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The Family Tree

Monthly Round Up – June 2021

Another month over and I’ve read a range of books during June. Net Galley has been utilised quite a bot and I have been pleased to be able to get some books by some of my favourite authors.

Books I Have Read

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

When Liz Catalano discovers that she has been adopted, she is more that shocked to discover that she is related biologically to a serial killer who has evaded capture for decades. Part genealogical fiction, part serial killer novel, I really enjoyed how this story unfolded.



The Weeping Lady Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

A novella that follows on from the Marquess House saga. After a storm uncovers some interesting finds, sisters Piper and Perdita Rivers investigate an age-old ghost story. A great bonus story in a series that I love.



Hunt by Leona Deakin

The third in the Dr Augusta Bloom series is my favourite to date. When she is tasked by the foreign secretary to investigate a shady feminist organisation, Augusta finds herself undercover in what she suspects is a cult. Just how much danger has she put herself in? Review to follow.


Killing for Company by Brian Masters

The book that the TV series Des was based on is a detailed description of the life and crimes of one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, Dennis Nilsen. The audiobook, read by the actor Jason Watkins, is enthralling and horrific in equal measures. A great read.


The Rule by David Jackson

David Jackson’s latest standalone is full of the dark humour and fantastic characters that I have grown to expect. Telling the story of how a law-abiding person can become embroiled in the world of crime, this unexpected plot is fast paced and incredibly readable.



The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood

Vanessa loves taking on the persona of someone else, looking around upmarket houses that she has no intention of buying. Until one of the householders is murdered and she is the prime suspect… This multi-faceted book was a joy to read and deals with some very serious subjects. Review to follow.


Books I Have Acquired

A dangerous American is in town, but is he really responsible for a deadly crime spree in Leeds?

Leeds, June 1913. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is a busy man. He’s overseeing a national suffragist pilgrimage due in Leeds that his wife Annabelle intends to join, and his daughter Mary has exciting plans of her own. Then a letter arrives from police in New York: Davey Mullen, an American gangster born in Leeds, is on his way back to the city, fleeing a bloody gang war.

Despite Tom’s best efforts to keep an eye on him, Davey’s arrival triggers a series of chilling events in the city. Is he responsible for the sudden surge in crime, violence and murder on Leeds’s streets? Facing a mounting workload, Tom must hunt down a cold-blooded killer while also confronting danger and tragedy close to home.




They’re in your house.

They want your life.

And now, they have your baby.

To the world, I’m @HappyWife. Online, people only see my picture-perfect home, my handsome husband, Nick, and my beautiful baby, Thomas.

They don’t see the real Gemma Adams. They don’t see my past, the dark secrets I’m hiding in my marriage. They don’t see the fear I live in every single day.

But I know someone is watching me. And now, they’ve taken Thomas.

I just don’t know why.

But I’m going to stop at nothing to get my baby back.

Even if it destroys everything I’ve got to find him.


My name is Alice. I’m a police officer.
I’m trying to solve a murder on a psychiatric ward.
But I’m also a patient…

They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But now one of their number is found murdered, and the accusations begin to fly.

Was it one of his fellow patients? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside?

DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she’s quickly on the trail of the killer.

The only problem is, Alice is a patient too.


It was an ‘open and shut’ case. Hawley Harvey Crippen, an American quack doctor, had murdered his wife, the music hall performer Belle Elmore, and buried parts of her body in the coal cellar of their North London home. But by the time the remains were discovered he had fled the country with his mistress disguised as his son. After a thrilling chase across the ocean he was caught, returned to England, tried and hanged, remembered forever after as the quintessential domestic murderer.

But if it was as straightforward as the prosecution alleged, why did he leave only some of the body in his house, when he had successfully disposed of the head, limbs and bones elsewhere? Why did he stick so doggedly to a plea of complete innocence, when he might have made a sympathetic case for manslaughter? Why did he make no effort to cover his tracks if he really had been planning a murder? These and other questions remained tantalising mysteries for almost a century, until new DNA tests conducted in America exploded everything we thought we knew for sure about the story.

This book, the first to make full use of this astonishing new evidence, considers its implications for our understanding of the case, and suggests where the real truth might lie.


A DEADLY PROSECUTOR

They call him the King of Death Row. Randal Korn has sent more men to their deaths than any district attorney in the history of the United States.

A TWISTED RITUALISTIC KILLING

When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is found murdered in Buckstown, Alabama, a corrupt sheriff arrests the last person to see her alive, Andy Dubois. It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that Andy is innocent.

A SMALL TOWN BOILING WITH RAGE

Everyone in Buckstown believes Andy is guilty. He has no hope of a fair trial. And the local defense attorney assigned to represent him has disappeared.

A FORMER CON-ARTIST

Hot shot New York lawyer Eddie Flynn travels south to fight fire with fire. He plans to destroy the prosecutors case, find the real killer and save Andy from the electric chair.

But the murders are just beginning.

Is Eddie Flynn next?

The world is at war. And time is running out…

London, 1940. Britain is gripped by the terror of the Blitz, forcing Nell Spelman to flee the capital with her young daughter – leaving behind her husband, Arthur, the clockmaker who keeps Big Ben chiming. 

When Arthur disappears, Nell is desperate to find him. But her search will lead her into far darker places than she ever imagined… 

New York, Present Day. When Ellie discovers a beautiful watch that had once belonged to a grandmother she never knew, she becomes determined to find out what happened to her. But as she pieces together the fragments of her grandmother’s life, she begins to wonder if the past is better left forgotten… 


Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, is back for her third spine-tingling adventure! For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

Justice and her friends are third years now and there’s an intriguing new girl in Barnowls. Letitia has never been to school before and doesn’t care for the rules – and the teachers don’t seem to mind! She decides that Justice is her particular friend, much to Stella and Dorothy’s distress. But Letitia just isn’t the kind of girl you say no to.

Then, after a midnight feast in the barn, and a terrifying ghost-sighting in the garden, a girl disappears. Soon ransom notes appear, and they’re torn from the pages of a crime novel.

Where is the schoolgirl and who has taken her? It will take all of Justice’s sleuthing to unravel this mystery!


Every family has their secrets…

Windsor, England, 2019

Amelia Prentice is recovering from the worst two years of her life. First her daughter and then her parents have died, leaving her without any surviving relatives. As she gets ready to put the family home, a vast Victorian house in Windsor, on the market, she fulfils her mother’s last request to clear out the attic, and she discovers a strange box of Victorian photographs.

The photographs are of a large estate in Pembrokeshire called Cliffside, and they feature the Attwater family. When Amelia uncovers the diaries of Osyth Attwater, she realises the family had tragedies of their own…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1883

Every summer the Attwater family gather at Cliffside to tell each other stories. The youngest in the house is Osyth, a dreamer and writer who waits eagerly every year for the wind chime in the garden to signal the arrival of her relatives. But her happiness is shattered when she overhears a conversation that tears her world apart.

Raised by her grandparents, she believed her mother, Eudora, had died. But it seems that may not be the case. Desperate to find out the truth, Osyth decides to unravel her family’s secrets. But what she discovers will shock her to her core…

What did Amelia’s mother want her to find out about the Attwater family? Who is Eudora, and what really happened to her?

And how is Amelia connected to it all…?



A good mix there – I can’t wait to find the time to read them all!

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

After taking a DNA test, Liz Catalano is shocked to discover that she is adopted. Feeling that her whole life has been a lie, she is determined to find her biological family in order to discover where she actually came from. What starts as a family search soon turns into something more sinister – her DNA is connected to a notorious serial killer who has been operating for decades. The Tri-State killer abducts pairs of young women, keeping them hostage before killing them and it would seem that time is running out for his latest victims. With Liz desperate to get to know her new family, is she walking straight into a trap that will see her becoming the next victim?

As a family historian who loves reading books about serial killers, the blurb for this book ticked all of the boxes for me. I have enjoyed reading genealogical fiction for many years but it is only recently that I have seen authors venture into the world of DNA, something that I feel opens up so many potential storylines. In The Family Tree, this is used with great effect as we see Liz dealing with not only the news of her adoption but that her biological family contains an active serial killer.

I really felt for Liz and although I felt her treatment of her adoptive family was, initially, very poor, I could understand her desire to seek out her roots. Even after she discovered the reality of her biological family, it was easy to see why she did not want to break this newly-found bond, even if it was with a serial killer.

The story moves on at a good pace, providing clues and red herrings about who the killer is. We do get to read about the unnamed killer in flashback chapters where we are introduced to his particularly sadistic crimes. This is one terrifying individual, the scenes made even more chilling with his captives’ realisation that others have gone before them.

The Family Tree is an easy to read book with a great plot that kept me more than entertained. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – May 2021

Slightly late this month – sorry! I’ve found it quite difficult to find the time to read this month as I’ve had little time to myself. I haven’t even managed to acquire many books either!

Books I Have Read


A Poison Tree by J E Mayhew

When a girl is found murdered, her shoes missing, DCI Blake discovers a link to a series of murders forty years previously. Is it a coincidence or is there a connection? With someone apparently on a murderous mission, will the Wirral detectives solve the case before they reach their goal. A great first book in the Will Blake series.



Henry VIII’s Secret Diary by Terry Deary

From the Horrible Histories series, a funny fictional account of Henry VIII’s life that children will love. Discussing all of the main events in his turbulent reign from his wives to the major religious issues, this has great illustrations to accompany the hilarious, yet accurate, text.


The Silent Suspect by Nell Pattison

The third in the Paige Northwood series sees that sign language interpreter trying to help a client who has been accused of murder. Did he do it or is he protecting someone? Paige, once again, puts herself in danger while trying to uncover the truth.


The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

A serial killer story told from the perspective of the wife of the perpetrator, but did she know all along what her husband had done? I really enjoyed this book and the different angle it took.



The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo

The sixth in the Harry Hole series sees the detective investigating the death of a Salvation Army officer. When it becomes clear that the wrong man has been killed, the race is on to find the killer before he strikes again. Review to follow.




Books I Have Acquired

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?





So there you have it! Not a lot going on in May. I’m reading The Family Tree at the moment and am really enjoying trying to figure out the conclusion!

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