How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie


“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.”

When Grace Bernard discovers her absentee millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s pleas for help, she vows revenge, and sets about to kill every member of his family. Readers have a front-row seat as Grace picks off the family one by one – and the result is as and gruesome as it is entertaining in this wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder. But then Grace is imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit.

Outrageously funny, compulsive and subversive, perfect for fans of Killing Eve and My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Trigger Warnings:

Violence, Murder, Blood, Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.

‘Limehouse prison is, as you might imagine, horrible.’

Bella Mackie, How To Kill Your Family

Have you ever started a book and just known it will be a five stars? A kind of, bookish love at first sight type thing? Because that is how I felt about this book. From that opening line, I already knew – no matter what Grace does (and I can assume from the offset it isn’t going to be good) I am going to back her, 100%. Her colloquial voice, her pragmatic outlook, and her wardrobe descriptors (which weren’t always needed, but I am a sucker for that kind of description) had me falling head over heels in love with her. How To Kill Your Family looks at Grace’s journey from fatherless teenager to professional hitwoman with a specialism in one very specific family – her own.

So, at the start of the novel, Grace is in prison for a murder she didn’t commit. And whilst most inmates claim they are innocent, Grace really is and she’s really annoyed because she has killed six people and gotten away with it. The world still doesn’t know what she did and, with a final appeal looking promising, freedom is on the horizon. As I said, I felt compelled to champion Grace from the start. The narrative voice isn’t ‘friendly’ as such, but it is very reminiscent of the Carrie Bradshaws and Dexter Morgan. (Obviously, more of the latter than the former). I loved that the descriptions of each murder was totally realistic, that she’s killing off her family one by one in her free time. A side hustle of murder. Starting with the grandparents who turned her mother away, the cousin who escaped the family to be a better man, the uncle with a penchant for sex clubs, the vacuous sister, and a couple more which close the circle around Grace’s real prize – the man who got her mother pregnant and then abandoned her. Simon Artemis; millionaire entrepreneur and resident f**kboi. (My words, not hers). Artemis is the absolute worst, and it gave me a heady thrill to see how each death impacted him, much in the same way it gets to Grace. But obviously, she’s in prison, so the murdering of her family is only half the story. You find out about the upper-middle class family that took Grace in after her mother’s death, her best friend who wants to marry a brat, her coworkers, her life (what little there is of it) and it builds such a colourful modern tapestry – like I said, I loved it.

As far as atmosphere goes, whilst this is a thriller – it isn’t the spooky, gorey, scary kind. It’s more like (and go with me on this analogy) someone you know is about to start a fight with someone at work. It’s not your place to get involved (and you couldn’t even if you wanted to) but you’re watching the drama unfold in the most delicious way. You’re going to rush home and tell your partner all about it, you’re all giddy and excited. It’s that kind of thriller – if that makes any sense at all. But if you need comps that will help understand this heady mix of high octane and contemporary banality I’d say it’s comparable to The Murder of Graham Catton and My Sister the Serial Killer.

I’m going to leave this here, because honestly I can’t be trusted not to give spoilers. But just know – it was a five stars. You should read it. Right now. And a link to get your copy is here!

Similar Posts