On the Border


Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
246 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Betta Ferrendelli is the author of the award-winning Samantha Church Mystery Series, featuring The Friday Edition, Revenge is Sweet, Dead Wrong, Cold Case No. 99-5219 and On the Border, which published in April 2020.
The Friday Edition was named one of the best Indie books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews; won the Readers' Favorite 2014 Gold Medal Award in the Fiction, Mystery, Sleuth category and earned best mystery in the 9th annual National Indie Excellence Awards for 2015.
Cold Case No. 99-5219 won the 2018 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal in the Fiction, Mystery, Murder category, and was a finalist in the 13th annual National Indie Excellence Awards, mystery category.
Betta is also the author of two award-winning contemporary women's fiction novels: An Invincible Summer and Last Things.
She has been an award-winning journalist since 1989, having worked at newspapers in Denver, Seattle and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Paula García Lasa for Readers' Favorite

On The Border by Betta Ferrendelli is the fifth book from the mystery series of reporter Samantha Church. When a sloppily-handwritten letter in Spanish arrives at the newspaper, addressed to her, she asks the recently hired bilingual reporter, Hunter John Hollingsworth, to translate it for her. In it, a man expresses his worries about noticing something wrong with his construction job. With Hunter's help, whose personality (energetic, optimistic, chatty and a bit impulsive) collides with hers (rather quiet and reserved), Sam becomes immersed in unraveling a mystery that might be bigger than what was thought at first. But they have to be careful. Those behind everything will do whatever it takes for things to stay the same. Will they be able to untangle the mystery while avoiding becoming a target?

Despite not having read any other book of this series, I found On The Border by Betta Ferrendelli to be an outstanding mystery. The characters are realistic and complex. You can empathize with them, which makes it easier to engage with the story. Speaking of which, it is captivating. While you can't anticipate many of the outcomes, it is plausible, which is something many mystery books fail to achieve. It avoids cliches, making the story more enjoyable. It also shows cultural differences between the USA and Mexico while addressing the difficulties of cultural shock, and has a sweet, heart-warming side story that doesn't feel forced at all. Therefore, if you are looking for a fast-paced, light, yet engaging mystery story, I think you should give this page-turner a try.

Susan Sewell

A construction company comes under suspicion when the disappearance of one of their employees is brought to the attention of a journalist in the suspenseful sleuth mystery, On the Border (A Samantha Church Mystery) by Betta Ferrendelli. One year sober, single mom Samantha Church is finally pulling her life together in the aftermath of her sister's murder and her ex-husband's suicide. A reporter for The Perspective, a small newspaper in Colorado, Sam and her boss, Wilson, endeavor to bring justice and quality news to their community. Recently an anonymous letter handwritten in Spanglish is addressed to Sam and dropped off at the office. Unable to translate the message, Sam turns to Hunter, the new bilingual reporter, for help. Working together, Sam and Hunter find the man who wrote the letter. Frightened of adverse repercussions, the informant reluctantly tells them that his cousin Javier had a disagreement with their employers and then mysteriously disappeared. The details he relates indicate the company may be using illegal laborers. As Sam and Hunter continue investigating, it appears that Javier may have been murdered. Can Hunter and Samantha uncover the story of Javier's disappearance? Or will they be the next victims?

On the Border (A Samantha Church Mystery) by Betta Ferrendelli is another exciting episode in an outstanding series. Sam and Wilson are relatable protagonists with realistic struggles and personal issues. I appreciated how some of the hardships of undocumented workers are brought to light. With all of the main characters having intense and well-developed histories, I was able to connect with each of them from the very beginning. Their combined backstories set the mood and scenes for the plot which culminated in a surprising and heartrending conclusion that left me reeling. Amateur sleuth fans will enjoy reading this riveting mystery.

K.C. Finn

On The Border is a work of mystery fiction with plenty of intrigue and suspense, and was penned by author Betta Ferrendelli. One of the Samantha Church Mysteries, this fifth installment sees our central heroine hot on the trail of another investigation which could make for an incredible major news story. The plucky reporter joins forces with up and coming cub reporter Hunter for this new investigation, which hints at murder, money laundering and harboring undocumented workers. What results is a wild and sinister twist where our heroes face new villains who are determined to keep their secrets buried and protect their interests.

Author Betta Ferrendelli has crafted an engaging and high-octane mystery novel that combines sleuthing, suspense, action, and high drama to create a true page-turner that you’ll find hard to put down. The narration cuts to the quick of the action and delivers much of its exposition through active scenes with plenty of dialogue, which increases the pacing of the novel really well. Hunter is a truly enigmatic addition to the cast, and indeed the development of both the heroes and villains of the piece is well crafted to add another layer of realism to the mystery. In terms of plot, the story beats are well-timed to unveil different aspects of the mystery bit by bit, and the style allows readers to figure things out without being spoon-fed the excellent conclusions to the drama. Overall, I would certainly recommend On The Border for your next engaging mystery read.