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Second Cousin Once Removed by Kenneth L. Toppell


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

Thank you to the publisher and tour organiser for my copy. This is a story about a retired (or semi retired) lawyer called Henry Atkinson who’s rather mundane, boring and indeed lonely existence is turned upside down when he starts researching his family tree and discovers somebody he never knew existed, his second cousin, Shelley. And this is where things start happening! His Uncle turns up dead – having warned Henry to stop investigating Shelley. And Henry fears he may be next!

Boy oh boy is this thing fast paced. Before you know what is happening Henry and Carolyn are in love and on the run from city to city hunting and being hunted. I feel like there are a few things which are bit confusing or not that well explained but the plot was interesting enough for me not to be too concerned with them. 

One thing worth mentioning too is this is a book that is targeted for the older generation. The characters are older and sometimes it feels like if they had just done a google search a lot of their problems would have been avoided. There is a nice dash of humour throughout, though you can definitely tell it was written by a guy, not saying that is a bad thing, just that it is quite obvious from the writing. At times it felt a bit too much like an old timey James Bond movie, only our Bond is not exactly Sean Connery.

But the positivities definitely outweigh the negatives and I still enjoyed this twisty fast paced thriller.

3.5 stars


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