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#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Book Review: Second Cousin Once Removed by Kenneth L. Toppell

Hello my dear bookish friends!

A few days ago I posted my first-chapter review of Second Cousin Once Removed by Kenneth L. Toppell, in which you get a closer look at how the mystery thriller starts and what premise we find when starting the book – you can check it out here if you like. I wasn’t able to finish the whole book in time for my spot on the blog tour by TheWriteReads then (once again, thank you for my spot on the tour and for the ebook!), but now that I did, I want to tell you what I thought about the whole book.

Hint: I needed to know what would happen next!!!

The Synopsis

Henry Attkinson’s life as an attorney is slow, predictable, and lonely, given his divorce and his ex-wife’s custody of the kids. He recently took up geneology as a hobby to fill the time, but it doesn’t do much to spice up his mundane routine. Until the day he prods at a dead end of one of the branches of his family tree. Who is this cousin Shelley, whom he’s never met or even heard of in years? Ignoring a warning to leave well enough alone, Henry still doesn’t find much in his deeper delve into the mystery–just a concerning criminal record for the man that finally convinces him to drop the matter. But Shelley is a man who doesn’t want to be found or even looked for. And now he knows someone has been looking. Faster than he knows what’s hit him, Henry is propelled into sudden mayhem, receiving ominous threats, meeting mysterious strangers, and running for his life. Second Cousin Once Removed is a fast-paced, sweaty-palm thriller that will keep you hooked until the last page.

My Review

In the beginning of Second Cousins Once Removed we meet Henry Atkinson, a semi-retired lawyer who is working on his family tree. His second cousin Shelley is missing from the tree still, and Henry has an increasingly harder time finding information about him. When Henry’s uncle Ira then urges him to stop looking for Shelley Henry gets more and more suspicious. And then, a few days later, Ira’s dead. And Henry gets a warning – stay out of Shelley’s business. And just like that, we’re in the middle of an enthralling, unique, and captivating story that makes it impossible to put the book down.

Henry doesn’t stay alone for long. All of a sudden he is on the run with Carolyn, a woman neither he nor we know much about. But with Shelley, his violent cousin – who doesn’t even shy away from murder – so close on his heels, Henry has no choice but to run. The only problem is: wherever they go and whoever they meet, people are dying.

This book is as fast-paced as the escape run Henry is on. Sometimes it is a bit hard to follow exactly how much time has passed between events, but then again this adds to the tone of the book. It makes you feel with Henry, and soon you too are trying to escape Shelley’s murderous plans. The fast-paced plot is told from three points of view, all of which add to the story’s value and give you a deeper insight into what’s happening (even if at first you might think the POVs are unconnected…they are not).

I’m in my twenties and to be honest I’m used to mostly reading books with characters around that age or younger. This is not the case here. We are dealing with much older characters in around their fifties I think, but strangely, that didn’t take away from my reading joy! One of the things I loved most about this book is Henry’s humorous tone that is weaving itself like a red thread through the whole story, literally up to the very last line.

The plot twists kept me gripping the edge of my seat until the very end – I love it when I don’t see them coming! I may not be the biggest fan of murder mysteries, but this was a good one. I highly recommend it to all fans of fast-paced thrillers with a big chase, a humorous main character that stays sarcastic even in the worst of times, and lots of twists and turns.

4 stars from me.

Thank you all so much for reading and until next time!


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