Book Reviews

Borderland by F.E. Feeley Jr. and Jamie Fessenden at Beaten Track Publishing

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Ghosts/Spirits/Hauntings / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller / Fiction
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 03-July-2020

Book Blurb

They were young.
In the prime of life and recently married.
And then the diagnosis came.

George and Jason make arrangements to travel back to George’s home state of Vermont so he may pass away in the town where he grew up, but a terrible storm diverts the couple into the gates of an out-of-the-way hotel called Borderland.

Sure, the employees are well dressed and polite. Sure, the food and entertainment are old-time fare. But it’s all a schtick, right?

Or is there something far more sinister at work here?

Welcome to the Borderland Hotel, where you may check in, but you’ll never, ever leave.

Book Review

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” ~ C.S. Lewis

George and Jason, of ‘Borderland’ by F.E. Feely, Jr. and Jamie Fessenden, have a great life, are able to retire early, and are making plans for their future, when tragedy strikes and George is diagnosed with cancer. Alienated from his family, George and Jason decide to try to reconcile before he dies.

On the way, a terrible storm causes them to wreck their car and seek shelter in a rundown hotel nearby called Borderland. There, they are greeted by people who seem to be from a different era. At first, George and Jason marvel at the employees' abilities to complement the ambience of the old hotel by acting as if they were from the last century. The accommodations are excellent and the service is amazing, yet George and Jason can’t help but feel that something is amiss. The staff’s performance is simply too realistic. There are other oddities that they can’t quite rationalize. The hotel doesn’t have any other guests, or a phone, or transportation and, even more unbelievable, none of the staff has left the property in years. George and Jason reach a point when they can’t simply “excuse” the staff’s behavior any longer. They begin to look for clues that will help them better understand their circumstances.

George and Jason only intend to stay for one night, but decide to stay longer because the stay there seems to be doing George a lot of good. He is feeling better than he has in a long time. He has more energy, color in his once pale cheeks, and has an appetite that won’t quit! With their car still broken and no other cars on the property, Jason has no way to get to the nearest town without walking. Rebecca, the hotel’s owner, tells him about a train station about five miles away that may have a phone. As much as he doesn’t want to but knowing it’s the only way they have of contacting anyone, he decides to hike to the station.

When Jason finally reaches the station, he is dismayed when he realizes that no one has been there for a long time. He can’t fathom why Rebecca would tell him to go there if it was closed; he wonders if it is possible that she doesn’t know since nobody has left the hotel in so long. There’s nothing to do but to go back. When Jason gets back to the hotel, he has a conversation with Rebecca in which he tells her about the closed train station. She tells him that she did not know it was closed and is distressed. From then on things get really weird in the house, especially after Jason and George meet the other guests. Just as Jason is about to figure out a significant part of what is going on, he becomes seriously ill. George is now the strong one, while Jason lies in bed while he fades away.

‘Borderland’ is an excellent title for a book concerning a vague state of being between “borders”. I’m a fan of both F.E. and Jamie and found this collaboration brilliant. The story blends F.E.'s penchant for terrifying me with supernatural beings along with Jamie’s thorough understanding of how to frighten me with all things occult. The combination of the two created a frightening, suspenseful, and philosophical journey into the space between life and death while challenging the norms of the two states of being. The book achieved what I assume was its purpose, to scare me and, at the same time, challenge me to think about life and death from a different perspective. However, I do have to admit that I was disappointed in the ending. I do realize that, considering the professed premises in the tale, it does have a happily ever after ending; it just wasn’t the one I was hoping for. Thanks, F.E. and Jamie! I hope you co-author more books together!





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 230 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-June-2020
Price $4.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
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