A Murder on the Border

Fiction - Thriller - General
376 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2023
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Author Biography

Billy Wittenberg is a native Texan and the son of a Mexican immigrant. After decades working as a engineering designer, he developed a passion for writing. He combined that passion with his interests in thriller novels, history, and the immigrant experience to craft heartfelt, suspenseful stories based in the southwest United States.

When he's not writing or working the day job, he likes to travel with his wife and two kids. Or stay home and play tug of war with his two dogs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

A Murder on the Border by Billy Wittenberg has all the elements that make a story impossible to put down. The complex, easy-to-follow plot—thanks to excellent writing—is centered around a naive, convent-raised orphan, Maria, who has the misfortune to fall in love with the dashingly handsome, philandering Victor. A Mexican business owner, Victor will stop at nothing, including murder, to get what he wants. But if there’s one person who won’t let Victor get away with his transgressions, it’s his wife, Sylvia, who demands he get rid of the now-pregnant Maria. The violent, often heartbreaking twists and turns Maria's and Victor’s lives take resulting from Sylvia’s demand are something even seasoned thriller readers won’t expect.

As riveting as A Murder on the Border is, Billy Wittenberg’s characters make the story come to life and give it authenticity. They are the downtrodden have-nots. As youngsters, Maria and Victor shared that background, but Victor grew up on the streets, fighting to survive. Wittenberg brilliantly captures Mexican beliefs and motivations in his self-reflective thinking and dialogue, and although Victor’s actions are despicable, readers understand him and even feel some sympathy for him. Likewise, regardless of the treatment Maria suffers at Victor’s hands, her Catholic convent upbringing, coupled with her love for her infant son, gives her the strength to withstand what life has thrown at her. There are other well-chiseled characters, but Maria, Victor, and Sylvia are unforgettable. The author’s sensitivity to his characters, tight control of a fast-paced plot, ability to clearly depict scenes and competence in capturing the essence of his heritage make this a must-read. I can’t wait to see what he has for us next.

Alma Boucher

A Murder on the Border is a thriller by Billy Wittenberg. Maria Benavides grew up in an orphanage and dreamed of having a home and a family of her own. Maria believed that Victor was the man of her dreams and she expected Victor to ask her to marry him. She was cruelly disillusioned when she realized that he wanted her dead. Close to death, Maria fled across the border to find a future for herself and her unborn son. Victor discovered that Maria and his son were still alive and embarked on a hunt to find them. Victor killed everyone who crossed his path in his search for Maria and his son. Nothing was going to stand in the way of him bringing his son back home.

A Murder on the Border is a complex thriller that had me engaged from the start. It has an intriguing plot that was brilliantly executed by Billy Wittenberg. I felt as if I was right in the middle of all the action. The murders were described in detail and left nothing to the imagination. The events were fast-paced and I turned the pages as quickly as I could. The twists and turns kept me in suspense and on the edge of my seat. The characters were individual and relatable. Maria was a strong woman throughout the story. She worked hard and gave her all to provide for herself and her son. Maria experienced a lot of trauma while staying off the streets and surviving. This is an excellent read.

Jennifer Ibiam

A Murder on the Border by Billy Wittenberg is the story of a girl named Maria Benavidez. She was dumped at an orphanage at seven years old. Maria was approaching seventeen when she left the orphanage but had nowhere to go. Fortunately, she fell in love with the wealthy Victor Mata and thought he loved her. Maria dreamed of marrying him and starting a family, but he dealt her a rude shock; Victor had a family and wanted nothing to do with a homeless orphan and her pregnancy. She fled. But then Victor started searching for her and her son, and chaos ensued. Will Maria choose the easy way out or fight to the death?

A Murder on the Border by Billy Wittenberg is intriguing, with an unusual story and great depth. It revolves around crime, love, magic, survival, and faith. The story and character development were wonderful, and the subplots were eye-openers. Brisa's choice shows what women will endure to stay married. Readers also learn about undocumented immigrants in the United States concerning work and health rights. It gutted me to see the wolf hidden in sheep's clothing. Father John was the perfect example of the unthinkable level of immorality hidden behind the religious cloak. The way he oppressed the helpless, whom he vowed to protect because they had nowhere to go, was horrible. This tale was beautifully crafted and well-balanced, and Wittenberg is a brilliant writer.