The Last Red Sunset
by Jose Luis Almazan

"He wasn’t afraid to die, but he needed to survive to denounce these brutal murders. He softly sobbed and rubbed his eyes. At this point, it seemed to be the best idea."

This story, initially set in Mexico in the 1950s, revolves around a family. It is a chronicle of hardship, struggle, and eventually perseverance. From a wild, backcountry farm to the metropolis of Mexico City, the family’s history is unveiled as they deal with horrific violence, overcome tragedy, and eventually come to grips with what it means to live each day to the fullest.

The plot increases in intensity when three outlaw brothers visit the family’s farm. Their infamous reputation precedes them, but surprisingly the outlaws prove to be honorable during their visit, even helping out with work in the fields. Soon, they are gone, but in their wake comes a group of marauding soldiers and miscreants intent upon killing or capturing the outlaws. No warnings or formalities are observed; the renegades simply start shooting. But the ones who are maimed and killed are not the outlaws. They are members of the family who took them in. From here, two narratives emerge. One follows the outlaws and traces their road to perdition, while the other charts the future of the family that wound up suffering due to their own generosity.

Almazan is an enthusiastic writer. He tells his tale with verve and energy. While less than disciplined in terms of pacing and focus, this is still a novel that has the power to engage and involve. Many of the author’s descriptive passages of the environment surrounding his characters are filled with beauty. Diving into violent action and suspense, the narrative gives no quarter when it comes to the brutality one man can inflict upon another.

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