A Review of Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith

What’s it about?

Book Cover for Hell Holes: What lurks belowA geologist, his climatologist wife, two graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist travel to one of dozens of huge holes that have mysteriously appeared in the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. Their mission is to research these strange craters that threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should they open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipe lines that feed it. Unfortunately, a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it finally emerges. Some will live and some will die on Hell Day and the day after as the team flees south towards Fairbanks.

-Goodreads Synopsis

My Review of Hell Holes

The cover is pleasingly stark. I didn’t even notice the little man scaling down the side until I’d opened it up to a non-thumbnail size. It quite nicely fits this story, which is an unusual blend of modern science (no, I didn’t forget to put the word fiction after science) and fantasy.  Hell-Holes read quick and easy, and at 108 pages, for someone who reads at an average speed, it should give you a couple hours of enjoyment.

I loved the premise and the way this book was written for the most part. The setting was perfectly described, the author didn’t use 100 words where 50 would suffice, and though I’m not at all versed in the science talked about, it ‘sounded’ believable enough that I had no problems with it.  When the fantasy portion entered the story, there was only minor nose-wrinkling on my part. I liked that he did his best to keep the fantasy at a level that didn’t go into religious woo (which it could have easily done, given the premise of Hell Holes).

This was a pleasing read that entertained me right up until the end. The end didn’t really blow it for me, but it definitely made my enjoyment fizzle out. The author had stated in his original inquiry that he was working on book two of the series,  so I was a bit nervous about getting a cliff-hanger at the end. Yep. While this one wasn’t as bad as some that I’ve read, where it feels like the story cuts off halfway through the interesting part, it definitely gives you a TV episode feel. You are given a complete short story in Hell Holes, don’t get me wrong, but then the author tacks on a mini cliffie that is meant to entice you into reading the next short in the series. That bugged me because, while I don’t mind reading related stories, suddenly it made this ‘complete’ short story feel incomplete. Let me sort of going “erm…but…” but it didn’t serve the purpose of enticing me to read more.

Overall, Hell Holes is worth the read, just keep in mind it does container a bit of a tease/cliff-hanger at the end, and if you’re not a fantasy fan, it’s got enough of that element that you probably won’t enjoy it.

Click here to find Hell Holes: What Lurks Below (Volume 1) now on Amazon.com

Title: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below | Author: Donald Firesmith | Publisher: CreateSpace| Pub. Date: 2015-7-31 | Pages: 108 | ISBN13: 978-1515068075 | Genre(s): Thriller & Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: Person burned to death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Date Read: 2016-1-21 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review.