Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

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Promotional Picture of Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below is book one in the Hell Holes series of modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels.

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the Fall semester. 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 wildlife expert hired to protect them from Arctic predators 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 that a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

Book Trailer



Lori Beasley Bradley

“I couldn’t put this book down! I started it just after breakfast and finished it around eleven that same night! I loved the way Mr. Firesmith combined science and a bit of paranormal to tell his story. James Rollins watch out!”
Lori Beasley Bradley The Legend of the Swamp Witch The Red Queen

Aoife Marie Sheridan

“I really really loved it. It flowed so well, I was never bored. Overall a fast and exciting read that I would recommend to all fantasy and sci-fi readers.”
Aoife Marie Sheridan The Siskia Trilogy The Demon Series

MJ Kobernus

“I enjoyed my time in Firesmith’s world. I did not want to leave. I really got a kick out of it, and would happily come back for more. Recommended.”
MJ Kobernus The Guardian: Blood in the Sand The Guardian: Blood in the Snow

Barton Paul Levenson

“This book rocks.”
Barton Paul Levenson The Celibate Succubus Dark Gods of Alter Telluria

Dave Robertson

“a quick, enjoyable read. Full of action and fraught with danger”
Dave Robertson Strange Hunting Strange Hunting II The Ultimate Guide to Zombies

Olga Núñez Miret

“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.”
Olga Núñez Miret Escaping Psychiatry

Patty Beaty

“Your book is excellent. As for the ending, … it leaves the reader wanting/needing more. I’d absolutely love to read more…”
Patty Beaty Sunshine in the South



Read all 107 reviews. (4.2 Stars)

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Author’s Commentary

The idea for this book series came to me when I first heard of the discovery of several large mysterious holes in the permafrost of the Yamal Peninsula in Northern Siberia in mid-July of 2014. By the summer of 2015, some 20 to 30 such holes had been spotted. As in the book, scientists have measured high levels of methane gas in the holes. The holes are mysterious because of their large size, their existence in frozen ground (permafrost), their steep cylindrical shapes, and the fact that the contents of the holes is nowhere to be found.

There is no scientific consensus as to their cause. Scientific explanations have ranged from the explosive release of methane from buried methane hydrate ice to the melting of pingos (i.e., large dirt-covered plugs of ice) due to rising temperatures from Global Climate Change. Other less-believable proposed explanations have included meteor strikes and alien excavations. The best current scientific explanation is that as warming temperatures melt the ice in pingos, the pressure on the underlying methane hydrate ice decreases, causing methane explosions that blow out the soil that once topped the pingos. The holes are essentially the voids left behind once the pingo’s ice has melted.

The Hell Holes series is based on the following scenario: (1) thousands of such holes begin to show up around the entire Arctic including Alaska, (2) these holes were even larger than the initial ones in Siberia, and (3) there really is an “alien” connection with the holes.

For more information on the real Siberian holes, see:

What’s New

  • Recently released Third Edition that added new material involving first death scene and foreshadowing, fixed minor errors, and added an excerpt from the next book, Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton. Jill now survives first book.
  • Created sketches of the characters.
  • Ebooks free from Smashwords
  • IngramSpark added as wholesalers for library and large-volume sales


Hell Holes Movie

Mike Chamoy Nat MundelIn May 2017, I granted Hollywood producers Michael Chamoy (left) and Nat Mundel (right) shopping rights to Hell Holes: What Lurks Below with the intent of making a full-length feature film based on the book. Since then, Mike hired Leland Anderson to write the movie script, and on July 12th, the three of us reached a consensus on the outline of the script including changes to the book’s plot, locations, and characters as part of adapting to book to the new media of film. In October 2017, we came to a consensus on changes based on an initial draft script. Currently, the final script and movie treatment are due to me on February 12th, 2018. Once I approve the final script, Mike and Nat will have one year in which to pitch the script to studios and investors and thereby obtain the necessary funding to make the film.

Only a small percentage of scripts are ever made into movies, but having two producers who want to make the film definitely improves the odds. I am cautiously hopeful that I will eventually see the Hell Holes movie in my local theater. The icing on the cake would be if I could negotiate a very brief cameo appearance (ala Marvel’s Stan Lee) and one of the prop amulets.


Publishing Information

Publisher: Magical Wand Press
Edition: Fourth edition
Publication Date: May 2017
Language: English
Pages: 164
Words: 39,397
Size: 5×8
Formats: Paperback and ebook (epub, mobi, and pdf)

Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Data Block

Name: Firesmith, Donald.
Title: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below / by Donald Firesmith.
Description: Third edition. | Pittsburgh : Magical Wand Press, 2015. | Series: Hell Holes, Volume 1. | Summary: Oil company sends team of scientists to investigate huge holes that mysteriously appear in the tundra of the Alaskan North Slope. | Audience: Adult. | Language: English.
Identifiers: PCN 2016946862 | ISBN 978-1515068075 (Paperback – CreateSpace) | ISBN 978-1-68419-862-7 (Paperback – IngramSpark) | ISBN 9781310431210 (ebook – Smashwords) | ASIN B012IUE14U (Kindle ebook – Amazon).
Subjects: BISAC: FICTION / Action & Adventure. | FICTION / Fantasy / Paranormal. | Fiction / Science Fiction / General. | LCSH: American–Fantasy–Fiction. | American–Paranormal–Fiction. | American–Science Fiction–Fiction.
Classification: DDC 813.62 F57 2015


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