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…
“Nothing prepared me for the unbelievably loud sound made by firing the shotgun inside that confined space. My ears were ringing, and my face was splattered by black blood and bits of things I shuddered to consider. I cried out in pain as the thick black ichor dripped into my eyes, where it burned like acid.”
– Jack Oswald
“We spent a few hours struggling to come up with better explanations, but each suggestion was shot down almost as soon as it was made. The suggestions became wilder, eventually to the point of silliness.”
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!”
Aoife Marie Sheridan
Michelle E. Lowe
“This book was a fantastic read. I like any story that I can envision 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.”
Barton Paul Levenson
Olga Núñez Miret
Samantha C. Fischer
- Amazon* (124 Reviews, 4.2 Stars) US-106, UK-13, CA-3, AU-2
- Barnes & Noble (13 Reviews, 4.0 Stars)
- Goodreads (83 Reviews, 147 Ratings, 3.9 Stars)
- iBooks (1 Review, 8 Ratings, 4.0 Stars)
- Smashwords (7 Reviews, 3.9 Stars)
- Online Book Club (1 Review, 4.0 Stars)
* Very occasionally and without notice or explanation, Amazon deletes a review that it has posted, even if the review was posted weeks or even months earlier. The rumor among authors is that Amazon checks social media (such as Facebook) to see whether the author and reviewer are friends and the review is therefore suspect. If true, the approach is fundamentally flawed because readers (including reviewers) often send friend requests to authors, and authors are naturally happy to accept friend requests from their readers. Another theory is that if Amazon catches someone posting a review of an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of a Kindle Unlimited book, then it deletes all reviews by that reviewer (because Kindle Unlimited is supposed to be the only source). Sometimes, deleted reviews mysteriously reappear. Be that as it may, I have kept all reviews in my website, regardless of whether they are still on Amazon.
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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:
- Russian documentary on YouTube) The Permafrost Mystery: Scientists Explore Giant Yamal Sinkhole
- EarthSky Magazine article) New Explanation for Siberia’s Mystery Craters
- 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
Publisher: Magical Wand Press
Edition: Fourth edition
Publication Date: May 2017
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