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#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Spotlight & First Chapter Review: Second Cousin Once Removed by Kenneth L. Toppell

My dear bookish friends!

TheWriteReads is back with another awesome blogtour today and I am lucky enough that I got a spot on it. Big thanks to Dave and the author Kenneth L. Toppell for my ecopy of Second Cousin Once Removed – a mystery thriller that I’m currently still enjoying! I currently have so many things going on at once that I didn’t get to the end of the book just yet, but I still wanted to give a shoutout to the book and its writer, and make you all aware that it exists! That’s why I decided to include a first chapter review here too, so you can get a feeling of what you’re in for! My full review is still to come soon! Now let’s see what the book is about, and then you can have a preview at my thoughts!

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.

First Chapter Review

In the first chapter of this mystery novel we meet Henry Atkinson, a semiretired lawyer who started to find an interest in genealogy and wanted to find out enough about even his distant family so that he could create a family tree. He’s especially interested in his second cousin Shelley – a notorious crimininal whom he knows next to nothing about.

This chapter is written from the first-person and Henry’s point of view, and I instantly felt connected to Henry and wanted to find out more about his family. What is it with that weird cousin of his – the one that gave the book its name? The author made me curious, and that’s what a first chapter should do.

We learn a bit about Henry’s job and everyday life; that he is divorced from his wife and their children live with her. So, the fact that he found a new pastime makes a lot of sense. There’s also a subtle humour to the storytelling that I enjoyed a lot. Henry seems to be quite sarcastic, one of my favourite kinds of humour.
And then, everything moves very fast. Henry reaches out to Ira, Shelley’s uncle, who urges him to stay away from Shelley. A few days later, Ira’s dead. Coincidence? Henry learns that no, indeed it wasn’t.

Even though these happenings came very fast and some of them seemed a bit too easyly fall in line with the plot, at the same times they hooked me and made me want to read more. Now that Henry seems to be caught in a web of dangerous people and happenings he best should have stayed out of, I couldn’t stop reading.

I needed to know what happens next, and that’s a very good sign. More to come in my full review, but so far I’m enjoying the writing style and the mystery going on here. Big thanks again to Dave for my spot on the blog tour, and until soon!

Thank you all so much for reading!


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