How to Kill Your Family
by Bella Mackie
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Pub Date 22 Jul 2021 | Archive Date Not set
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, The Borough Press
I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit.
When I think about what I actually did, I feel somewhat sad that nobody will ever know about the complex operation that I undertook. Getting away with it is highly preferable, of course, but perhaps when I’m long gone, someone will open an old safe and find this confession. The public would reel. After all, almost nobody else in the world can possibly understand how someone, by the tender age of 28, can have calmly killed six members of her family. And then happily got on with the rest of her life, never to regret a thing.
A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.
Outrageously funny, compulsive and subversive, perfect for fans of Killing Eve and My Sister, the Serial Killer.
Cosmopolitan’s best books of 2021
Grazia’s best books of 2021
‘Funny and furious and strangely uplifting. Grace is a bitter and beguiling anti-hero with a keen eye for social analysis – even in her most grisly deeds, you never stop rooting for her’ PANDORA SYKES
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 203 members
I absolutely loved this book - so original, refreshing, different to anything else out there at the moment. I have seen comparisons to Killing Eve TV show, and I can see why - a strong kick-ass anti-heroine who we can't help but love and root for despite their murderous tendencies! But there is more to that than this. There is a real connection to the reader / the audience through the narration which was warm, sarcastic, funny and very authentic.
The book centres on Grace, writing her story from prison where she has been sentenced to life for a murder that she strangely didn't commit - the murders she has committed (all 6 of them, all family) are not known about! This is her confessional.
Dazzlingly dark and funny - I think this is going to be a real winner. Loved! I did not want this to end (but oh, the ending is good!)
I really like Bella Mackie. Her first book, Jog On, played a huge part in me taking up running. I very much enjoy her on Instagram (is that a weird thing to say?) and her ABJ mantra is something I appreciate ✨ I’m so pleased that Bella’s first foray into fiction is as brilliant as I’d hoped it would be.
Grace is a stone cold mardy bitch, with wry observations pouring out of her, and I liked her a lot. Her story is full of dark humoured twists and turns, perfect for our generation of true crime junkies. Surely a TV adaptation is in the works? Here’s hoping!
If you enjoyed 'The Silent Patient', you will love How to Kill Your Family.
Bella Mackie writes a dark and twisted murder mystery, but in reverse. We know how the killer is right out of the gate, Grace Bernard.
Grace is on a revenge mission, taking out every one of her estranged upper class family to settle a score and inherit the family wealth.
But there is another catch, Grace is currently in prison, but not for the reason you might think.
How to Kill your family is a great read filled with dark humour, twists and turns.
Some of the best books leave you feeling utterly bereft when you read the last page, and that’s exactly how I felt about this one. Spending a week with Grace Bernard felt exciting and thrilling, and I was really upset when it came to an abrupt end.
The story follows Grace’s plan to kill her family, for crimes committed against both her mother and herself. I didn’t find the reasoning for the vendetta totally compelling, but as the book progressed, I felt it actually didn’t matter. It was really fun following her process - doing the research, plotting the death and then carrying it out. It’s not always straightforward (it would be a dull story if it was) but it’s quite the wild ride.
I also really loved the little insights into Grace’s societal views. They’re often added to the ends of paragraphs, and they’re caustic, witty, judgemental and completely deadpan.
The ending broke my heart a little, but I didn’t feel like it affected my enjoyment of the book at all. In fact, I found myself racing to the end to digest all the information.
I’ll be recommending this book to everyone who’ll listen for a long time to come. I’ll also be thinking about Grace too. What a character!
Absolutely wonderful. Black satire, a murder mystery and topical too, just what I didn’t realise I needed. I loved it and adored our antihero and all her snippy asides. I read Jog On and loved it, but approached this warily, it is after all a big change from non fiction about running and mental health. But it actually makes so much sense, the running and the mental health issues are still there, but just as part of the landscape. There is a clever plot, deliciously awful characters and sharp words about influencers and men who like comedy socks. I do hope Bella Mackie plans to write another book soon.
I absolutely loved this book! It was dark and intriguing, yet hilarious at the same time, I loved the characters and the plot! Fantastically written! Would definitely recommend!
Grace Bernard's multi millionaire Father cruelly abandoned her mother when she finds out she's pregnant; years later after an unhappy childhood Grace decides there's only one course of action, to kill her family.
This dark novel was thoroughly entertaining and I couldn't help but cheer for Grace as she tries to accomplish her 'hit list'. I read it in one sitting and loved every second.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
There's no two ways about it, Grace, the protagonist of this story isn't a nice person. And yet, I still found myself really liking her as a character. She is brutally honest, incredibly vengeful and darkly comical and we as the reader get front row seats to her innermost thoughts and feelings told through her life story written while serving time in prison for a crime she, ironically, didn't actually commit. I thought the premise was fantastic and I really enjoyed reading as Grace executed her cunning plans as well as her musings on all manner of subjects including wealth, class and even influencers. The narrative is generally really sharp and clever although at times Grace's story is interrupted by the present day so at times I could understand why people found this to be a bit of a ramble. I didn't actually mind this as it felt more realistic for me personally. After all, whose thoughts are ever organised?
I'm still deciding how I feel about the ending of How to Kill Your Family. On one hand, I always enjoy a twist but on the other, I'm not sure how satisfied I feel with it, especially on behalf of Grace. But then perhaps, that is entirely the point. Either way, I"ll be crossing my finger for a sequel, if at all possible.
Wow! What an amazingly good book this is. So deftly written with great style and wit and I just loved it. The main character really draws the reader into her life and her emotions so you are totally invested in the story. I read it far too quickly but was trying to savour it at the same time as I did not want the story to end.
Grace Bernard, our 'damaged heroine' is taking revenge on the father and super-rich family who never acknowledged her. You try to see things from her perspective, but she's so negative and bitter it can make for depressing reading. However, stick with it and it grows much more entertaining.
At first I thought 'She's no Villanelle' (Luke Jennings); but when I stopped trying to compare that much more fascinating and 'charming' personality to Grace, I started to enjoy the book. You 'like' Villanelle somehow, but I didn't ever like Grace much. She's entirely different, and I liked it for that.
There are some sharp, uncharitable bits of humour which can make you laugh out loud, After the half way mark I have to say I could not put this down and I'm nursing some huge eyebags today from a late night with it! Had to review straight away - always a sign of a good book for me. ~Keep with it - it gets good! Great ending too
I love this book - cleverly written and you became sympathetic to the murderer and were willing her on in her endeavours. I loved the twists introduced as the book reached its conclusion and did not see it coming!
Looking forward to her next one.
An almost perfect triumph! A fantastic and witty novel which combines crime with humour plus a drop of revenge. The writing is impeccable and the characters intriguing, the only question would be the ending: brilliant or disappointing? A definite must read which will be without a doubt one of the most talked about book this year!
Grace is in prison for a murder she didn't commit: the six she did are still well hidden. In this funny, fresh novel, Grace writes the story of how she killed each member of her family alongside telling the mundane realities of prison life.
Grace isn't your typical protagonist - whilst definitely being unlikeable, snarky and judgemental, (as well as a murderer) she is equal amounts funny, dry and intelligent, making her the perfect anti-hero. Without really meaning to, you find yourself rooting for her and revelling in the ingenious murder methods she uses. I really enjoyed her dry narrative and found this book very engaging because of her brilliantly three dimensional characterisation.
Overall, this book is wonderfully witty and twisty, with an ending you won't see coming. I loved it from start to finish; I'd even love a sequel, tying up the ending with more closure!
I have had my eyes on this exceptionally brilliant book for a while now and was lucky enough to have an advance copy to sink my teeth into! It completely surpassed my expectations! It is wildly funny in a dankly dry way, defecating on society's materialistic capitalism and our millennial ways (I say this as PEAK millennial, give me that pink, those avocados and a shitty salary to fund my relentless addiction to *brunch*!). There are so many sentences and quips that I highlighted throughout the book and I hope you do too!
Grace is a complex character with a penchant for assassinating her family but despite her murderous ways I couldn't help but root for her from the beginning! She is scathing and views the world with a contempt I can't but help admire with the same adoration the Beyhive give their queen (I am a member of said hive, the love runs deep!). On her quest to kill we meet an array of characters and begin to understand why she chose such a dark path. Would I be her friend? Absolutely not. Would I go for a drink with her? Probably, so long as I bought ALL of my drinks and they never left my sight. Would I read a follow up about her? Absofuckinglutely!
How to Kill Your Family will undoubtedly be an option for Brunch Book Club and I hope for you too! FIVE STARS!
What. A. Book. Huge thank you to @boroughpress and @netgalley for my copy! How to Kill Your Family is hilarious, dark, gripping - it is at some points completely batshit and it’s one of the best things I’ve read this year.
The novel follows Grace Bernard on a quest to get revenge against her father and her family - Grace is, frankly, so immediately unlikable and snobbish that I almost didn’t keep going past the first chapter. I’m glad I did though, because while Grace is, yes, unlikable, she’s also hilarious and smart and surprisingly talented at committing serious crimes. I talked in my review of The Penelopiad about why I think needing to immediately like the characters I’m reading about limits the reading I do, and How To Kill Your Family is another amazing example of how good it can be to push past that. Almost every character is infuriating, but that didn’t stop me from speeding through it and loving it.
I would say there are also two key twists in the novel - the first I prided myself on seeing beforehand, the second I audibly gasped at to the level where my boyfriend had to check I was alright. This is not a novel that gives away its plot easily, and that suspense and intrigue is deftly and beautifully executed the whole way through.
I can’t wait for this to come out in July - I’ll be picking up a copy, and then buying more to press into the hands of everyone I know.
I absolutely loved this! I have devoured it. The narrator's voice, even if her actions are so morally questionable, makes the reading go by quickly and even empathising with her. Such a dark but witty humour!
How to Kill Your Family is one of those brilliant books that sucks you in and even when you're not reading it, you're thinking about it.
I loved the writing style and the characters were really interesting. And the ending...!
I'd definitely recommend this - a fab read.
What a book! Wickedly funny, smart and astute. I couldn't stop rooting for Grace, even though logically she's evil.
I absolutely loved How to Kill Your Family and demolished it in one sitting. It is reminiscent of My Sister the Serial Killer, Killing Eve and Promising Young Women, but it felt entirely original and fresh. Grace, the anti-heroine, is both a terrible person and strangely likeable. She is intelligent, witty, funny and vulnerable and glances askew at the world. Bella Mackie has created something special and I am eagerly awaiting a sequel.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the ARC.