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Hell Holes #1

What Lurks Below

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Alternate cover edition for ASIN B012IUE14U

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

184 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 5, 2015

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About the author

Donald Firesmith

27 books354 followers
Donald Firesmith is a multi-award-winning author of speculative fiction including science fiction (alien invasion), fantasy (magical wands), modern urban paranormal novels, and horror short stories and poetry.

Before retiring in 2020 to devote himself full-time to his novels, Donald Firesmith earned an international reputation as a distinguished engineer, authoring seven system/software engineering books based on his 40+ years spent developing large, complex software-intensive systems.

He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his daughter Sera, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

You can learn more about the author by visiting his personal website:

His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are also available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FiresmithWa...

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5 stars
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77 (35%)
3 stars
41 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 120 reviews
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,669 reviews6,662 followers
June 24, 2017
A good book. I did find it a bit slow at times especially at the beginning. The action does not start really till past half way through the book. This is a more wet your appetite book. Just as I was really getting into the book ended. I am guessing the next book will pick up from where this one left off.

We are told the story from Dr Oswald's perspective, a middle aged geology professor who still takes field work to keep himself active. He is married to an climatologist professor who we are told is the more athletic of the two. However we do not see this in this book. Aileen O'Shannon is new to joining the team. A young looking, beautiful, but secretive woman.

The characters are life long scientist, I must commend the author he has done his research the experts sound authentic. As this book is quite short there is not much time to more then touch on how their core belief are changed, really shock and survival instincts take over. Really in this kind of situation that is what is likely to happen. This book is more to the horror side then sci fi. However a good start to the series. I would have liked to give it half a star more but not quite 4 stars.
Profile Image for Courtney.
126 reviews59 followers
April 2, 2017
"I'm afraid we're all likely to come out of this with some degree of PTSD, that is assuming we're lucky to come out of this at all."

While preparing for his upcoming classes, Jack Oswald, a geology professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, received an urgent phone call from Kevin Kowalski, an ExxonMobil manager, asking him to come and examine the mysterious holes that seemed to have appeared overnight and are threatening the oil company's operations in Alaska's North Slope.

Having been told to put a team together, Jack Oswald asks his wife and colleague, Dr. Angela Menendez and two of his grad students, Mark and Jill Star to accompany him. Meanwhile, Aileen O'Shannon, a reporter for the Fairbanks daily news-miner, came to interview Mr. Oswald about the baffling craters that have been popping up all over the world. Instead, she overheard his conversation with Mr. Kowalski, and though it was made clear that she wasn't wanted as a member of his team, she included herself on their research trip, and met them at their plane anyway, giving the others no choice but to let her join them.

When Jack Oswald and his research team arrive at Deadhorse, Alaska, they're met with the oil company representative, Mr. Kowalski and field biologist, Dr. Bill Henderson. After introductions are made, their camp site put together and their scientific instruments prepared, they begin their investigation. Soon after, though, they are met with a great tragedy, and unfortunately for them, their hardships had only just begun.

After experiencing the loss of one of their members due to a reckless mistake, they discover that what lurks within those holes are something that are far more dangerous than they could have ever imagined. Monstrous beasts emerge and the holes continue to grow and multiply.

All hell breaks loose... Literally.

You can tell that Donald G. Firesmith put a lot of time into researching certain aspects for his book; very factual. I really loved how the scientific parts of this story are so well explained and detailed.

I'll admit, when I began reading this story I really thought it was going to just be a thrilling sci-fi, but I was wrong. What Lurks Below has paranormal elements in it as well. While I wouldn't normally think that those two genres could do well together, Donald G. Firesmith does a great job bringing them together and making it believable.

I wish that there was a little more information on the "Tutores Contra Infernum" (The Guardians Against Hell). I'm hoping there will be more on the secret society in book two.

This book ends on a major cliff hanger, in the middle of chaos, so I'm definitely glad that book two is available. At the end of this book, the author gives a list of the characters, both human and supernatural, along with some added information, which I thought was cool.

Overall, this is a fast paced and thrilling sci-fi / paranormal story. What Lurks Below is a fairly short read but it's packed with exciting action and plot twists! I would recommend this to adult readers as there are some graphic scenes (death, injuries, demonic creatures, etc) and some cursing.

**** I was given an eBook copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Booktasters for introducing me to this authour, and thank you to Donald G. Firesmith for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book. ****
Profile Image for Wulfwyn .
1,111 reviews100 followers
December 31, 2016
Hell Holes: What Lurks Below is not in my favorite genre. It is actually in one of my least liked. I tend to find a lot of SciFi-Fantasy gets bogged down with a lot of terminology I don't really know. In trying to figure things out, I tend to come to the conclusion that there are many other books that I could be reading. I decided to read Hell Holes because it sounded interesting and was set in Alaska. I wasn't expecting very much though. I ended up being surprised by a story that held my interest. I found myself really being interested in the holes. That was surprising to me. I'm not sure how I feel yet about the demons and such coming out if the holes. I also didn't feel as though I got to really know the characters. There were some deaths but I didn't really dwell on any of them. By the end of the book I did find myself caring about whether or not Jill survived. I think she was the character I attached to the most. The action became nearly nonstop about midway through the book. For the most part this was really good. The ending though, being mid action, left me feeling adrift. I understand that it is the first book in a series. I am hoping we get to know the characters a bit better in the next one. I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers though I usually handle them well. This one left me feeling abandoned in battle. I do hope the author picks it up where we were left. Am I happy that I read this book? Yes, I am. Flawed, (in my eyes), as it is, it did draw me in. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will I read more from this author? Most likely I will come back and read the next book.
I would like to thank BookTasters and the author for the opportunity to voluntarily review this book. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to.
I changed the dates to reflect when I actually read the book. I had picked it up on Christmas Day intending to read it then. With the holidays and a sudden illness with my Dad, I did not get to start it until almost a week later.
Profile Image for Sherry Fundin.
1,897 reviews128 followers
January 31, 2020
Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith was everything I had hoped for and more.

They were asked by Exxon to come up and check out the Hell Holes that had become a threat to the pipeline. Stowaway photographer, Aileen O’Shannon, is quite a handful and so much more than she appears to be.

Have you ever thought about not just climate change, but all the holes we punch into the earth? Could we be destroying the planet we live on…or is there something else happening, something so monstrously evil we cannot imagine.

What had been a secret, which I love to have revealed to me, was on the verge of becoming Armageddon. Bloody, gory, slasher type horror. Demons rise from hell, hungry and I sure don’t want to meet them on a dark lonely highway…or anywhere else, for that matter.

Characters fall, so be careful who you become attached to. I love when an author does that, leaving me wondering who will be taken out, how they will be taken out, and who will be left standing. I also love when an author can surprise me and I did not see the direction the story would go when I began. Nice job, Donald.

I wasn’t ready for the ending!!!!! but end it did. Does not stand alone and I am left hanging…BUT This is a two book series, and Book II is out and ready for reading.

To see more visit fundinmental
October 17, 2017
Well written.

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to start the next one. It was well written and an easy read. Anyone who loves science fiction or horror would love this book.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,339 reviews31 followers
March 11, 2017
Dr. Jack Oswald is a geologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Just before classes are ready to begin for the semester, Jack receives an urgent call from Kevin Kowalski who works for ExxonMobil drilling oil. There have been a series of mysterious holes opening up around the drilling fields that are affecting operations. The holes are deep and perfectly cylindrical and just plain strange. Jack has been hired to investigate; he assembles his team consisting of his wife, Dr. Angela Menendez, a climatologist, two of his grad students Mark and Jill Starr, a wildlife biologist Bill Henderson and is cajoled into taking along AIleen O'Shannon, a photojournalist. When the team arrives in Deadhorse, they immediately get to work exploring the holes. However, upon closer examination of the holes, no explanation for the holes can be found. Then, disaster strikes and all hell is literally unleashed. Now, the research team turns instead to survival and perhaps sending the demons back to where they belong.

This was a fast-paced and short read that managed to combine climate science and supernatural horror in an effective way. The book is written from Jack's point of view as a memoir of a survivor the attacks. The first part of the story is a bit of an info dump as Jack's explains what he does, describes the fieldwork and his team's hypotheses about the holes. As a scientist myself, I enjoyed reading about permafrost and pingos and liked that climate science is featured in a book. The story quickly picks up as hell breaks out on Earth. One character has a large surprise up their sleeve that may help the team out of the mess if they can accept their new reality. The different demons were all very interesting and I wish Bill could have continued his post mortem of the Hellhound. Since this is a memoir of events, there is not much characterization, but more focus on events. The story ends on quite a cliffhanger and with a sneak peek of book two at the end, I will definitely want to read on.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Naturalbri (Bri Wignall).
1,005 reviews98 followers
March 17, 2017
This is a great wee book! I read the blurb and though it would be an exciting, yet still scientific read and the author did not let me down.

It was great to see science, adventure, exploration and a bit a fantasy. It's a very thrilling read as well. With all those bits thrown together, it is a book you are worried won't meet the very high expectations you have for it, but this book and author have done very well to hold up their end and really make this book everything it claims to be and a bit more!

I liked the pace the book was set at. It really built up the excitement and kept the thrilling sections to a point where you were kept on your toes. It did also allow for a lot of the detail to show through, which was perfect. This is really where it kept up its scientific part for me. The level of detail it put into the surroundings and happenings was perfect. I would always be happy with a bit more, but I love science. It think it was a healthy amount, to make readers like myself happy and excited, but still be very enjoyable for those who aren't fans of a lot of scientific terminology in their books.

Overall, the characters and detail in the world really created a book that was very interesting to read. It did keep my attention until the very end and I found it both exciting and thought provoking. It is a great read and one I recommend.

**Arc provided and I chose to review.
Profile Image for Olga Miret.
Author 52 books238 followers
November 24, 2016
Science,horror, fantasy, paranormal and plenty of action I received a free ARC copy of the book and I voluntarily decided to review it. I am also sharing this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.
Hell Holes is an intriguing book and one difficult to classify. Set in Alaska, the prologue already gives us a hint about what is to come, but once we start reading the account written by Professor Jack Oswald, we get taken in by the mystery of the holes, and by the hypotheses suggested, sending us in the direction of science-fiction. The explanations and the possible scenarios are plausibly rendered and the fact that Oswald’s wife, Angie, studies the effect of climate change, add to the interest, although that line of investigation doesn’t last long.
The plot turns soon when the holes prove to be dangerous in more ways than one, and paranormal and fantastic elements become more important as the plot moves on. There are also horror elements, like the monsters and the destruction and killings, and we do get more than a few hair-raising moments.
As often happens with some of these genres, there is a fair amount of exposition, regarding the set-up of the different pump stations and oil fields, and later about the supernatural elements (as one of the characters is revealed to be completely different to what we thought at first sight). As there is a description of the different Hell inhabitants later on after the end of the story, it might feel somewhat repetitive.
The book is also very short, even more than it looks like when we check the pages, as the end comes at around 80% of the book length, and the rest is taken by a summary/description, a cast of hell characters, a brief biography of the author and a longish sample of the next book, that follows (with a slight overlap) from the first one. From the sample, we see that the second book in the series is narrated by Professor Oswald’s wife.
The novel (novella) is plot-driven, and once the chase is on, the book moves quickly and never lets off, and we don’t have much chance to notice that we do not know the characters in detail, and there is plenty of room for development. The first person narration would seem to allow for a more in depth knowledge of the main character, but although there are some glimpses of guilty feelings and a strong sense of responsibility that make Oswald come across as a good man, this is after all supposed to be an account written by him for other eyes, to do with facts not feelings, and it does not dwell much on subjective matters. There might be time to get to know the characters more during the series but one suspects that the action will continue taking pride of place in the next novels.
There are series where it doesn’t matter where you start reading (or it matters less and it’s possible to read any novel and enjoy it in its own right without feeling you’re missing the context). This is not the case here, as although the story seems to be told from different points of view in the different books, it is all the same story. And in case you hate cliff-hangers, the book ends up in a worrying twist/hook. But, fear not, because if you read the sample of the next book at the end, at least that hook is solved.
The book is an easy and quick read and an action-filled one that you’ll imagine as a TV series or a movie with no difficulty. If you’re a stickler for specific genres and strong characters it might not suit you, and you might question some of the details, but if you’re looking for an entertaining read that moves easily between genres, and don’t mind investing in a series, give it a try.
Profile Image for Brian's Book Blog.
752 reviews57 followers
January 20, 2016
A modern day mash up of real science and the fantasy world

A team of scientists is asked by Exxon Mobile to come out to do some research on a mysterious hole that has appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. The oil company wants to make sure that this hole and the ones like it won’t be affecting the Alaskan pipeline. The team is stumped by the creation of the hole and even its existence, but quickly realize that they are in for more than just a simple science excursion.

I want to be totally upfront with you, I’m not usually a fan of fantasy. I don’t mind it in video games (I absolutely love Skyrim and the likes), but when it comes to reading, I usually shy away from spellcasting and demons and that stuff.

With that being said, Hell Holes has a really nice mashup of modern day science, real science, mixed in with the fantasy that he writes about. The creatures are supposed to be from what they describe as hell. But even the person who describes it explains it not necessarily as the hell that a Christian may think of, but just a place of almost pure evil.

I really feel like this book could have gone 100 different ways, and I’m not really disappointed in the way it went. Just know, if you’re not a fan of fantasy fiction this book may not be for you. But, if you open your brain like I did to the opportunity and just let it flow. This short book has a lot to offer.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would after my first “eye roll moment” when one of the main characters begins to perform… basically magic. I thought, oh no, here we go. But, I was wrong. The writing was excellent and the plot moved quickly. Firesmith’s knowledge of both science and his imagination for the fantasy aspects mixed with the shortness (only 108 pages) made this a blazingly fast read.

If you enjoy the mix of modern and real science with the age old fantasy, this series is definitely for you. Hell Holes is something I’ll be on the look out for!

Did you enjoy this review, find more like it at Brian's Book Blog
Profile Image for Eva.
4 reviews3 followers
January 8, 2017
Review of: Hell Holes
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewer: Amanda (www.ultimatefantasybooks.com)

Firstly this book was a lot shorter than I expected but I still really enjoyed it. Secondly this book was seriously researched by the author at the start we got a little too much information and thirdly it ends with a massive cliff-hanger.

This book is a mish mash of genres, from science, to fantasy to horror.

So the story is about a group of scientists who have to investigate large holes that haver appeared from nowhere in Alaska. Jack the main character goes with his wife and two grad students along with a journalist.

And so the story begins. Once they arrive and settle in things start to happen. The book is fast paced once the fantasy aspect kicks in and it’s a bit of a shocker how the story quickly changes genre. I love love fantasy so for me I loved it. There is plenty of action and scares in the story also, the author covers a lot of different genres but it works.

I would recommend this book to all fantasy lovers, its’ a short quick read.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
1,952 reviews66 followers
March 23, 2017
I give this 3.5 stars.

Well, wasn't this a complete surprise package! It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover.
After reading reviews as to what this novella would be genre wise, I tend to disagree that it's science fiction. To me it felt more like a horror/paranormal/thriller and kept you on the edge of your seat as to what would happen next.
Written rather like a journal from the male protagonist's point of view, the writing was smooth and the characters quite lifelike. It did get a bit heavy on the technical side but this was really needed to back up various theories for the existence of the holes.
I won't say anymore as it would give spoilers away, suffice to say I'll be reading the next novella in the series which looks to be from the female protagonist's point of view.

*** As an aside this story was based on the very real happenings of numerous holes appearing in rural Siberia. There is still no real consensus as to what has caused these holes to appear but it really is quite fascinating and eerie to read about. ***
Profile Image for Michelle Lowe.
Author 22 books83 followers
July 3, 2018
Geology professor, Dr. Jack Oswald, his wife Dr. Angela Menendez, and grad students, Jill and Mark Starr, are suddenly called to investigate a bizarre phenomenon in the Arctic Circle. Tagging along with them is a beautiful young photojournalist named Aileen O’Shannon. When they arrive at the location, the group sees for themselves a massive hole which had appeared overnight. It isn’t long into their investigation that things go to pot very quickly. What they find is the last thing anyone of them had ever expected—with the exception of O’Shannon, who is much more than she leads people to believe. Which is good for them, ‘cause the group will need her assistance and skills if they’re to survive what’s coming for them and everyone else on earth!

This book was a fantastic read. I like any story that I can easily see being a movie or TV show. Aileen O’Shannon is an interesting character, who has a very intriguing past that I hope to learn more about in the next installment. I recommend this book to anyone.

Profile Image for Laura Thomas.
1,355 reviews80 followers
May 7, 2017
I love unexplained acts of nature. Makes for such a chilling plot. When holes start appearing in the Arctic Circle , a team of experts is sent to investigate. Once they arrive, things get worse as more holes appear. And then something straight out of Hell crawls out. A horde of otherworldly creatures that have only one thing in mind. Killing mankind. With nowhere to run, the team seeks shelter in an old station. But the horde won’t be denied, and like an octopus with a sealed bottle full of yummy bait, they will find a way in.

I was almost rubbing my hands together in twisted anticipation before I started this one. Mysterious holes appearing. Something beyond imagining crawls out. The fate of mankind hangs in the balance. Oh yeah. I knew I had to read this book.

There’s a mixed bag of character’s. Ones you come to like and respect and some not so much. The author doesn’t seem to mind killing off either one. Keeps you on edge when things get down and dirty. Which doesn’t take long at all.

The story is strong and there’s a sub plot that makes things even more interesting. Also, the blend of science fiction and horror leaves the story wide open for the author to go in many different directions.

The ending. Well, it’s an end, but also a cliff hanger. That’s because this is really the beginning of something much bigger. I’ll be grabbing the next one immediately. Got a good feeling about this series.
Profile Image for Claudia.
20 reviews
July 21, 2021
Well, I have been proved wrong. I first got interested in the book because of its beautiful cover, but then started to lose faith in it giving me a good time while reading it... Well, I misjudged, what a great read! This is a short book, something I'd ravish while waiting in line or during commute, and never want to get to my destination! Such a thrill! It got all my emotions moving!

It moved rather fast. Of course, it's a very short book, but wow! I felt not as if I were reading a book but watching a movie. And if you'd told me I'd experience that before starting the book, I would never have picked it up. I'm so glad I picked this book! I couldn't put it down, period. Amazing work, and will be getting the rest of the trilogy as soon as now.

Disclaimer: I have kindly received a free copy of this book, and am leaving this review voluntarily. Also happily, for the record.
Profile Image for Ian yarington.
446 reviews5 followers
September 18, 2016
Won this in the giveaways with another small quick read book and I have to say that I have enjoyed the smaller books because I feel accomplished when I get through them in a few days or in one sitting. I was impressed with the book and my only complaint is that some of it after the half way mark felt a little rushed but other than that it was a good read!
Profile Image for C.E. Clayton.
Author 13 books247 followers
May 7, 2019
At first I thought “Hell Holes” was going to be a science fiction novella given the cast of main characters are all scientists or researches in the natural sciences. And, admittedly, the first half of the book feels like a true science fiction as the characters explain the science and their reasoning for what the mysterious holes popping up all over Alaska could be or what may be causing them. Then it takes a pretty hard left into pure horror/paranormal action. “Hell Holes” starts off as a quest for answers about these holes and what can be done to keep them from interrupting a lucrative Alaskan oil line, then ends on a high speed chase across the tundra as the scientists are hunted down by all manner of hell-spawn and demons. Was I disappointed by this turn? Not really. But I was taken by surprise.

Given that the first half of the book was rather slow with a lot of telling the reader how alluring the photo-journalist is and how odd the holes are on a scientific level, the action that comes later is a welcome turn of events. You get a lot of tension, a lot of detailed descriptions of how horrific and gross the demons are, and a lot of unapologetic violence as the original cast of characters gets whittled down in rather horrific ways. It’s such a stark contrast from where the book started that, while I enjoyed the suddenly fast paced nature the story took, it could have used a little ramp up. The characters go from hardcore scientists to believers of the supernatural really fast because, well, they have to, and not because of the terrifying creatures hunting them, but because this is a really short novella. This reads like a quick serial more than anything else which is fine because it makes it an easy page turner and something you can knock out pretty easily in a weekend, but it didn’t necessarily HAVE to be this short, either. I’d have loved for the scientists to be a bit more skeptical of the sudden sorceress in their midst and the secret organization that’s been aware/prepping for this invasion for some time. It just needed a slight ramp up so we didn’t go from 0 to 100 in just a few pages.

This is going to be a pretty short review because I don’t want to spoil who survives, or who plays what role in the things that lead the scientists to where the book ends. It does end on a massive cliff-hanger, one that I wasn’t a huge fan of because it was so abrupt and ended before I felt like enough got accomplished or answered. The remaining characters are so far from safety by the time the end comes that I found myself saying: “What? That’s it? We’re ending it there?!” Which definitely makes me 1. Want to read the next book and 2. A tad annoyed that I feel like I HAVE to read it in order to get the full story. The first book in the “Hell Holes” series is more of a teaser book, one to wet your appetite, to explain the situation, and prep you for the ride to come more than anything else, I feel. Which is ok, it means the next book will probably be 100% action and danger rather than the slow, rather info-dumpy sections of science we got in the first installment. Still, I think I would have liked a bit more so this felt like a complete first story, even though it is a novella, which is why I am giving it 3 stars. However, if you like some hard science and then a lot of supernatural horror in a quick, serial format, I say give this book a read! I’m definitely going to be reading the second book very soon as well. And thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review.
234 reviews31 followers
May 28, 2017
I listened to a computer read version of this book. Every time a "Dr." was in the story, the computer translated it as "drive" and "No." became "no" instead of "north". A sentence such as
Dr. Oswald is from No. California would be read as Drive, Oswald is from no California. Mrs. was mrrs and Mr. was mrr. At first I kept wondering why the person telling the story kept telling Oswald to drive, especially since they weren't in a vehicle most of the time. I wasn't looking at the print version on the computer at that point.
Anyway, the story is about group of people that were sent to Alaska to investigate some huge holes that were appearing in the permafrost; a geologists, a climatologists, two geological grad students, a Exxon Mobil management employee to see if the North Slope oil fields were in danger, and a woman that claimed she was a photographer for a newspaper. What they found cost the lives of two members of the group and left the others traumatized. The Alaskan permafrost had much more in it than holes.
The author researched everything he could to make this story as accurate as a fictional book can be and the beginning can fool you into thinking this is non-fiction.
I recommend this book for fantasy, horror and thriller fans.
NOTE: This was not a "real" Audiobook. It was an epub version I downloaded and it was read by my computer, not a real person. I am sure the actual audiobook is fine. Sue🐾
Profile Image for Laurie.
617 reviews129 followers
June 20, 2017
I read the blurb of this book and knew I had to immediately read it. Set in Alaska, there is a huge hole that appears suddenly that could conceivably cause trouble to the nearby oil field and pipeline. A team of scientists is quickly deployed to find out the cause of the phenomenon. The team arrives quickly but already hundreds of holes are opening up. From this point, the characters scramble at a breakneck pace for safety as unnatural creatures spew forth amid noxious gas and tectonic quakes. The team’s priority becomes staying alive in the isolated far north.

I loved the premise that explained the sudden appearance of the other-worldly demons, and the remote Alaskan setting. I enjoyed the exciting, nail-biting suspense with the palpable sense of danger at every turn. This book had an ending (of sorts) but I was disappointed by the cliffhanger. I have already purchased the next book and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Reviewed by Laurie-J
Profile Image for Helen Calder.
21 reviews3 followers
January 10, 2018
I have a fondness for stories in which it is revealed that the world is not as it seems. This is one of those. If you also like those kinds of stories then you will probably like this one.

There's a touch of Mathew Reilly about it but with a Dan Brown style hero/narrator and a Micheal Crichton level of research. People who know me might think that the mention of Dan Brown is a thinly veiled insult but it really isn't. Dan Brown is very good at some of the things he does and Donald G Firesmith manages to emulate those while avoiding the inept pop culture references, laughable research and lazy sentence structure that make me want to smack Dan Brown upside the head.

You might want to have book 2 handy because the cliff hanger ending is likely to have you hurling you e-reader across the room and cursing the author's name. But, you know, in the good way.
Profile Image for Nancy (The Avid Reader).
2,412 reviews105 followers
January 28, 2018
When I first started reading What Lurks Below started out slow like and it was kind hard to get into. It starts out reading like a textbook and I was like I didn't sign up for this. But I kept reading telling myself to come on give it a chance you just got started. So I kept reading and then the next thing I knew the words were exploding off the pages at me and I was racing through it.

Dr. Oswald a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks gets a phone call from a Mr. Kowalski asking for his help up on the North Slope near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There are these big wholes opening up all over the place which could spell disaster for the oil companies if they don't figure out real quick like what is going on and try to put a stop to it.

Dr. Oswald gathers up his team which includes his wife Dr. Menendez two students, Mark Starr and his wife Jill Starr and head out for the oil fields. They get themselves a new crew member along the way one photographer Aileen O'Shannon a very attractive young woman who finagles her way into their expedition that has the wives of the two men keep close eyes on this one so she don't forget that their husbands are off limits.

As I said What Lurks Below did take off on slow start but once they reached the first gigantic hole it was on then. More holes started popping up all around them taking all their vehicles and campsite and things coming out of it like you wouldn't believe. They all took off like the demons from hell were coming up out of those holes. The characters adrenaline was pumping but so was mine. The words started popping off the page hitting me in the face the moment the explosions started and I could just feel the heat coming off them. It was as if I was right there with all the characters running for my life with the demons and heat from the explosions on my heel wondering if we were going to make it out alive.

The summary for What Lurks Below does not in any way do this book justice at all. What Lurks Below is filled with so much action adrenaline pumping and horror that it will have you sweating way before it is over.

I would recommend What Lurks Below to anyone who loves to see the words of a book exploding off the pages at you.
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440 reviews26 followers
May 10, 2018
I liked the scientific elements of this book, it was interesting to learn what they were talking about in regards to global warming, sinkholes and what not. It also showed the Author had put in the time to do his research. It was short but it felt like the right amount of pages, you could tell the first was just an introduction to the rest of the series. Highly interested in carrying on reading. Demon apocalypse seems like an interesting story concept. The story leaves you going oo what going to happen? Do they survive? Do humans survive?

Overal I would highly recommend this book. It short enough to give it a try if you are sitting on the fence. I believe the Author is trying to make it into a movie, believe they are making it a script as we speak.
21 reviews
November 25, 2021
A fast paced story, which sets the tone for Hell Holes, the story quickly moves from introducing characters to events being set in motion for the rest of the read. Having read this after another book by this author, Secrets of Hawthorne House, the feel for this book is different. While Secrets of Hawthorne House would remind me of stories where the characters face slight setbacks that are able to be resolved and fixed with some planning and team work, Hell Holes instead faces a growing crisis with little hope of good prevailing over evil.

Certainly going to be reading the next books in the series to know what happens next.
506 reviews3 followers
December 27, 2017
Hell Holes, Book 1 is an AWESOME read!!

Forget Zombies!! The Demons from Hell are TOTALLY, more scary!! A fast and furious read, very hard to put down, until the very end!!
Our intrepid group, has gone to find out, why monstrous holes are opening in the ground, around the Northwest oil pipelines. The first loss of life will scare you silly!! A MUST READ!!
5 reviews3 followers
February 20, 2019
can't quite say I couldn't put it down, but it was pretty close, once I got started. The premise of the story was different, but entirely reasonable, from a sci•fi perspective. The writing was done well, no typos or mis-use of words (think there & their). All in all, very enjoyable…even the cliffhanger on the last page {G}
48 reviews
October 12, 2017
Wow! Such an exciting and well-written book! I did not want it to end. Now I want to read everything this author has written! Seriously good book here, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
666 reviews16 followers
September 4, 2018
An Exciting Read!

This book surprised me on where the story went. it was full of excitement and gore. I was shocked throughout the story. The author has a vivid imagination and you will be entertained w it’s this book.
625 reviews3 followers
April 11, 2020
Great storyline

Totally different storyline and suspense throughout this story is totally remarkable and unexpected. The author covers many things that happen and the suspense throughout this story is great 👍👍👍
9 reviews
August 26, 2022
I stumbled across this book and loved it...a fast easy read that will leave you wanting more
It's very well written and easy to visualize
Take a chance on this book..i did and did not regret it...hell of a book lol
November 8, 2018
I am not really into fantasy/sci-fi type books (more of a murder/mystery type.) Stumbled onto Hell Holes #1 and I am looking forward reading #2. Good, fast read.
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