyed every minute!

In this novel, Ernest has been invited to speak at a crime writing festival aboard a train travelling between Darwin and Adelaide, in Australia. Before too long, someone is murdered and the mystery ramps up as Ernest realises many people on that train may have some creative ways to get away with murder.

As with the first, I liked how self-aware the book is – with Ernest breaking the fourth wall, speaking to the reader directly and making various references to what is to come later in the book. He gives out clues – such as the murderer’s name being mentioned a specific number of times – and speaks about his struggles writing book number 2, considering his first ‘success’ was the first book in this series which, as he often laments, can’t be replicated!

There’s plenty of humour and the pace is fast and entertaining. I actually preferred the setting of this story versus the first as I loved a locked-room-style mystery, particularly in a location like on-board a train, and I really enjoyed the publishing aspects of the story. I always find reading about publishing, and the bookish world in general, incredibly engaging.

I didn’t work out the murderer before Ernest but I really enjoyed the ride getting there! Great fun and a fresh take on a popular genre.

My rating: 5/5

Many thanks to the publisher, Penguin, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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