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How to Kill Your Family review: Big Villanelle vibes

I'm going to be honest, I'm a huge fan of Greg James on Radio 1 and this was how I came across his wife Bella Mackie - and I'm so glad I did.


Bella writes for Vogue too and the more I see of her, the more I aspire to be be like her. Enough of the fan-girling, let's get into the review.


How to Kill Your Family (HTKYF) is her debut novel and WOW. It follows the crimes of Grace Bernard, a woman who we meet in prison for a murder she says she didn't commit, the difference is she talks us through murders she did commit and got away with.


When Grace finds out her absent father rejected her dying mother and never offered any support despite being a millionaire, she wants revenge and goes after all those around him.


Now this premise could sound repetitive and boring, but it's really not. Written in first person as if Grace is writing a memoir, you begin to really like her despite the terrible things she's done. It's one of the those characters you want to get away with everything because she's just so witty and clever, plus the people she's targeting aren't great so...it's allowed?


She screams Villanelle from Killing Eve to me, so if you like that character you'll love this. Whilst I feel Killing Eve has gone downhill since series one in terms of the actual story, I continue to love the character of Villanelle and Grace really has that likeable quality. Would I feel comfortable in a room with her? Probably not. Am I entertained by her from a safe distance? Absolutely.


I do stress there is a story too, not just a prisoner sharing her murderous tales. It goes back and forth between her cell and the crimes themselves. Sometimes I'm not a fan of back and forth because it can become muddled and confusing, especially if the author doesn't label the chapters with dates or something, but this just worked. It was effortlessly clever.


The murders can be really dark, and she goes into plenty of detail about them so it's not one for the faint-hearted, but I wouldn't call it a tough read at all. I was filling my lunch breaks with it!


There's a twist at the end too which wraps everything up perfectly, but I'll say no more on that.


This was so easy to read, hilarious, dark, and ridiculously entertaining. If you normally go for thrillers but want something a bit different, then read this!


Check out my other book reviews:


Bridgerton book vs series


So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter

Thursday Murder Club