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Book Review: View From The Edge by Michael Kasenow

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Michael Kasenow captures the results the brutality of parental abuse in his mystery thriller View From The Edge. Kasenow uses the vehicle of fiction to alert his reader to the lasting impact of childhood abuse and the resultant low self-esteem.

Professor Joshua Feenics, department head of anthropology and archaeology at Hadrian University, returns to work following a leave of absence after recovering from a psychotic breakdown.

He is greeted by a frustrated faculty, undisciplined students who are mixed up in cultic practices, and a school in the midst of financial crisis. At the end of the day he makes a two-hour commute home to endure the sting and emotions of the last uncertainties of a dying marriage.

The realism of Kasenow’s writing is influenced by his personal experience of abuse as a child from an enraged father and an alcoholic mother, who was driven over the edge of sanity, turning to drink as an escape from the horrors of spousal abuse.

His writing takes on another mark of authenticity through the lessons he learned while traveling around the country where he met a variety of colorful personalities, “mystical vagabonds, and drifters.” An avid reader, Kasenow’s writing reflects the style of Steinbeck, O’Neill, Fitzgerald, Maugham, and many others.

Colourful dialogue is used in establishing plot and for developing a diverse group of characters. These conversations are peppered with strong language and offbeat discussions, which add to the reality of the dysfunction of those viewing life from the edge. Meanwhile, Joshua faces the threat of death by an unknown killer.

The use of back stories made the timeline sometimes confusing. However, they are well written, informational, and added to the understanding of the protagonist, the antagonist, and other key players.

The graphic reality of View From The Edge will resonate with anyone who has experienced the emptiness of the death of emotions resulting from parental abuse, or spousal betrayal and will provide insight into the depth of horror experienced by the victims of such abuse and mental illness as a result of their personal pain and hopelessness.

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About Richard R. Blake

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