Synopsis from HarperCollins:
The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…
Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…
The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.
Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?
About: The Family Tree is a mystery thriller written by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry. It was published on 10/5/2021 by Avon Books UK, an imprint of HarperCollins, paperback, 416 pages. The genres are mystery thriller, adult fiction, and crime. This book is the authors’ debut. According to the publisher’s website, “Harper 360 is our global publishing initiative, publishing books in English from HarperCollins UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and India offices and books in Spanish from HarperCollins Iberica and Mexico offices. We publish in all genres of adult, children’s and YA books, and in all formats—print, e-book, and digital audio.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Family Tree on 11/7/2021 and finished it on 11/15/2021. This book was an excellent read! Loved the prologue and the first chapter. I was hooked as soon as I saw the second chapter because I’m always curious to know how the killer chose its victims. Those cliffhangers between the chapters were killing me! I liked a glimpse into different victims and their feelings. It was great that the story continued forward at each set of victims instead of a repeat of how the killer abducted them each time. The ways the women were being abducted were simple but people often were too trusting and they fall prey to it. The chapters with the victims were an intense and a thrilling read. I loved the epilogue chapter. It sounded like there will be a sequel.
This book started with a prologue showcasing a news article announcing the tri-state killer’s kill. Two college women’s bodies were discovered in an alley by the garbage bin. It’s the killer’s 22nd and 23rd total victims because the killer likes to kill young women in pairs. The view of the killer appeared briefly letting readers know that he was angry when police called his first single kill sloppy. Then the story began, told in the first person point of view following Liz. Liz, 27, roomie with her cousin Andie who’s only one year older than her. Andie gifted Liz a DNA ancestry test as a birthday present. The results ultimately was not what she was expecting. The next chapter dug into the details of the first victim. Chapter 3 went back to Liz where police visited her and informed her that among her new biological family there may be a serial killer that they have been hunting for and chapter 4 dug into victims 2 & 3 and so on. While Liz was excited to get to know her biological family, she was nervous whether the family she found could have been the serial killer the police was looking for. Liz who loved to dig for information also did her own research for the serial killer. There’s an epilogue at the end of the book.
The Family Tree was well written. I liked the idea of DNA testing. The organization of this story was great. Liz’s view was good but I get bored with her sometimes because she repeats a lot. I understand the need for women to discuss the same thing over and over again with multiple people like in her case with her roommate, the journalist, her mom, the FBI, the bartender, and herself about what she’s dealing with. The suspense was good as well as the reveal of the killer. The reading pace for the most part was fast. I just felt it dragged a bit where Liz was concerned repeating to readers multiple times about how she loved to dig for information. To be honest, Liz’s way of digging for information was risky when multiple people warned her to stop putting herself near the prime suspect. Then she showed up at the crime scene instead of reporting to the police was irresponsible. Besides Liz, other supporting characters were likable. Other than that, it was a good thriller and I recommend everyone to read it.
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Authors:
Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry met as co-workers in New York City in 2012, discovering a shared passion for writing and true crime. After Steph relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2018, they continued to collaborate creatively. Separated by five states, they spend countless hours scheming via FaceTime and editing each other’s typos in real time on live Google Docs. Steph’s dream of becoming a writer started at age six, followed by winning scholastic writing awards and crafting articles for her university literary magazine. She currently works as Creative Director for a Media, Entertainment and Digital Marketing Solutions company. Nicole works in television as Senior Manager of Post Production in the photography department. She is the author of Past This Point (2019), an award-winning apocalyptic women’s fiction novel. Past This Point was chosen as Best Book of the Year by Indies Today and won first place in the Global Thriller division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards. The Family Tree is the writing duo’s first co-authored crime novel.
More Information about Harper Collins 360
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to HarperCollins 360 for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.