Member Reviews

Would recommend for fans of…
🛤️ Finlay Donovan
🛤️ West Heart Kill
🛤️ Agatha Christie

Ernest Cunningham is back in another fourth-wall breaking mystery, this one an homage to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

I was pretty ambivalent about the first book in this series, as the constant fourth-wall breaking was a quirk in the writing that was hard to get around. But I found the mystery intriguing enough, so I figured I’d continue on with the series.

Having adjusted to the unique narration style, it was easier to jump right in and start following along with the mystery. The plot, which focused on a murder among mystery writers, had a lot of fun “wink wink nod nod” moments to tropes and classic elements of the genre, and there was plenty of humor mixed in, which added a dash of fun. Ernest’s constant acknowledgements to the reader and references to things that are about to happen do get a little tiring at times, but if you’re able to power through that, you’ll find a great mystery underneath.

While this is the second in the series, I think you could jump in right with this one, as it offers a pretty good recap of the first book. And good news, there are more stories coming, including a holiday novella later this year.

Everyone on This Train Is A Suspect is out now. Thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a great murder mystery! The story is engaging, and the narrative is hilarious. I love how the author not only encourages the reader to solve the murder along with him, but discusses clues and hints throughout the story. Even with all the clues, I wasn't able to figure it out before the end! Wonderfully entertaining!

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Following the much buzzed about Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, this is another meta mystery which is tonally more successful than Everyone and just as twistily plotted.

Following in the literary footsteps of Murder on the Orient Express, Ernest Cunningham and four other writers are on the Ghan, a luxury train going from Darwin to Adelaide, for the 30th Anniversary Australian Mystery Writers Festival. Following Ern’s formula for successful mystery fiction we are introduced and given some back story on the characters, before plunging into a murder, interrogations, a second murder, and the lengthy resolution expounded to the cast in the bar carriage.

As before, Ernest plays fair with the readers, not hiding anything or overtly misleading us, liberally sprinkling clues, indeed often pointing them out, and winkily using a traditional mystery structure. What’s different this time is that the murders themselves are much less gratuitously gory and the tone is somewhat less jokey which gives a more balanced tone. Additionally, Ernest completely shatters the fourth wall by playing a game to keep track of the suspects which I didn’t love.

As I hope you know, in Murder on the Orient Express, everyone did it, and while it would be too obvious for that to be the denouement here, all the characters have a motive, some of which are more obvious than others. There are revelations galore, a rather clunky coincidence, and much use is made of the Australian Outback scenery for diversion and metaphor.

As well as getting me to look up trips on the Ghan (cheapest 4 days/3 nights is $3705), I felt satisfied that the author had ironed out the issues I had with the first in the series, albeit had added a couple of new wrinkles. Having read the two in quick succession, I’m glad there will be a break before we have another entry in this series - there’s only so much archness I can take - as that seems to be where the author is going.

Thanks to Mariner and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

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Top Pick - 4.5 Stars

Ernest Cunningham survived a tragedy, then wrote a book about the events. He’s been paid an advance to write a second novel, but is struggling to write a fictional story. Ernest is happy to be invited to be part of an author’s panel on a luxury train ride through the desert of Australia. He’s hoping he can get ideas for his next book, but didn’t think the inspiration would come from another real life murder. However, when one of the authors on the panel is murdered, Ernest puts his writing skills and his detective skills to use again to catch a killer.

Everyone on this Train is a Suspect is the sequel to Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, but it works well as a standalone. I didn’t read the first book so it did take a little bit to get to know Ernest, the main character and narrator, and get used to the writing style of the book. However, once I did I could just sit back and enjoy this unique book. Ernest believes in authors playing fair to readers in mystery books, but often expects real life to work the same way. He is insecure, flawed, and doesn’t always make the right decision, but he is still likable. Ernest is a character to root for, both in the investigation, his writing career, and his personal life with his author girlfriend, Juliette, who is also on the train trip.

This book plays tribute to the golden age of detective stories and also cleverly talks about the publishing industry. It was also interesting the way Ernest talks to the other authors and uses their areas of expertise, such as forensics and psychology, to investigate the crime. The narration style is casual and chatty with Ernest speaking directly to readers, pointing out clues to help solve the case along with him. Even with all the clues and Ernest’s help, I wasn’t able to correctly identify the killer! I was surprised and entertained by the dramatic ending. I also loved the humor throughout the book. This is a mystery novel for mystery lovers and I highly recommend it.

~ Christine

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This follow-up to Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone was even more enjoyable than the first. This series is utterly original and entertaining. I love how the narrator breaks the fourth wall and takes the reader along on his journey to uncover the solution to the mystery. The tone is perfectly snarky, and the mystery is complicated and intricately plotted. I can't wait for more in this series. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Mariner Books for this advance copy of the sequel to a work I really enjoyed last year - Everyone on this Train is a Suspect is out today!

One thing that’s really great about this book is the writing style - it is very similar to the first book with our protagonist Ernest chiming in here and there with commentary on what’s going on, and I absolutely loved that. Of note, I read this one on my kindle and listened to the first one, and definitely enjoyed my print experience better, simply because with these “closed door mysteries”, you can run into a large cast of characters, and I like being able to flip back and refer to past characters. I cannot wait to continue this series - I would say you should read the first one to get an understand of Ernest as a lead, but technically this is a stand alone story with a new cast of characters, so you could read it independently.

Thank you again to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. This one is out today!

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Oh man this was so fun! This is the second book I've read from this author and, like the first, this book takes pulls punches and twists on the standard for a murder mystery. Taking place on a train chugging thru the vast open expanse of central Australia, it is a clever and fast read with some laugh stops along the line! Toot toot, thanks to the publisher for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A worthy follow-up to Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, and with a substantially less far-fetched conclusion. Can't imagine the protagonist getting even less lucky as time goes on, but I suppose we shall see. My one quibble is that the large cast of characters were somewhat difficult to distinguish around the edges.

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Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson was a great read! I have to admit that I liked it much better than the first book and I did like that one as well. I felt that in this story, the breaking of the fourth wall by Ernest was more seemless and felt more natural than the first time around. The action and pace of the story kept me turning pages. There were laugh out loud moments. And as usual, I did not solve the mystery before it was revealed and I personally like that in a mystery novel!!

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Everyone on This Train is a Suspect, written by Benjamin Stevenson, is the second novel that follows the same characters, after Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone. Definitely could win awards for mystery novels with the longest titles.

In each of these mysteries, the author writes as a first person narrator. Ernest Cunningham survived at the end of the last adventure and wrote the story of his experience. The book had great sales and now his publisher has given him an advance for another novel. As he and his girlfriend, Erin, board a train with other authors for a special Writer's Festival, he is worried that he cannot come through with another book.

But when a dead body is discovered on the train, it is clear the next book is all set. Again this time Ernest promises the reader that he is following the rules of of writing a murder mystery. As you reading the book the narrator continues to make sure you are getting all the facts he is getting and sharing the facts even down to how many times killer's name is mentioned in the book and when a character should be killed off.

Though he promises to be a reliable narrator, when you get to the end of the book the twist is still surprising. Probably all the facts that being offered are just another red herring.

Cleverly written and very entertaining style.

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Sequels can sometimes be scary especially if you’ve absolutely loved the first book, but Benjamin Stevenson, rose up to this challenge because I actually loved this book more than the original and I absolutely loved the original. I love Ernest’s character, even though some of his decisions are not the brightest. I especially love the wall breaks he does with the reader, his banter always cracks me up. I really hope a third book is on its way.

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The sequel to “Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone” was similarly structured and paced to its predecessor. It was filled with details, and tongue in cheek references to “how to write mystery novels,” and whatever the literary equivalent of “breaking the fourth wall” is. There’s gotta be a name for it, but it escapes me. Anyway, I liked this one better than the first book- the setting was excellent, I got a clearer picture of a bunch of the characters, and it was even funnier than the first. It’s definitely a book you need to focus on though- a lot happens very quickly, and my ADHD brain had a few misfires that led me to have to reread parts of it. If you like funny narrators and complicated mysteries, this one is for you. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-arc.

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This was a fantastic book and such a fun read! I really got into it and it lead me on a journey into the crazy world of murder! I thought it was well written and a book I would read again and again!

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I absolutely loved [book:Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone|60879779] and was so excited about this book and it did not disappoint.

I love the authors writing style, and he is a master storyteller. This is a locked room, er locked train mystery with authors on board for a conference of sorts.

The characters are fantastic and I absolutely loved how the mystery unfolds.

I honestly cannot wait for another book from this author.

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I loved the creativity of this book. I enjoyed the author's conversations with the reader as the book switched back and forth between giving commentary and telling the story. It was entertaining to me.

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This very much gave the vibes of Murder on the Orient Express and our protagonist Ernest Cunningham is back! When Ernest is invited to a writing festival, he boards the Ghan (a famous train in Australia that will take him across the country). When one of the authors on the train is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect.

I do enjoy Stevenson’s writing style which is so unique from other books as once again Ernest breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader directly to help us as readers become amateur sleuths. There is a large pool of suspects and I honestly did not see the twists and turns coming which always makes for a more enjoyable read.

The only call-out I would have is the pacing. The first 40% of the book was the set up and it just felt a little long. It wasn’t until after the first murder that the storyline started to pick up. If you enjoyed the first book in this series you will definitely like this one as well!

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Another absolutely delightful mystery from Benjamin Stevenson! Everyone on this Train is a Suspect is meta-narrative, self-referential and conversational—poking fun at all the tropes of a murder mystery while simultaneously showing why those stories are so fabulous and satisfying. It’s a love letter to the genre, while never taking itself too seriously. A fair amount of jabs are thrown at publishing companies as well.

This sequel is shorter than its predecessor, which I liked. The mystery came together a bit suddenly at the end, but it was a fun ride and I laughed aloud multiple times while reading. You can read this as a stand-alone, but there are a few references to the first book, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone, so I’d recommend starting with that one.

Funny, clever, wholesome (besides all that murdering!), and entertaining. Worth the read. Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

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The second installment in this wildly enterraining Aussie mystery series finds the main character (and meticulously reliable narrator) Ernest Cummingham enjoying (or not) some newfound success and recognition after publishing his novel about the events from the previous book. He and his partner (who shall remain nameless here to avoid spoilers for the first book) are about to embark on a luxury rail journey across the Australian desert on board The Ghan as guests of a mystery writers' festival. Their fellow passengers include authors (of varying degrees of fame), literary agents, publishers, fans, and railway staff, all of whom are vividly depicted and who have secrets of their own. Ern has never actually written fiction before - his previous book was based on surviving a true crime - so he is at a loss for ideas for his promised second novel. It would be lot easier than making up a story from thin air if there were to be a (ahem) real murder mystery for him to write about - not that he hasn't witnessed enough murder already thank you very much. And of course, this is exactly what happens.

Like last time, Ern plays fair as a narrator by presenting up front the rules with which he will hold himself accountable to readers, including travel markers of sorts, by which point the murder victim(s), suspect(s), and murderer(s) are introduced, and the exact number of times the killer's name appears in the story (in case anyone is keeping track - and Ern is). Also, like last time, the story is clever, witty, twisty, colorful, fast-paced, and compulsively readable. I love the distinctly Aussie flavor of these books, and I'm absolutely a fan of the series and the author. The plot has enough twists and turns, red herrings, secret layers and connections, that I was genuinely surprised without ever feeling unfairly "tricked" - quite a feat for an author, and a treat for the reader. Despite his reliability as a narrator, Ern is a flawed human who makes mistakes and is rightfully challenged when he does - and he learns from them and tries to do better. I will say that I found a particular character's motivation to be a little hard to believe (well, to believe they'd truly be willing to kill for it), but I'm prepared to suspend disbelief because the story was so much fun.

Many thanks to the author, the publisher, and to Netgalley for providing me with a free advance reader copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

P.S. I actually purchased the audiobook instead of reading my free ebook because I enjoyed Barton Welch's narration of the previous book so much, and he did an outstanding job once again.

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This book was a combination of things I enjoy in books and things I find irritating. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough of the things I like. The plot was clever. The idea of a murder aboard a cross country train carrying a mystery writers’ festival was definitely intriguing. And, there were some giggle worthy moments. However, for the most part, it just seemed like the author was trying way too hard to be cute. His constant talking to the reader, along with the lists we were subjected to, soon became annoying.

My copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review it.

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This was just a fun, light mystery. I would recommend this to someone who wanted something akin to a cozy mystery but with a first person perspective and a narrator with a unique perspective.

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