Book: No Man's Land
Publisher: Voo Doo Lily Press
Publication Date: June 16, 2016
Length: 159 Pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Amateur ghost hunters Cy and Zelda are invited to the BWCA in Northern Minnesota to investigate an alleged haunting at Brighton Lake Lodge. Mac, the owner, has returned home from London with plans to restart the family business, but the ghosts have to be dealt with first.
Interesting things happen the moment they arrive; it seems there isn’t one ghost, but many. One of them uses Zelda’s robot, Orwell, to communicate with them, and they find out the ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.
Set in a time in the not-so-distant future, the story destroys ideas of what is real, what isn’t, and the lengths people will go to in order to survive.
(Note: Orwell is a robot)
By dinnertime, Mac had given us a tour and pointed out the areas where spooky things had happened. The lodge seemed to be the central focus, but the largest cabin had also been favored. Zelda and I set up game trail cameras in both places; they were an affordable way to take pictures and video with audio in the dark, and a portable card reader let us look at the results on our phones and then transfer the captures to a laptop.
“Wildlife set those off too, right?” Mac said.
“Yeah, but if they’re not inside the cabins, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“What about mice? I guarantee there are a few of those around.”
“Too small. The cameras would capture raccoons and squirrels, though.”
Over grilled steaks and baked potatoes in the kitchen, we decided to share the biggest bedroom on the second floor in order to remain together at night. After washing the few dishes, we took our things upstairs, then shoved a single bed in next to the double in the only room with an ensuite bathroom; if anyone had to get up in the middle of the night, they wouldn’t have to go down the hall. Then we trooped back downstairs to wait for things to happen and sit in front of a fire until bedtime; evenings in the North Woods were cool this time of year.
Orwell was set on his feet and awakened. He gazed around the lobby, probably noticing details Zelda and I hadn’t. “Where are we?”
“Brighton Lake Lodge,” Zelda said. “We’re staying here a few days. We’re ghost hunting.”
“I like ghost hunting.”
“Do you believe in ghosts?” Mac asked, smiling.
“I have never seen one. Their existence is unsubstantiated. I hope to meet one soon.” Orwell walked over to Zelda and put his hands on her knees. “Will you introduce me if one appears?”
She touched his shoulder. “Sure thing, Orwell.”
“What will you do with the ghost when you’ve located it?”
“Um….” Zelda shot me a look, uncertain how to answer.
“Tell it to go away,” I said. “Ghosts have another place to live, and they tend to scare people.”
The truth was we’d never once run into a ghost, and I was starting to think they didn’t exist. But the investigation was always fun, and I knew Zelda held out hope we’d one day find evidence of spirits.
A door slammed on the second floor, and we all jumped and looked up. I scrambled off the couch and raced up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Zelda and Mac were at my heels. Not taking the time to grab a digital camera, I went down the hall until I reached a room with a closed door; the others were open, including the one to our shared bedroom. The room was at the other end from where we were sleeping that night.
I opened the door and went in. It was decorated with a made-up double bed, battered wooden dresser, and a small desk and chair. Cheap prints of deer and ducks graced the walls. I crossed to the only window and noted it was not only closed but locked.
“The wind didn’t slam the door,” Zelda said, not the least bit scared.
Mac, on the other hand, looked worried. “I didn’t see anything. Did you guys see anything?”
“Not a thing,” Zelda said, strolling around the room. She was checking for cold spots.
“Anything?” I asked.
“Just the expected draft by the window.”
The sun was going down, and it would soon be cold enough to put on another layer of clothes. “Let’s set up a camera in here, then return to the fire,” I said. “I’m chilled.”
Back in the lobby, Orwell was standing where we’d left him. “Did you find a ghost?” he asked. When we told him no, he seemed to droop with disappointment. “Maybe next time.”
Normally when I review a book I talk about the plot a bit. I say situations that I loved or didn’t so that I can explain my emotions. Well, I can’t do that with No Man’s Land. I can’t because if I did that I’d inevitably give something away. This story is a labyrinth and you have to really be in it to get out of it.
Theo Fenraven is an eclecticist in his writing. Each book is different. He has no steady pattern and because of that, you’re always pleasantly surprised.
In No Man’s Land I wasn’t sure what to expect. Where would this story take me? How will I feel? I must say, Theo never stopped my brain from thinking. This story weaves around and when you think you’ve grasped it… BAM… you don’t.
There’s suspense, frustration, and total wonder. This books keep you on your toes and your head constantly turning.
Brilliant poetic writing. Memorable well-formed characters, descriptive places and situations.
This isn’t a romance, there’s love, but that’s not the point or focus of No Man’s Land. Only when you read it will that become clear to you.
This was a terrific read!
Theo will gift two people with copies of this book.
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