View From the Edge


Fiction - Mystery - General
364 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2012
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephanie Dagg for Readers' Favorite

"View from the Edge" by Michael Kasenow is the sort of novel that smacks you in the face. It is an immensely powerful book, yet the hero is a gentle, damaged academic, who adores his son, and just wants one adult in his life to love and respect. The recollections of the childhood abuse Josh received from his father, while his mother did nothing to protect him, are painful in the extreme and still haunt him, day and night. And now his wife, Ashley, is treating him appallingly too, although somehow managing to be a good mother to their adored son. But she is on a downward spiral. In parallel with Josh’s recovery from his accident which runs alongside the gradual breakdown of his “train wreck strewn with fears” of a marriage, is the attempt by Josh’s university department to obtain the Mount Sinai Artifacts which brings a lot of media attention their way. His students are indulging in some weird behavior. Oh yes, and someone wants to kill him.

The book is populated by rounded, complicated, flawed characters. The hero/anti-hero Josh patiently sorts out petty and major problems at the university and is an attractive, likeable man. He copes but suffers. Such contradictions run throughout the book. The tone is angry and violent at times, but tender and humorous at others, even romantic. There is despair but optimism, as well as deception and betrayal but also love and loyalty. Kasenow shows great versatility in his writing and conjures up action and emotions that keep the reader hooked. It is moving and shocking at the same time. In short, "View from the Edge" a book you must read.

Tamera L.

Recovery is never easy, yet Joshua Feenics is trying to regain his life, even though he is plagued with haunting memories that threaten his sanity. Without much emotional support from his wife or peers, Joshua has to retain order in his life. His one joy is his eight year old son, Blake – even though he resents the fact that his wife prefers to sleep with his son and has been doing so since the boy’s birth. Things get interesting when there is the chance to discover artifacts written by the “finger of God” or, more importantly, the first set of the Ten Commandments (one of 2 sets) that were given to Moses. In anger, Moses had broken the first set. But in finding the broken pieces, Joshua and his colleagues face all the perils that only such a historic discovery can bring.

"View from the Edge" by Michael Kasenow has an interesting twist with a look at the Israelites and another view of Moses and what happened the day he returned from Mount Sinai. Joshua Feenics is an interesting character filled with likeable characteristics as well as the same human flaws the rest of us suffer from and yet somehow have to overcome and move forward. Michael Kasenow is a descriptive writer with a flair for writing about the 'unordinary' life in an ordinary existence. The writing flowed nicely but I would have liked to have a deeper glimpse into Joshua’s past. Well done.

Alice D.

Joshua Feenics is head of the Anthropology and Archeology Department at Hadrian University in Walden City, somewhere in the Mid-West of the United States. Joshua has not had an easy life as a child of an alcoholic mother and a raging, abusive father but he has put his past behind him as much as is possible and has risen in the field of teaching. Now he is back at work at Hadrian after three months' medical leave when his not-always faithful wife, Ashley, commits him to a mental hospital subsequent to his having what she said was a nervous breakdown. Joshua takes on departmental issues such as Thumper's bullying and bigotry, Tom Taylor's possible takeover of Joshua's department, MO's coughing illness, and the proposed link between Hadrian University and the archeological finds of the Mount Sinai Project which discovers and sells rare Holy Land artifacts. The men behind the Mount Sinai Project claim to have found a part of the Ten Commandments tablets. Joshua makes his way through all this and more, but how?

"A View from the Edge" is a well-written novel of a fascinating, intelligent man who has survived much and the complex world in which he finds himself again looking at survival. The poetry Joshua has written is inserted in the text and it in itself is first-rate. Joshua's dialogue with Holly Hayes, his part-time lecturer, with Liz, his departmental secretary, and with creative, quirky student Dyce and with other professors such as the ambitious Annachie and college officials is totally believable and adds to the story. Joshua's relationship with his beloved son, Blake, and with his off again/maybe on again marriage works well within the storyline. The plot moves credibly to the story's somewhat surprising conclusion. "A View from the Edge" is a remarkable book that readers everywhere should read and absorb.