The Last Paradise
by Michael Kasenow

"The wind and sea kept him company and nothing more. No voices, silhouettes; no gaslights or steam engines; only the hypnotic breath of nature, the rhythm of forever."

If you’re lucky, every now and then, you find a book that has it all: great story, haunting atmosphere, unforgettable characters, and writing that frequently stops you in your tracks with the impact of its truth, or beauty, or profoundness. This is such a book. It begins with a ribald grandeur that puts you in mind of Pete Dexter’s Deadwood. Before it’s finished, however, the rough-hewn humor has been surpassed by a humanist eloquence more akin to the best of Steinbeck.

The locale is Galveston, Texas, in 1900, a city that rivals any in the country for its headlong leap into the twentieth century. Wealth abounds fueled by the international business done in its port as well as the cotton piled to rooftops in its warehouses. Of course, where there’s the rich, there’s always the poor. Both populate the pages of this novel. Maxwell is the protagonist—an untamed individualist who is seemingly just passing through. But to the denizens of the poverty-stricken neighborhood he inhabits, he becomes protector, defender, avenger, and perhaps even savior.

Author Kasenow chronicles a spectacle of love both lost and found, violence both awful and cathartic, and glimmers of hope both lighted and dashed. His depictions of racist atrocities that occurred at the time are brutally honest. He keeps you guessing as to just what Maxwell’s mysterious mission really is, and his prose plunges you head-over-heels into the maelstrom that was the deadliest national disaster America has ever known. Romance, murder mystery, sweeping saga—this is one for the ages. Kasenow has penned a towering achievement that lovers of history and novels should not miss.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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