Cover Image: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect

Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect

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Member Reviews

This story is a case of life imitating art, which Ernest helpfully points out to the reader multiple times. He comes up with this outline for a mystery novel, and then the event on the train ends up sort of mimicking that.
First the good:
Just like in Everyone in My Family, Stevenson continued to get meta about mystery genre conventions…a wink and a nod to the reader. This time, he added in layers about the difficulties of sequels (this REALLY got meta based on how I felt about this book) and the way the literary establishment views him for only having written 1 book where he didn’t have to actually make up the story.
The story itself is clever and the ending is brilliant.
BUT…
Despite the story being clever, I didn’t enjoy the reading experience as much as I did with Everyone in My Family. It felt less delightful and a little more tiresome. Ernest himself also felt less delightful and more tiresome.
While the ending is brilliant in a way, it’s also hugely complicated and hard to follow. And, it seemed like a stretch to me. Maybe not the ending itself, but the way that they got to it. He didn’t really explain how Ernest figured out all these pieces – or maybe I just didn’t buy into the fact that he could’ve figured all of this out.
Lacked some of the character development we had in Everyone in My Family. When the big reveals were made at the end, I just wasn’t invested enough in these characters to really care, or be really shocked, etc.
A lot of GR reviewers said the plot is clever and they did not correctly guess the murderer. I definitely didn’t correctly guess the murderer, but more in an “I don’t buy that” way than a “wow, you really surprised me in a way that made sense” way.
I’m going to say something that’s totally out of character for me: I think this book needed to be a little longer (336 pages)…mainly to make the reader care more about the clever and complex stuff that’s happening to these characters. And, to enable the reader to buy the ending more. OR - cut back on the level of plot complication to allow more space for character development. There was SO much in these 336 pages from a plot perspective.

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Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect is a very entertaining mystery story that really takes a good look at the genre as a whole. Ernest Cunningham has been invited to the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society festival set on a train through the Australian Outback aboard the Ghan. Ernest is supposed to be writing his first novel, a follow up to his debut (a non-fiction book about a murder he had been witness to), participating in author panels, and schmoozing with other industry professionals, when another murder is committed on board. The narrator's voice is very conversational and funny, and the book as a whole is a really fun look at the genre of mystery and the tropes of the genre. This book is certain to be a hit with any fan of the genre, particularly fans of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

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I hate to say it but this one is better than the first one. Takes a minute to get into but once you do it is amazing: Ernest is back again and this time it’s a train murder mystery.

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I really enjoyed Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone so I had very high hopes for this second Ernest book. I liked the story, I felt like the characters were well written. I wish we'd had more Juliette (she's great). Overall, I think it was very good, just not quite as good as the first one. Still, I absolutely adore Uncle Andy!

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I absolutely loved and adored the first book in this series, but this book was a miss for me. I think I was still okay with the format in terms of how it was written and the way the main character narrates the story? I just didn't care about this particular "case". It was kind of boring and with all the characters I didn't think enough was done to try and remind you of who people were - so I was getting them confused. In the previous book, there were a lot of characters, but it was organized in a way that you knew who was being talked about and could keep people straight.

I will be reading the third book (if there is one), but I won't be as excited to get to it. I'm hoping this book was just a fluke and I'll love the next one just as much as the first one.

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I loved the first book and only liked this one. The meta-narrative is fun sometimes, but the cleverness took me out of it. The mystery didn’t keep me engaged, but I enjoyed reading it.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy.

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I LOVED the first book in this series, so I was really excited to get my hands on an ARC of the sequel! Ernest is back, and still the trickiest reliable narrator around. Fresh off the success of the true crime/memoir book he wrote about the murders on the mountain, Ern attends a mystery writers’ festival which takes place on a luxury train headed across Australia. It’s not as much fun as he’d hoped – and becomes even less so when the star writer in attendance keels over dead in the middle of a speech. Turns out it’s murder, of course. And it won’t be the only one.

Ernest’s clever and engaging narration has the same witty observations and sly little hints at what’s to come as the first book, which makes this a really fun read. (The author drops an unobtrusive content warning in the beginning through one of his peeks forward, which I appreciated.) But it’s not all fun - Ern is, unsurprisingly, still dealing with the psychological and emotional aftermath of the first book. Unlike most mystery series, this book delves into how difficult it must be to have people dying around you and be helpless to stop it. (I get it. Cozy mysteries would be a lot less cozy if the cupcake-baking sleuths had to deal with pesky things like post-traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt. But I think the verisimilitude is one of the things that makes me like this better.)

This book wasn’t quite as good as the first but it was still a great read. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

CW: sexual assault, mention of sexual abuse of a minor

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The book was entertaining enough. Did I get lost sometimes in my own thoughts while reading the book or hoping that it was almost over. Sure did. DId I think the main character was a bit whiny at time? Yep. The style of writing was entertaining the way it was laid out, but I'm not sure if there were enough meat and potatoes.

Thank you #NetGalley for the advance copy

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I'm not sure that I *needed* this to become a series, but I enjoyed the first enough that I was definitely going to continue here. The same direct-to-reader is present, which I enjoy, and I liked that the whole story (mostly) took place on a train!

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Thanks for the ARC! Caveat that I did not read his first book but that this story still made sense and felt complete and not just the second in a series. The cover and title are what initially hooked me but I enjoyed this fun mystery that was very reminiscent of the Queen herself, Agatha!

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Thank you Mariner Books for allowing me to read and review Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect on NetGalley.

Published: 01/30/24

Stars: 2.5

Every book has an audience, some specifically target a group: I was not part of this equation. I only liked the author's attempt at a new style. Stevenson is explaining to me (the reader) how a mystery is written, pointing out why things are done, specifically states when the killer's name was first mentioned, the importance of the placement, etc. If when writing a mystery there was a checklist Stevenson covered it in a chatty sitting beside you way. The novelty wore off for me early on. The lists of names and how many times they were mentioned irritated me. Should I be paying attention or is this part of his tell how it's done style? There are going to be people who love the uniqueness. I enjoyed bits and pieces. Overall, it was too much and it may have worked for me if he chosen a different period. I had to read the story over many days.

He mentions high profile writers and characters. There were several times I thought give it a rest. Again, mentioning your favorites and the comparison may make you happy. I was just over it. I have seen several Miss Marple adaptations and the same with Sherlock Holmes; but I have never read either Christie or Doyle. Do they use foul language? Stevenson does.

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Benjamin Stevenson is truly a mastermind. This book is an absolutely incredible experience. It’s not just a book, it’s a masterful literary experience. This was even better than his first.

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I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, and this installment was even better. The concept is the same (Ernest is writing a book about the events he’s experienced) but the setting and cast of characters is new, and I also thought the pacing here was better. The story is cleverly plotted and the resolution to the mystery is satisfying. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite mystery series and I’ll definitely be keeping track of future installments.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Benjamin Stevenson has done it yet again.

Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect, the second book in the Ernest Cunningham series, was such a well-crafted, intriguing mystery that is filled with as much charm as the first.

I was skeptical that the same gimmick from the first book could work again, but it did beautifully, with a whole new cast of quirky characters. My favorite thing about the book is how the narrator is writing the book through the events, talking to us, the reader. This quality makes the books so approachable and pulls you into the story.

I don't know how he'll do it again, but I hope he does because I cannot wait to read more from Benjamin Stevenson and ( fingers crossed ) Ernest Cunningham.

Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my complete and honest review.

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Unfortunately this one was not for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters. I found the writing was all over the place and not to my liking. Life’s too short to read books I can’t get in to. It’s not for me, but may be for someone else

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🔪 Everyone on this Train is a Suspect
By Benjamin Stevenson


Well Ernest Cunningham is back and if you haven’t read Everyone in my Family has killed Someone you probably should read it before reading this one. It’s not a must but it will fill you in on the back story and will make more sense. So Ernest is invited on a famous train for a crime-writing festival but when one of the famous authors turns up dead it’s quite a different story.

🤔- I wanted to love this one but it was just an ok read. While I still enjoyed the writing style ( very different) which I appreciate it just got a bit boring. There were just too many characters and I actually found it hard to keep track who was who. It felt like i never got to know any of them. It was a slow start and just lost its appeal. I wanted to be more mysterious but overall it was an ok read.

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Thank you to #NetGalley, #MarinerBooks, and #BenjaminStevenson for the ARC of #EveryoneonThisTrainIsaSuspect. I am happy to leave a candid (though embarrassingly late) review.

Let me start by saying that I hadn't read the first book (Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone), but was easily able to follow along with this sequel, so don't feel obligated to read them in order. That said, I wasn't even 2 chapters in before deciding that I was ABSOLUTELY desperate to read the first book. The humor is sharp and clever and snarky and I LOVE it! There were several passages that did have me LOL for real. Our narrator, Ern Cunningham (a new writer), frequently talks directly to the reader about this book's structure and gives several clues (legit, but easily misleading) to solve the current mystery before the final denouement (de-noo-moh - another LOL).

The only [sorta] complaint I'll make is about the overwhelming cast-of-characters... there were a few instances where I lost track of who was who and how they were possibly related to other characters. Especially tricky when there were at least two alter egos floating around and a number of past crimes involving different people came together in a surprising manner. You need to pay attention as you go along.

If you like to be challenged in your murder mysteries, read this book - you will not be disappointed.

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This is s terrific mystery. Really enjoyed seeing the character again. And I loved the concept of the train ride. Got this book in book form

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This was everything I could’ve wanted from a sequel the the author’s first book and I truly can’t think of anything I didn’t like. We get a whole new cast of characters except for our main character Ernest obvi and two others from the first book. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and just like the first book, did not guess the killer! I really enjoy the narrative style of these books and how it breaks the fourth wall so to speak, with the main character talking directly to the reader at points throughout the book. I think this style is so unique and cool for a mystery novel and it makes for a fun experience. Definitely hope to see another book in this Ernest Cunningham world!

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I LOVED this one so much! I really enjoyed the first in this series, it was unique and funny and aussie and enjoyable. I was very excited to get to this one and it didn’t disappoint! I thought it was hilarious (I’m still laughing at the pale imitation/tan line lololol – I read it aloud to my boyfriend I thought it was so funny. He didn’t find it as funny) and interesting. Loved the setting (yes, I looked at how much the train journey cost), loved the characters, loved the story. The only thing I didn’t like is that I don’t automatically have the next one/another book from Benjamin Stevenson to read write meow. I did see that it’s going to be a show though, and I am very excited for that!

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