This eBook was due to be published early in 2021 but Covid-19 got in the way. It was on target for release in late 2021, and it has appeared now to top of the range reviews from the huge American book review site, onlinebookclub.org.
It's a standalone book, the fourth in the series Germans against Hitler. Major Bill Cartwright, in charge of reconstructing the telephone and other comms systems in the devastated city of defeated Berlin, encounters Archie Wellings of the SOE and together they embark on a race against time to prevent a nuclear super-weapon from being launched against the eastern seaboard in America. Hitler had evidently been determined to create one last monster to attack the Allies after his own demise, and the question is, does he succeed in doing so?
Anxious to look to the future and leave the war behind them, no one apart from Churchill is prepared to believe that such a weapon is either feasible or that it and its accompanying systems have actually been constructed. To avoid a spoiler alert, I will only reveal that the weapon is set to attack from an unexpected location and is on automatic countdown after its two operatives die of suffocation in an extension of Hitler's bunker, taking to their deaths the passwords that could unlock and defuse the entire project.
It's another well-plotted, smoothly written yarn with many twists and turns, including Bill enlisting support for their investigations from a gang of Trümmerkinder (children of the ruins) who employ their underground 'caving' skills in the race against time to prevent the weapon from being deployed.
Bill's personal life is turned upside down when he meets Winnie, the 'distant cousin' of the title, whom he assists when she and her mother escape from the Russian zone. Can he find some way through the disastrous situation he finds himself placed in?
In the closing chapters personal fates and the potential destruction of wide swathes of the United States come together in an exciting and unexpected climax.
The novel takes us back in time to a period where the idea of traveling to space was regarded as absurd, military ammunition was not so advanced, and our current technological feats were nothing but myths. Rex W Last, as an expert in wartime adventure stories, made the story feel like an extension of history. Despite the severe and delicate nature of the subject matter, the writer lightens the mood from time to time with Major Bill's love escapades.
It would not come as a shock if I were to say I could not find any negative aspects to Distant Cousin. Aside from minor punctuation errors, the novel was professionally edited. It was definitely a smooth read. I rate the novel 4 out of 4 because the author wrote the book so well, it felt like a part of history. I recommend this novel to lovers of science fiction and all persons with a genuine interest in stories of adventure and war. (Extract from review from onlinebookclub.com)