Title: North Border
Author: Benjamin Percy
Release date: June 14th, 2022
Many of you will know the name Benjamin Percy from his novels. Others from his work on comic books. Either way, you’ll know his love and penchant for the dark and chilling. ‘North Border’ is only my second Percy read, which I need to rectify asap (I have like four more of his books!) and I’m not sure if this one is considered a pseudo-prequel to the other or not, but it could work as one.
‘The Wereworld’ was released in September of last year (2021) and told the story of a rolling plague-like infliction that took over the world and began to turn folks into werewolves.
This novella, ‘North Border’ tells the story of a man, getting a job with the Border Patrol when the local mine gets shut down and something mysteriously killing people at night in the woods. This could very well work as the origin story for the other novella, or it could be completely unrelated, either way – this one was great.
What I liked: The strength of this story itself, is the main character. Daniel Bridgewater is a soon-to-be first time father. He is of mixed race – his father was white, his mother Indigenous. This creates inner turmoil and outer turmoil, especially when the mine closes and he tries out for the Border Patrol. Not only does he have to deal with the issues he faces with his mixed race from his job, but his cousin also creates a headache. He himself is a drug runner and human smuggler.
It’s this backdrop that sets us up to follow Daniel’s struggles and alone the way some key minor characters are introduced. We get his supervisor, a tough-as-rock man who is also a casual racist, as well as the local townsman who forms his own militia believing the Border Patrol can’t do the job properly.
Percy uses lean prose and nail-biting passages to move the story along and as more and more people and animals are discovered eviscerated, we know something has to give and give it does.
The ending of this was fantastically depraved and the way it came together worked so well for how the story had evolved up to that point.
What I didn’t like: I really loved how Percy set this one up, but I wish there would’ve been more of the creatures and we would’ve had them come out and see more of them.
Why you should buy this: Bottom line – if you love werewolf stuff, this is fantastic and an easy single sitting read. If you love Percy’s work – no-brainer here as well. The characters are great, the setting works perfectly and the story flows along like a warm knife through butter.
Really enjoyed this one and now, I really do need to dive into more of his work.