Review: The Family Tree by Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry


Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (June 21, 2021)

From 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?

A gripping, original thriller for fans of My Lovely Wife, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and anyone who’s ever wondered what their family tree might be hiding…


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book was a big let down considering how intriguing the premise is (and the fact that it was co-written by two authors). 

The characters are not likeable at all - with the exception of possibly Rosie and Travis (although does he never need his car), but given the fact that we don't see a whole lot of them it's hard to say for certain. We spent the most time with Andie and Liz, who for supposedly being 27 years old, certainly don't act like it. Instead they act like spoiled teenagers, although I have to say that Liz definitely wins the award for most self-absorbed character who is determined to die via sheer idiocy. I hated the way she treated her adoptive family, who only wanted the best for her. 

It doesn't matter how many times she is warned away from getting too close to her biological family at this point (knowing one of them is a potential serial killer), not only does she continue to visit with them, but she even snoops through their things in an effort to "prove or disprove" if they are in fact a serial killer, going so far as to travel ALONE to a remote cabin in the woods. 

And of course, even though we are given two perfectly good suspects, one is made to look more likely than the other. I'm also kind of confused as to what happened with Adam. Did Liz ever meet up with him? What was his deal? He was there for a minute, and then gone never to be heard about again. 

What is worse is that even though we are given these two perfectly logical suspects, it was so glaring obvious who the killer was that I'm surprised the FBI didn't clue into the possibility sooner given that all the clues were right there. I'm also rather surprised at how open they were with sharing details of an active case with someone they knew was related to the killer. How did they know they could trust her? 

The plot seemed like it was all over the place, partly due to the fact that the chapters jumped not only years, but also who was telling the story. We got to hear from Liz and Addie in the present, and then each of the different "victims" that had been taken over the years. Even their chapters, while less whiny didn't leave me on the edge of my seat the way I had hoped. And that epilogue? Yeah, was not a fan of the way they added that in, although it seems like they are leaving the possibility open for a sequel, it is not one that I will be reading anytime soon.

DISCLAIMER:  I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                                             The Family Tree is available from

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