|4.6 Stars||88 Reviews||100%|
Note: Amazon has a well-known habit of deleting reviews without explanation. Sometimes, the deleted reviews magically reappear. That is the reason that a few of the links to following Amazon reviews may be broken.
5 Star Reviews
56) Definitely don’t spoil until you’ve read the first. ★★★★★
A direct continuation of the first book, the second book is from the perspective of Dr. Angela Menendez and starts from the conclusion of the first book. You will know if you have read and finished the first in the series.
Likewise, due to where the first book concluded, this entry hits the ground running from the start [and] then relaxes its tension toward the end, unlike the first book which set the scene and then everything started in motion.
The result is that this book is very much a roller coaster of events right from the start and only begins to mellow out as the final chapters arrive. I feel like both of these books, and the third I’ve yet to read, may only be strengthened in their tone were they one large book, but separately it’s also enough to read and give a rest.
I had believed at one point perhaps this wasn’t my type of story, yet at the same time I had no issue with continuing at a leisurely pace over the course of a little more than a week. As anyone should expect, this is a book that’s best read after the first book, and I’m also assuming before the third. I’ll certainly be moving on to the third book given the convenience to find out how events unfold. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll most likely be satisfied with the second as well.
55) Great sequel! ★★★★★
By Michelle Lowe on 18 September 2021 (Amazon US Review)
Devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles! Oh my, my! I had read the first book and enjoyed it very much. I listened to the audiobook with this one, and it was wonderful hearing the characters coming to life. The story in this second installment starts where the first book left off and was just as intriguing and thrilling as the previous tale. I’m looking forward to seeing where all these evil creatures are heading next!
54) Demon hunting at a w”hole” new level ★★★★★
Firesmith pens an intense, devil fighting, story in Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton. I have read work from this author before, and I really enjoyed it. I read the first book in the series a while ago, but after looking at my old notes on it, I liked this one a hell (pun intended) of a lot better. The characters were strong, and intelligent. This author brings the story to life. The characters had a lot of depth, and were very realistic, even the extremely old sorceress, Aileen. It’s survival of the smartest and best, as the hounds of hell (and other magnificently evil creatures) emerge! This author is not just a writer but a great storyteller. This is a magnificent story, kept this reader turning the pages. The thrills and intrigue is written clearly, and the characterizations are engrossing. Love this story. If you love a good demonic fighting, evil against more than just the good, but the strength of humanity, this book should be next on your list. Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton is a definite recommendation by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews. I look forward to reading many more stories by this author.
53) The amazing second installment to this story ★★★★★
As expected, Donald has again [outdone] himself with this amazing second installment to this story. Again, it’s brilliantly written and draws you in from the very start. The story is fast moving and keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what happens next. I can’t wait to start book 3 tomorrow and go back into the [world] of hell holes, demons, monsters, and the war against these scary creatures, which are intent of destroying everything.
52) All Hell Has Broken Loose In Alaska ★★★★★
Events in this book take a small team from the world’s first exploration of a Hell Hole, which had gone tragically wrong in the series prequel, to even more terrifying and fiery confrontations with the denizens of Hell. The plot and heart-stopping action engaged this reader’s interest from the start, and the concepts the story explored elevated fantasy and horror to science fiction.
The pacing and vivid descriptions kept me on the edge of my seat, rooting for the team’s survival. The author’s thorough research into the subjects made the science, technology, and military aspects of the story feel authentic without burying the reader in indigestible details. I like how the entire team works together to escape from the sudden invasion of creatures from Hell. They watch each other’s back at great risk to themselves, which demonstrates real heroism.
This volume of the series is written from the perspective of Angela Menendez, the climatologist wife of Jack Oswald, the petroleum geologist whose assignment brought them to Alaska to study the Hell Holes.
I like Angela. She’s an intellectual equal to her husband and their complimentary fields of study allow them to plan research in the field together. She’s a strong, brave woman and a better shot than her husband. I like the way Angela and Jack are devoted to each other but operate within their marriage and their careers as mutually respected and equal partners.
Curatrix Maxima Aileen O’Shannon is an outstanding character whose paranormal capabilities make her a formidable warrior. As a guardian for humanity, Aileen has trained for centuries to develop magical control of a devil stone. The discovery that there’s a scientific basis for this magic is mind blowing for her and the rest of her order.
The world’s knowledge of the order’s existence is just as staggering. The size and scope of the invasion, the actual existence of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles, and the revelation of their true alien nature becomes literally earth-shaking for the entire world.
I feel honored by the privilege of reading a free advance reader’s copy of this book from the author and publisher via BookSirens because it’s an exceptionally fine series. I’m on to the next part of the story!
51) Will humans win the war against hell’s minions? ★★★★★
I found book 2 in the Hell Hole collection interesting.
Jack and Angie and Eileen find themselves fighting imps, hellhounds, gargoyles, and devil’s who came to take the world over. Or at least the Arctic Circle of it so far.
All the while trying to safely bring two newly orphans to their grandparents. The more they travel, the more they realize that the world is going to be going to war with these devil’s and their minions.
Do these orphans make it safely to their grandparents house? Can the different countries work together and conquer those minions?
You will have to read the book to find out!
I received an advanced review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
50) An interesting engrossing story ★★★★★
A novel idea, well written and entertaining, to have the story follow one long chase across Alaska with a tight small group of characters. Engrossing and tense, excellent highly recommended, and I am looking forward to the final part.
I received a complimentary copy from BookSirens and am leaving a voluntary honest review
49) Wonderful ★★★★★
They’ve found out the holes are not natural. They contain gases that will kill humans. Jack, Angie and Aileen keep moving south. It’s a fight for their lives. The three of them are facing demons from all directions. How can they stop them. Jack and Angie find out Aileen is a 1,700 year old sorceress. With Aileen’s skills Jack and Angie believe they can make the trek to Fairbanks. Now the only question is will there be more demons as they move south?
Outstanding! This book tells a story you can’t miss. Mr. Firesmith has created an amazing situation. I found the book to be very well written, and the characters are three dimensional. This book engulfed me. You really need to read this series. You will enjoy every minute of it. Mr. Firesmith is an auto buy author.
I found no issues.
I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because it blew me away.
48) Good series, waiting for the next one ★★★★★
By Jacqueline M. Johnson on June 30, 2020 (Original Amazon US Review)
I enjoyed these books. The first one started heavy and slow with a lot of important, yet academic information, but it picked up fast and was a enjoyable read with suspense filled encounters. I am proud to support a local author and will continue to do so!
47) Fantastic Job ★★★★★
By Kindle Customer on April 12, 2020 (Original Amazon US Review)
This is the second story I read by this author, and he delivers suspense throughout the story and is interesting. Great job 👏👏👏👏
46) Good series, waiting for the next one ★★★★★
I enjoyed these books. The first one started heavy and slow with a lot of important, yet academic information but it picked up fast and was a enjoyable read with suspense filled encounters. I am proud to support a local author and will continue to do so!
45) Fantastic Author ★★★★★
By Caz on June 26, 2019 (Original Amazon UK Review)
Absolute brilliant series.
44) Fantastic Job ★★★★★
This is the second story I read by this author, and he delivers suspense throughout the story and is interesting. Great job! 👏👏👏👏
43) Science and fiction ★★★★★
By Cliente de Kindle on July 2, 2019 (Original Amazon US Review)
Excellent balance between science and fiction. Also underworld creatures from all kinds of sources. Action and mystery together. Family matters included.
42) Awesome! ★★★★★
By Jon on March 14, 2019 (Original Amazon US Review)
Great book. Can’t wait for the 3rd one.
41) Very good book ★★★★★
I love this book very much, it is action packed. If you love action, this book is a must read.
40) Very good read if you like demons. ★★★★★
Just as good as the first one. Excitement, gore, lots of beasts…….etc. I love the characters. The author makes everything seem normal.
39) Wow! ★★★★★
By Jennie E. Nicassio (Creative Wisperings Reviews) on October 24, 2018 (Original Amazon US Review)
38) Great to read book 1 from husband’s view and book … ★★★★★
By Victoria Watson on June 20, 2018 (Original Amazon US Review)
Book 2 picked up exactly where book 1 ended. Well written enough action to hold interest. Great to read book 1 from husband’s view and book 2 from wife’s view. Donald Firesmith has grabbed my interest to a genre I don’t ever read.
37) Another Great Book ★★★★★
By GradyMurray on May 19, 2018 (Original Amazon US Review)
This is another great book by this author in this series. Full of action, the story continues with the characters from the first book in the series.
36) Demons Dash Down the Dalton ★★★★★
Demons on the Dalton (Hell Holes #2) by Donald G. Firesmith is quite a thrill ride. Both #1 an #2 are quite cinematographic and #2 is sure to be a sequel once #1 is filmed and released. Very excited looking forward to seeing the movie, soon I hope! The married doctors of Geology and Climatology must escape the marauding demons which have emerged from the Hell Holes appearing on the North Shore of Alaska. Escaping with them is their photographer who turns out to be an ancient member of a secret group that has kept humanity safe from these demons who periodically try to conquer humanity. Using her secret amulet, she is able to tip the balance against the demons. The three of them are the last of just a few survivors fleeing south. #2 is the story of their traumatic trip south. Unrelenting terror, bravery and luck – very thrilling!
35) Awesome Read ★★★★★
This book was even better than the first. All of the fighting, mixed with all the new information about the hell holes, demons, and their world was outstanding. I really liked the new twist about demons and Hell. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and horror books.
34) A thriller involving demons, ghouls, gargoyles and hellfire in Alaska ★★★★★
Amazon: When I read the first Hell Holes novel (What Lurks Below), I was uncertain as to whether or not I would post a review. The story was certainly interesting and fast-paced. Lots of authentic-sounding scientific terminology when appropriate, and not used to “impress” the lay reader. The question on my mind was, “This sounds great, but will the follow-up be satisfying and revealing of plot details hinted at in the first one, or will it fizzle?”
I decided to purchase and read Hell Holes #2 (Demons on the Dalton), and it took the established plot details, picked up the pace, and was quite addictive as reading material. The ‘Magic versus Science” elements were very well done.
So, a book well worth the cost, and the bonus of a follow-up even better than this one.
Goodreads: A team of scientists check out mysterious holes in Alaska and find themselves battling hellhounds, imps, and even more deadly supernatural creatures.
When I read Hell Holes #1 (What Lurks Below) I had mixed feelings about posting a review. I figured, “So far, so good”, but questioned whether the next one in the series would continue just as good (or even raise the bar), or fizzle.
So I purchased Hell Holes #2 (Demons on the Dalton), was fully engaged in it from the first sentence and read it all in one day. Thus a five-star review for this one.
Read the books in order. This one was free on Amazon. The second one is $1.24 Canadian on Amazon. A third one is on the way. Win – Win any way you look at it.
33) A fast paced thrill ride, careful, demons are tricky ★★★★★
After learning that the holes that have mysteriously appeared are gates to hell, what is left of Jack’s investigation group decides to live to fight another day and heads to Fairbanks on the Dalton. But they seem to keep finding trouble in one way or another with flat tires, demons, and bathroom breaks. Thankfully, they find the military, and they have a plan.
Thank goodness, Aileen is there to help save the group. They have faced so much loss so far, but it is going to get worse before it gets better. I really enjoyed reading the narrative through Angela’s eyes. It gave this story a fresh spin. I really liked learning more about the Tutores Contra Infernum.
This story is a rush at breakneck speeds as the group tries to keep ahead of the demons and is searching for a way to stop them. You have action, violence, and a great paranormal twist. I love this series and can’t wait for book three to get published.
I received Demons on the Dalton from Silver Dagger Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
32) I would recommend this book to all readers ★★★★★
Demons on the Dalton by Donald G. Firesmith is the second book in the Hell Holes Series. The first book, What Lurks Below, is narrated by Dr. Jack Oswald, however, this book is narrated by his wife Angela. The book begins with a quick recap of what happened in the first book before continuing where that one left off. The three remaining survivors are continuing their journey south. Along the way, they pick up a couple of survivors.
This book has a fast-paced storyline and lots of action. I couldn’t read it fast enough. While the entire book takes place over the course of only one day, it is quite eventful. I found myself at the end hoping to see news of a third book. There is no mention of a third book, but the ending gives the reader hope for a sequel. I would recommend this book to all readers. There is a bit of gore in the book, which is expected given the subject of the story. However, I didn’t feel that this detracted from the story.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
31) Over taken by the demons of hell with vehicles and bodies of humans, gargoyles, imps and demons scattered all over the road… ★★★★★
The remaining members of the crew, Dr. Oswald a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks along with his wife Dr. Menendez and Aileen O’Shannon, that were hired by ExxonMobil to check out these gigantic holes that are appearing on the North Slope near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline are speeding down the Dalton highway as if the demons of hell are hot on their heels. Wait they are.
They are speeding down the longest and most dangerous roads ever faster than is reasonably safe trying to outrun the demons when Aileen shouts they have brought fire and brimstone. They are racing down the Dalton highway with imps, demons, hellhounds, gargoyles with fire and brimstone raining down upon them.
They are racing down the road hoping to run into the military and make it into Fairbanks and hopefully safety. Along the way, they run into a convoy that was overtaken by the demons of hell with vehicles and bodies of humans, gargoyles, imps and demons scattered all over the road, civilian vehicles and military as well. They pick up themselves a couple of bigger guns, assault rifles and load up their pockets with magazines. They find a couple of kids, a little boy and his sister, nine-year-old Adam and six-year-old Amy who they take under the wing and promise to get them to safety.
Dr. Oswald is racing down the highway with imps and demons flying in all directions after being hit by their car when Dr. Oswald takes a 90 degree turn at thirty miles faster than is relatively safe. I can just see Dr. Oswald ducking as he makes this turn going way faster than he should be not only ducking because of fire and brimstone or even the demons chasing them, but expecting his wife to start yelling at him and knocking him upside the head for taking the turn so fast.
It was just as intense with Demons on the Dalton book #2 of Hell Holes as it was with What Lurks Below book #1 feeling as if I was in the car with them racing down Dalton highway with the demons of hell hot on our heels. It was so intense that I could feel the heat from the fire as it went sailing by the vehicle, and I think I was jumping with the windows exploding from the heat, and I was always worried about Adam and Amy wondering where they were at times during the battles and how they were dealing with it all. They were braver little campers. Adam took such great and loving care of his little sister.
This has been a long ride down one of the longest roads ever during a very short period of time packed with lots of heart-pounding adrenaline-pumping action that will leave you hanging on for more and wanting to know what is around the next turn.
I would recommend Demons on the Dalton to anyone who loves a fast driven, heart pounding, bodies flying everywhere kind of action novel.
30) Book 2 even better ★★★★★
Book 2 is the thoughts and actions of the 2nd main character Dr. Angela Menendez. The first book is Dr. Jack Oswald’s words. Being thrown into her own hell on earth, the 3 survivors of the first book must find a way to fight their way to a safe place from demons imps and hellhounds. The Dr.’s are married and are not in the belief that they will make it to a safe place alive but determined to fight to get there. They pick up one problem then trade it for 2 more. The book is a quick interesting read, and the end is a small cliffhanger can’t wait to see what will happen and who wins.
29) Outstanding second book in this series ★★★★★
By Clinton Sites on January 14, 2018 (Original Goodreads Review)
Having read the first novel in this series – which caught my eye due to the title and the description, which I thought was excellent also I just had to get this one.
The first novel is written in third-person (a narrator is telling the story) – which works very well when introducing/explaining new apocalyptic scenario – this novel is written in first-person which really gets the blood flowing and the brain turning over. The descriptions of the team’s travels, fights and battles in the first person really put you there!
An excellent read that I couldn’t put down!
28) Great book ★★★★★
By Clair Gregory on January 13, 2018 (Original Amazon UK Review)
This book is a great read with lots of action. Can’t wait for the next episode. I found the subject matter particularly interesting.
27) Excellent book ★★★★★
By Garry K on January 7, 2018 (Original Amazon Canada Review)
Good storyline, well written. Keeps you wanting to read more. Can’t wait for follow up. [My] only complaint is that you are getting a part book with each release, then have to wait. Also a little too much detail, but some writers are like that ([Peter] Straub, for example).
26) This is really a great story ★★★★★
By Zippy Inger on January 1, 2018 (Original Amazon Review)
Wow!! Fantastic! This is a really great story. Constant action and very well written. I felt like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. This one is told by the main female character, Dr. Angela Menendez. Whereas the first book is being narrated by the husband, Dr. Jack Oswald. They are both very smart and likable characters. It’s very fast paced and has tons of demons and monsters. Though there is a lot of violence it’s not to graphic and it doesn’t have any graphic sex either. I recommend it and am looking forward to the next one of the series. “I received a complimentary ARC copy for an honest review.” Which I gave.
25) Better than book 1 ★★★★★
By Raymond on December 31, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Even better than book 1. Can’t wait to buy number 3. Never mind, author forgot to write number 3. ?
24) ? HELL-LUV-A BOOK!! ? ★★★★★
When you open this book you better NOT expect a slow lull, stereotype, slow read, because in that case your in the wrong book. This book has a delightful freshness, inventiveness, and holds high pace with characters that are vivid and appealing. It has a very intriguing story-line that captures the reader’s imagination and doesn’t let it slip away even for a second. It’s absolutely out of the question to even consider putting it down, regardless of what else might need attention; it’s far too thrilling for that. It is definitely a MUST read for paranormal addicts who want a fresh, very clever, fast-paced read with quantum sized treasures of the hellishly unsuspected. I must say I love the way the author has noted the anomaly of the holes, and that that triggered this very inspired series.
23) No Title ★★★★★
By Nadine Chucri on December 20, 2017 (Original Am Kinda Busy Reading!! Review)
I read both books quite quickly back to back! I think each came to around a couple of hundred pages on my kindle and for me that is a short quickie read!
My question is when do we get book 3?
Back to the books at hand and I have to say that I really liked them, I loved the storyline quite a lot and we have also some fantastic characters. My favorite is Aileen, nothing wrong with Jack and Angela but Aileen really stood out for me from the get-go!
As I said, I loved the plot and I found it really original, it is not every day that big black holes appear in the earth especially around the north part of the planet, plus you make demons come out of them and you have me being a very happy girl!
But as I was reading and thinking about it, I was wondering why Alaska, Siberia and other parts that are far north? Let me explain so in the story those holes appear there and we even have a logical convo as to why they did not show in Antarctica.
But why not around the Equator? central Europe? South East Asia? I don’t get it.. the demons created those holes to attack us, wouldn’t they then go for more densely packed populated areas? Maybe I missed something, it is possible….
But other than that, in the books we had everything! Fights, magic, smart quips, battles gruesome deaths… pretty much what I enjoy best!
Honestly, I finished them too quickly and I felt like I wanted much more, or maybe there could have been room for more in each book.
So if I recall correctly, both books cover a handful of days since page 1 and considering the fact that now humans are at war with demons, it makes me wonder how big this series is going to be. I am not saying that in any negative way, but know some series are planned from the get-go to be a certain number of books so it would put my mind at ease if I knew as well so that I can understand the pace and the timeline better. I am nosy like that I like to plan these things out!
So if you are like me and you love action-packed battle with demons, then these 2 books (with more to come) are certainly for you! Plus Aileen is so so so awesome, it well worth the read for her alone! These books are really easy and quick to read and really enjoyable!
I am going to highly recommend them and hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
22) Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton ★★★★★
By Terri Lewis on December 5, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Great book. I was up all night reading it. I can’t wait for book 3.
21) Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton ★★★★★
By Sharon N on December 3, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
[The] second book in the series read. Another excellent tale of demons and creatures that want to take over our planet. The three main folks in this book are caught up in fighting to save their own lives as well as the rest of the world. Another tale that leaves you on the edge of their seat. Definitely recommend this book. Hope there is a third book continuing this saga.
20) Can’t wait to see it on the big screen ★★★★★
We all just might get to see Hell Holes on the big screen. Right now scriptwriters are working on it, you can read the [initial outline of the script] on Donald Firesmith’s website.
Demons on the Dalton picks right up where “What Lurks Below” left off. There is a difference this time as the book is told through the eyes of Angela Jack’s wife, instead of Jack himself. At first, I wasn’t sure but once I started to read, the story took over and Angela in a sense was as good as her husband.
Book Two is faster than book one, and we get to see more demons and the exact scale of things. Most of the book is staged on the Dalton, but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. The danger element is always there, and one scene that I found to be written exceptionally well was when they were driving through a wall of fire. I could almost feel the heat while reading it.
Mr. Firesmith has a way of not just telling a story but educating us also, which is something I loved. Aileen as always is amazing and we get to learn more about her own secret society and the demons.
The ending isn’t the cliffhanger that book one was, but I wanted book three even more than I had wanted book two because of the way it ends, and I really can’t wait to get to read it.
Overall a fast and exciting read that I would recommend to all fantasy and sci-fi readers.
19) Don Firesmith has done it again ★★★★★
This awesome creation is an exciting read – quite an adventure!!! Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton continues the terrifying tale begun in book one, and I recommend it to everyone that enjoys a fantastic and well-written adventure. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series. Well done, Mr. Firesmith!!!
18) Five Stars ★★★★★
By Amazon Customer on October 4, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Because I could not put it down, I read half the book in one night.
17) A fun read. Highly recommended. ★★★★★
By Jeri J & Rich Walker on October 4, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Even better than the first one! A great mix of science and fantasy. I also liked the way that the characters were filled out. This made the story more personal, which made me feel like I was there with them.
16) Gest ★★★★★
By Kindle Customer on August 2, 2017 (Original Amazon UK Review)
What a clever new type of book. Really enjoyed both one and two of the series. Can’t wait to see what happens in the third book.
15) The first in the series made me sit up and take note ★★★★★
Amazon Review: This, the second installment does not disappoint. Definitely a new author to follow closely! Already on my follow list. Broke my own (self-imposed) rule about buying ANY more books to grab this one. I’m sure I’ll still happily break it again. THESE BOOKS ARE ADDICTIVE.
Goodreads Review: When a body gets the opportunity to read a series such as this one, they oughtn’t hesitate. After all, it’s not every day a book comes along (let alone an entire SERIES!) that will pull you from whatever drama is going on wherever you are, and keep a reader breathlessly turning pages until well into the night!
14) Great read!!! ★★★★★
By Joshua S. Bishop on June 26, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
This book and the first book in the series were great reads. It was hard to put them down for a minute. Good characters and plot. An alternate look at a first contact situation. Can’t wait till the next in the series.
13) Hot, hot, hot! ★★★★★
By Amy Hubbard on April 26, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
I love that the author used a different point of view in [the] story! Join the remaining group from Pump Station 2…the 1700-year-old Demon Hunter, the Climatologist, and the Geologist as they continue to battle their way through the occupants of hell! Now they are joined up with the army. Will they be successful in their mission! Can’t wait to read the next book!
12) More dangerous ★★★★★
By Brandy Mulder on April 25, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
I thought this was interesting as it picks up right where the first book stopped but it’s from his wife’s [point of view]. You don’t have to read the first book as there is a small recap at the beginning but I recommend reading it first as there are a lot of details. This book covers their trip down a dangerous highway trying to escape the demons. Lots of danger, blood, and horror surround them as they also have to decide if people are actually devils hiding as people. There is violence and no adult content. I recommend 13+ age.
11) Hell comes to town, yes it did. And you will like it ★★★★★
By ReallyBigSwede on April 20, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Love the series. I really like the twist and a new kind of sy-fy. I so far read 2 of them going to get the other really fast.
10) Official Review: Hell Holes 2 by Donald Firesmith (4 out of 4 Stars – Excellent*) ★★★★★
By Lane Vespertine on October 27, 2016 (Original Online Book Club Review)
* Because the Online Book Club rating system only goes up to 4 stars (described as either “Excellent” or “Amazing!”), I have lumped this review in with the standard 5-star reviews.
Hell Holes 2 is the action-horror sequel to Hell Holes, written by Donald Firesmith. It is the continuation of an event first described in Hell Holes, namely that holes have opened in Northern Alaska and demons are coming out of them. In the first book, the perspective is of Dr. Jack Oswald. But in Hell Holes 2, we now follow the words and reactions of his wife and fellow scientist, Dr. Angela Menendez. The format with which these narratives are presented is via the “I Remember Project,” which details the first-hand experiences of those involved with the demon invasion through their own words long after the events have concluded.
If you are interested in going back to the first Hell Holes and starting from the beginning, please skip ahead past the next two paragraphs because they will give a general summary of the plot of the second in the series and include spoilers of the first. Still here? Good. Dr. Menendez begins by giving an account of how she, her husband, a photojournalist named Aileen O’Shannon, and four others made a trek to a mysterious hole that opened on the North Slope. She continues to say that demons came out of the hole and killed four of her party, leaving just her, her husband, and O’Shannon.
After many close calls, the story now picks up with the three of them driving south to keep ahead of the demon invasion. O’Shannon, far from being a photojournalist, is actually a “guardian,” part of a secretive group called the Tutores Contra Infernum who have tasked themselves with fighting demons throughout history whenever they appear. These demons are classed into two groups, lower and higher. The lower demons are venomous animals and include hellhounds (much bigger than a wolf) and gargoyles. The higher demons are more anthropomorphic and intelligent and include imps (small and moderately intelligent) and devils (adult human-sized and devilishly clever.) The two academics and the guardian, who can use what many would call magic, encounter problems and roadblocks because of these demons along their way south on the Dalton Highway.
I did not read the first book, Hell Holes, before reading its sequel. Although I had no problems figuring out who the characters were and what had happened before, I would still recommend that any reader interested should begin at the beginning. If I had known how much fun I was going to have reading Hell Holes 2, I would have started with the first one. Unfortunately, since I know what happened in the second, and I doubt it would be as thrilling as it should be.
The only detail of the book that simply didn’t work for me was the structure of the “I Remember Project.” It is very reminiscent of the book World War Z, where it did work. Here, however, since the whole of the novel is the perspective of one woman, it seems superfluous. I do not feel there is a need to explain why the perspective from the first book changed, let alone attaching that shift to a larger “Project.” In short, it is unnecessary and unmemorable. I had forgotten its existence entirely until reviewing my notes for this review.
I was genuinely surprised [by] how engaged I was with this story. I expected it to be a bit of fun and maybe an easy way to kill an afternoon. It was both but also had a professionalism and maturity that, for me, took it to the next level.
A small detail in Hell Holes 2 endeared me to it. Two of the main characters are married academic doctors (as in, Ph.D.) There is no point in this novel where the male character is referred to as “Dr.” and the female character is called anything other than “Dr.” It is a pet peeve of mine in books and television (and life) that women who have earned a title are usually called by their first name when their title is relevant. This detail should not, on its own, be a reason for applause. But by avoiding an example of common and subtle gender-related discrimination, Hell Holes 2 gives full professional respect to the women in the story, and that is awesome.
Hell Holes 2 has a lot of silly elements; magic and demons mostly. But that fact doesn’t stop Firesmith from both having a great name and writing this story very well. The characters are relatable, the pace is driving, and the editing is almost perfect. Crazy events happen non-stop throughout Hell Holes 2, but I never felt confused or unclear about exactly where everyone was or what they were doing. For this feat, I congratulate the author and rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
9) Another Great Book in the Series ★★★★★
By Amazon Customer on October 9, 2016 (Original Amazon Review – Amazon review deleted 22 February 2018)
Another great book in the series. Extremely action packed but still feels very real. I enjoyed getting to know a little more about the characters. I also very much enjoyed the military aspect of the book; it added a realness to the book I quite enjoyed. Can’t wait for book three.
8) Can’t Wait for the Next Volume!! ★★★★★
By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
I really enjoyed reading this book on the heals of the first volume. This one takes the story further and develops characters more fully as they move through even greater challenges. Both were great fun and this volume improves upon the first. One thing I really enjoy is how easy it is to imagine the scenes the book describes. One can almost watch the movie in their heads as they read. Really super job!
7) Great 2nd Book of Hell Holes ★★★★★
By Gina and Patrick Costin on July 22, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
Dr. Jack Oswald tells of the first four days of their expedition to The North Slope, Alaska. Sent there to research the strange sinkholes cropping up all over Alaska Dr. Jack Oswald tells of the events leading up to the expedition and once there the things that he and his team witnessed and endured at the location and continues until the team barely escapes from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline’s Pump Station 2. You will find this horrifyingly emotional tale in Book 1, Hell Holes: What Lurks Below.
This is book 2 of Hell Holes and is given the title Demons on the Dalton, by Dr. Jack Oswald’s wife, Dr. Angela Menendez. She continues from where Jack left off. The moment they escaped Pump Station 2 and started out on their harrowing 350-mile trek along the Dalton Highway heading to Fairbanks.
This book is full of fast-paced action, as well as emotional turmoil and a few times I found myself clutching my computer desk, unable to stop reading because I was so anxious about what would happen next. There were definitely some surprises I didn’t expect, that the book would have been fine without, but added another layer of amped up adrenaline, which made it even more realistic.
I myself have never been a fan of sci-fi, but after reading these two books by Donald Firesmith I am looking forward to checking out some more sci-fi books, and hopefully, he will continue on with a third book of this series.
6) Hell Holes – Demons on the Dalton ★★★★★
By R. P. Smith on April 29, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
This novel follows on from the first novel, Hell Holes – What Lurks Below and is, again, written in journal form but this time by Dr. Angela Menendez, the wife of the author of the first journal. She follows on more-or-less where the last account ended, and it’s amazing that a book written by the same author (Donald Firesmith) can fool one into thinking that it’s written by a completely different person. Such is the strength of the writing that the new “author” (Dr. Menendez) shines through and her personality & the writing style is quite different to that of the other journal’s surrogate author, her fictional husband.
Again, the novel is rapid-fire action, all the way and I really can’t wait for the next installment.
5) Demons on the Dalton: A Fast-Paced, Will-They-Make-It Thriller ★★★★★
By Heidi A. Price on May 7, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
I have to admit that this isn’t my usual genre, but I was captivated from pretty much the first page. Demons on the Dalton is a fast-paced, will-they-make-it thriller that also takes small detours into details that give you an even stronger relationship with the characters that Firesmith introduced us to in Hell Holes: What Lurks Below. Firesmith knows his Alaskan terrain, and that reflects in his writing, which leaves his readers with a sense of the majesty and desolation of northern Alaska.
This book is about demons and fantastical creatures to be sure, but it also explores themes of beauty, kindness, protecting our ecosystem, and the strength of long-time love.
4) More Excitement in Alaska ★★★★★
By firstname.lastname@example.org on May 24, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
The second book of Donald Firesmith’s Hell Hole series, Demons on the Dalton, is just as riveting if not more so than the first one.
The continuing saga of the plight and flight of the scientists and their Curatrix will keep you totally enthralled. The mix of fantasy and science is perfect to make the story believable. If you like fantasy, science, and a good thriller, this is the book for you.
I can’t wait to see the continuation of the story.
3) Great Pace ★★★★★
By MerriSki on May 31, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
Great follow on to the first book. The story moves at a fast pace and definitely holds your interest. It is suspenseful, and I find myself caring more and more about the characters and rooting for them to win. I can’t wait for the third book to find out what is inside a hell hole!
2) Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire ★★★★★
Join the team after they have survived the attacks that the “hell holes” have brought upon the oil fields of Alaska. Follow along as they try to escape with their lives, but they will soon find out that they are out of the frying pan and into the fire.
First things first, take a look at that awesome cover. Really gives the reader a feeling that they are going to be going for a ride when they pick this book out.
In “crossover” books like this (it’s fantasy and real-world), it’s easy to get caught up in the details. Trying to explain why someone has magical powers or where a character came from can really bog down a good story. Firesmith is able to skip these mundane details but still write a story that feels full and detail-oriented. I love the fact that I don’t normally like books with fantasy elements in them, but the Hell Holes series has allowed me to enjoy a sprinkle of fantasy with my thrillers.
The fantasy elements (in case you’re curious) involve different demons: gargoyles, imps, and hell hounds. Along with a witch or curatrix as she is called in these books. There is also a secret society of people who have been keeping these demons at bay for centuries. Now, sprinkle these elements in with an extremely well thought out thriller and I’m intrigued.
Overall, Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton was a wonderfully written book that had my heart pounding from beginning to end. A thriller through and through.
The length was really nice for me too. Sometimes I enjoy reading a novella or a shorter novel. Especially when you pack as much into them as Firesmith has with Demons on the Dalton.
I was given an early copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
1) Hell Day Plus One ★★★★★
By Pavel H. on May 4, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
The book describes Hell Day Plus One, an escape from the Alaska North Slope and continuing south on the Dalton Highway. You will probably read this book in one breath, once you started the previous Hell Holes: What Lurks Below. Especially, if you like books with solid scientific underpinnings in Michael Crichton’s style with a touch of J.K. Rowling’s magic.
4 Star Reviews
26) Renee’s Review ★★★★☆
By Renee on 13 May 2021 (Original Goodreads Review)
This one is miles better than the first for the action, though I still wouldn’t necessarily say it fits my personal preference for horror. The characters are a little stiff, and predictable, but that’s to be expected with this sort of book. Changing the PoV character wasn’t something I expected, and I definitely enjoyed Angela in the first one a ton, but the actual characterization from the PoV didn’t seem to change much, it didn’t feel like I was reading a different character’s voice. The chapters were also, again, very long; something I don’t generally expects from a horror or thriller type of novel. The pace did keep up, though, which is why I have to say it’s not too bad. A fun read, if you’re looking for a bit of an adventure.
25) Read now! ★★★★☆
By Michelle LaMirand on 12 April 2021 (Original Amazon CA Review)
Demons on the Dalton will change what you think you know about otherworldly creatures. Very interesting read!
BookSirens was gracious enough to provide me an advance copy, and I leave this review voluntarily.
24) Kristine’s review ★★★★☆
By Kristine on 11 March 2021 (Original Goodreads Review)
Hell Holes #2 continues the story from the perspective of Angela, Jacks wife. Their goal is to travel down the Dalton Highway until they reach Fairbanks. Hopefully they will find a military presence & safety there. They know the locations of other pump stations; plan A is to get enough fuel to continue the journey without stopping any more than necessary. There are also a couple small towns that they hope can provide food & updated information.
Plan B? They are hoping that Aileen can come up with one! The story is still filled with accurate descriptions & realistic characters. Hey Netflix…we got a movie possibility here!
I received this ebook from Book Sirens for a voluntary review.
23) Bob’s review ★★★★☆
By Bob on 19 January 2021 (Original Goodreads Review)
Interesting but far fetched. Though I suppose all fantasy is of that nature. I liked the characters, and the author gave them an individuality and was creative in his scene settings.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
22) Bishop’s review ★★★★☆
By Elaine Bishop on 4 January 2021 (Original Goodreads Review)
I liked this book better than the first one. It brings more to the plot. The team from Exxon is sent to see why these previously ice covered holes are opening up. Here comes the Bomb, the ice is melting and demons are escaping on a run to crush, kill, destroy! Only 3 of the 7 sent survive a slaughter at Pump Station 2. Now there is a race to Fairbanks to try to get them evacuated or ready to fight. Like I said this one was far better than the first for the action, but was also told by another team member. I won’t give any secrets out, you have to read it for yourself.
21) Margaret’s review ★★★★☆
By Margaret on November 19, 2020 (Original Goodreads Review)
Wow! Each book in this engrossing series builds upon the other. It is a well written fast read. The well defined characters held you spell bound. I was glued to my seat. Wow!
This series grabs you and sucks you in. Nothing could interrupt my reading. Pick up a copy today and find out yourself! Great book! Read and enjoy!
I received a free ARC of this book from BookSirens and this is my voluntary honest review.
20) A must-read series that everyone should read. ★★★★☆
Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton is book 2 in the series, and just like the first book, I enjoyed reading it which is full of action and adventure.
The liked the story line, and it’s my favorite book in this series. I enjoyed reading this, and it really took me on a new adventure.
The author, Donald Firesmith, has done a great amount of hard work in crafting such a creative and imaginative series.
From the very start, the book is very gripping and entertaining just like the first book, and when I finished reading, I just wished I had the third book to continue, too.
I loved reading both books and can’t wait to read the third.
Overall it’s a must-read series that everyone should read.
19) Great follow up to the first book ★★★★☆
This book was a great read. The action picks up, and the cliffhanger ending from the first book results in a great beginning for this book. I loved the attention to detail on all the military vehicles and the hierarchy of the military soldiers. I loved the battle sequences, especially the big climax that I won’t spoil. The climatic battle is the best part of the book in my opinion, seeming more actionized, and I can picture a big rock-sounding theme being played over it.
And I can’t wait to find out what happens to the new survivors and Jill in the third book.
18) Good Book ★★★★☆
By Kindle Customer on January 28, 2019 (Original Amazon US Review)
I was hoping that the story would end in this book, but it did not. This book was just as exciting as the first one. I am happy that the main characters made it, but they probably won’t in the next book.
17) Book 2 ★★★★☆
I’m so glad book 2 was available immediately after reading book 1. And I really wish book 3 was ready now. I want to know how it ends. Back in the day, it would have just been a big book, lol, but it seems this is way it’s done these days.
It’s rather interesting, the premise of this story. Not something I would have thought about but in a way, some of it is quite possible. I like the spin that was put on the purpose of the holes. And there were quite a bit of interesting ideas in the realm of magicalism and demonology, always fun to read.
Book 1 was from the guy’s view. Book 2 was from the gal’s. Will book 3 be from the witch, oops I mean guardian’s, or from the demon’s? 🙂 Hmmmm.
16) The Battle Continues ★★★★☆
By KStateKev on February 19, 2018 (Original Amazon Review)
Book Two of the Hell Holes series builds on the events of the first book and tells the story from Dr. Menendez’s point of view, whereas Book One was narrated by Jack, her husband. We pick up where we left off, with our desperate survivors fleeing the demon invasion, heading south on the Dalton Highway.
Book Two covers much more ground than the first one, both literally and figuratively. By the end of this book, I felt like I had traveled with the characters. Mr. Firesmith packs a lot into this short novel, and I really enjoyed it. He has a good sense of place and time, and clearly loves his characters.
There are far fewer typos in this book compared to Book One. The action flows smoothly, although some of the dialogue is still kind of stiff. This may be due to all the military people in the book.
I give this book four stars for a job well done. I am waiting eagerly for the next installment.
15) Dashing to Armageddon ★★★★☆
By Manie Killian on January 24, 2018 (Original Amazon Review)
Three people survived the slaughter at pump station 2. What remains is a mad dash for Fairbanks, a distance of close on 350 miles on a road that is at best not really suited for ease of travel in a small vehicle what with potholes and imps on gargoyles intend on bombing any moving vehicle with corrosive Brimstone bombs.
Dashing for Fairbanks may prove to be a pipe dream and if successful, might prove to have been a dash to Armageddon.
Once again Dr. Jack Oswald, his wife, Angela, and the curatrix Aileen O’Shannon are assailed on all sides in an effort simply to survive the almost casual and relentless onslaught of the hellish creatures invading earth. The action is nonstop and the chance for survival slim indeed. Yet, to give up is to die.
I am a surprise if belated fan of this series. However, I did not expect humor to crack me up as much as it did when this group of valiant survivors reached an army post planning a retaliatory strike against hell. The codename for this counter-offensive? Wait for it… Righteous Exorcism!
Really? But it certainly left me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Enjoy!
14) If you liked the first one, then you’re going to want this one. ★★★★☆
This is the second book in a series. I read and enjoyed the first book, Hell Holes: What Lurks Below. Like Hell Holes 1 this is a fast, exciting read and if you like books in which our world is not as it seems then you will probably like this.
The writer made the bold choice to use a different character as the first-person narrator in this book. I think the choice worked to both extend the cliffhanger at the end of the first book and to give a slightly different perspective on the events of the first book. [Goodreads: While I don’t like to hand out virtual cookies to male authors for being able to write convincing women I think he’s done an excellent job of writing from a female point of view.] This narrator has a different narrative voice than the narrator of the first book but the feel of the world of the story remains consistent which is not necessarily an easy feat to pull off.
My only real criticism is that there’s a lot of exposition. I think it’s a mostly unavoidable side effect of being the second book of a series that has a lot of world-building going on. At least this exposition is well written and fits naturally into the dialogue scenes. The reader is learning stuff at the same time as the characters are.
All in all, an excellent sequel that sets things up well for the third book.
13) Enjoying his stories ★★★★☆
By Book Addict’s Reviews on December 22, 2017 (Original Amazon Review – Deleted by Amazon)
Book two is very action-packed compared to the first! I enjoyed the furthering along of the story with seeing demons introduced from the first book and somehow the US military getting involved. It’s a very imaginative world with fun characters and plot! I am enjoying Firesmith’s stories greatly.
12) though I would have liked it to be a bit longer ★★★★☆
By lladnar on December 18, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Very well written with engaging characters. Fast paced and enjoyable, though I would have liked it to be a bit longer. I will definitely read the sequel!
11) Fun follow up in a wicked series ★★★★☆
It started with mysterious holes appearing overnight in the tundra of the North Slope in Alaska. A team of seven, including Jack, a geologist, his wife, Angela, a climatologist, Aileen, a reporter with a secret power, and four others are hired by Exxon Mobil to investigate. When the very hounds of Hell crawl out of one of the holes and start killing, the team races south on Dalton Highway, one of the ten most dangerous roads, trying to reach Fairbanks and safety. Soon, imps and gargoyles join the hellhounds in pursuit. Only three of the team members make it to the SUV and begin their escape. The Demon War has begun.
Jack told his story of how it all began in the first book. Now, Angela tells what happens next.
As the three survivors race down the highway, they encounter more and more demons. And the demons have some surprising tricks up their sleeve that don’t bode well. It’s attack after attack. Every time it seems like they’ve found safety, it goes to hell in a handbasket. Even the military, with all of their technology and weapons, don’t stand a chance.
After what I’ve just read, I have now decided that if there’s ever an apocalypse, I’ll take zombies over demons any time. Some of these of creatures are dumber than a box of rocks, but they are guided by higher demons, smart ones, and can inflict major damage.
The author sure doesn’t give his characters a break. And he keeps the action and suspense at full throttle. How many demons are there? Do they have a weakness? And most important, how do we stop them? The answer is one you can’t begin to imagine.
I take from the ending that there’s more to come. I have an idea where it will go and sure excited to see how that works out.
10) Four Stars ★★★★☆
By Harry on October 25, 2017 (Original Amazon India Review)
9) Review of Hell Holes Demons on the Dalton ★★★★☆
By Sonya Loraine Beadle on September 23, 2017 (Original Amazon UK Review)
Ridiculously far-fetched but nevertheless enjoyable, the pace of the action and the well rounded characters kept me enthralled throughout.
8) Great Adventure ★★★★☆
Amazon Australia: The author continues the drama with book 2. Demons, imps and gargoyles invade Alaska via hell holes with geologists, good magic – and the US Army – keeping the action going. Looking forward to Book 3.
Smashwords: Book 2 continues straight on without a gap. As the demon invasion gathers momentum, our geologists flee towards the possible safety of ťhe US Army, but the hoards are equally determined to stop them. The race is on !! Can they hold out? Fast-paced with tense moments all along the Dalton Highway.
7) Action packed ★★★★☆
This book 2 maintains the same level of heart-pumping action. As told by the wife’s perspective, it does a good job of recapping book one to transition to the action in book two. There is a lot of blood and tragedy so be forewarned. The relationship between husband and wife seems so very clinical but when you factor in that they are scientists, these two may not be the lovey covey type. There are great new elements in book two that fits in perfectly to the continuing storyline. A great fast-paced read!
6) Great! ★★★★☆
This is a great second installment of this series! I really liked that a different character’s perspective was given in this book. The story is fast-paced and full of action and adventure. I was pleased to see more information and background given on one of the characters. While this book can be read as a stand-alone – the author does a great job of summarizing the first book – I highly recommend reading the books in order to get the full impact of the story. I’m looking forward to reading what comes next.
5) I recommend this series to any adult fan of fast-paced and action-packed Sci-fi’s and Paranormal stories ★★★★☆
By Stories To Live By (Courtney) on April 2, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
After losing so many members, Jack Oswald’s research team turns into a three-person survival group consisting of: a geologist (Jack), a climatologist (Angie) and a 1,400-year-old curatrix / demon hunter (Aileen). Faced with only two real options: A) Stay, fight and (most likely) die or B) Venture down the treacherous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks.
Deciding they would rather take their chances on the Dalton, the three survivors take off and begin their 350-mile race to safety. However, the dangers of traveling the severely worn and unpredictable terrain of one of the world’s most dangerous roads is the least of their problems. The hellish army of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles are advancing, ruthlessly destroying everything and everyone in their path.
Along the way, the group is faced with all kinds of life-threatening situations. Between picking up tricky, hitchhiking devils, flat tires, demonic attacks, and much-needed bathroom breaks, and all in such a short manner of time, they just can’t seem to catch a break. Two additions to the team are eventually made when they come across two young siblings, Adam and Amy Anderson, alone and in desperate need of help. Together they narrowly escape an enclosing forest fire, only to exit right into the middle of a battlefield between the U.S. Army and the demons.
Helping the army win the battle, they team up to formulate a plan that they hope will destroy the demons once and for all, or at the very least prevent them from returning to Earth indefinitely. They’re going to go back to the Hell Holes, find the demons’ portal and move the battle to their world.
“If we are truly going to stop them, we will have to go into hell to do it.”
Demons on the Dalton by Donald G. Firesmith is written in Dr. Angela Menendez’s POV, starting where What Lurks Below ends. I like that in this series (so far), each book is written in a different perspective. While I still recommend reading book 1, Dr. Angela Menendez gives a great recap of her husbands account of the teams first four days, since Jack received that phone call from Kowalski until right before starting their trip down the Dalton highway.
I did notice a bit more spelling and grammar mistakes in this book and a couple of repeating lines, but not so many that they take away from the story.
I was glad to see that Aileen O’Shannon’s character and the secret society she’s apart of was explained more in-depth. We even get to meet a few more members of the Tutores Contra Infernum . Very interesting.
I enjoyed the second installment of the Hell Holes series and look forward to seeing where book 3 will take us. I recommend this series to any adult fan of: Fast-paced and action-packed Sci-fi’s and Paranormal stories.
**** I received an eBook copy of this title in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to Booktasters for introducing me to this author and thank you to Donald G. Firesmith for giving me the chance to read and review his books. ****
4) A nice continuation ★★★★☆
By Amanda Kaye on January 20, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
First off let me say this is the second in a series and that you will want to read book one first. That being said don’t read any farther unless you want to see spoilers. In book one a team went to discover why hundreds of holes opened in the ground near an Alaskan pipeline. What they found was terrifying, demons from a version of “hell”. And we found out that Aileen, the photographer that was brought along, was not a normal person. Only 3 survived that encounter, 2 scientists (the married couple of Angela and Jack) and Aileen. Aileen is from an ancient order that is protecting humans. In this book the 3 are trying to run from the demon army and Aileen is doing her best to keep them alive, but how long will she be successful? Not to give too much away but in this book we see the US military flex its muscles, as well as some other things, happening.
This was an interesting continuation to the series and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. Although in my opinion there could have been some fighting between Angela and Jack because they seem too nice to each other. Adding in the children seems to add in a newer sense of urgency than before. You can actually picture the demons in your head from the descriptions.
3) There was enough nail-biting and plenty of surprises to keep me wholly satisfied as I read ★★★★☆
By Angela Kay on January 18, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton is volume two of What Lurks Below. It’s another action/adventure written by Donald Firesmith. This time, we’re in Dr. Angela Menendez’s (Dr. Jack Oswald’s wife) point of view. She picks up where we left off in volume one. Oswald and his team are desperately trying to escape the demons that are set on pursuing them.
The character development was a bit lacking. There was not a whole lot of conflict as I’d imagined there would be. After all, stress and fear make even the nicest person a tiny bit snippy, and I saw none of that in the story. However, I was eager enough to see what would happen next to not worry about the lack of character conflicts. There was enough nail-biting and plenty of surprises to keep me wholly satisfied as I read. The ending was left as though a continuation could come into play. Or possibly it’s left for our imagination to work out. We’ll see what Firesmith has in store for us next.
2) Another Winner in the Hell Holes Series ★★★★☆
By Dave Robertson on August 31, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton is another action-packed battle/race with demons that were introduced in the first book. Like the first book, the story moves pretty steadily with liberal amounts of action and suspense. In this second installment, the US military gets involved and we’re put right into the middle of a war. There are some other new elements in book 2, but I won’t spoil it for those who have yet to read it. If you like action/adventure, this book will not disappoint you. I’m looking forward to book 3.
Dave Robertson, Author of Strange Hunting, Strange Hunting II, and The Brave and The Dead
1) I Certainly Enjoyed the Ride ★★★★☆
By Caitlin Halvorson on May 15, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
I am a coworker at Coldfoot Camp and we received copies of both Hell Holes books for our review. Many thanks to the author for this considerate gesture. Though I can’t speak for the rest of camp (I’m not sure who else here has had time to read it) I will say that, after reading both books today, I certainly enjoyed the ride. The pace was fast, the action near-constant, and the descriptions of the demons and their invasion appropriately grotesque. Despite occasional inaccuracies, the setting was researched well and the descriptions of the far north do well to convey the vast, beautiful, and bleak nature of the area. There are some aspects of the characters I would have enjoyed seeing developed more, and some more editing work would have been useful; still, this was a fun read and I am looking forward to the next installment.
[Author’s note: The book has gone through a second round of editing since this review was written.]
3 Star Reviews
6) Another paranormal, action-packed horror show. ★★★☆☆
By C.E. Clayton (Chelscey) on July 19, 2019 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Demon’s on the Dalton is the second in the Hell Hole’s serial trilogy and picks up pretty immediately from where the first in the series left off. Although, this book spends a decent chunk early on recapping and re-familiarizing the reader with what happened in the first novella, so if you don’t read the first one, I don’t think you’ll be totally lost, though I do think the excitement of the first book is higher than in the second. We get Angela’s perspective this time as our trio of survivors race across the Dalton. The majority of the story is spent with our characters in their vehicle, barely able to stop to pee on the side of the road before all manner of hellspawn is on top of them. Their mission is still primarily to survive, to get to Fairbanks, and safety. But as the U.S. military mobilizes and starts their counter-attack, their mission shifts, becoming more than just survival, but helping the powers that be to end the unending wave of demonic creatures that are pouring into our world.
The action in Firesmith’s novella rarely lets up, which is exactly what you want with these kinds of serialized series. But there’s not a ton new in this story that we didn’t get from the first one. We are still only presented with the same four types of demonic creatures, though they do use slightly different types of weapons this time around, and the stakes largely remain unchanged in this story from the first book. The one complication is the pair of survivors our main characters come across and need to whisk to safety, the military personnel they encounter, and the members of Aileen’s order. However, most of that doesn’t come until closer to the end of the story. But the characters felt flat in this novella. As odd as it sounds, they all got along too well. There was no conflict from the characters, no difference of opinion, and if it weren’t for Aileen’s powers and the change in narration from Jack to Angie, they all would feel pretty indistinct from each other. When they all agree, you don’t get a sense of their personality, just the one-dimensional layer of what purpose they serve to the greater story. The most you see personality-wise is from Angie when she cares for the survivors. Those instances were cute and pretty touching, and I found that I enjoyed those moments most. It’s just too bad they were rather fleeting and were resolved come the end of the story; Adam and Amy will most likely not return for the third book now that they are safe.
I did like how, and where, this book ended more than the first installment, however. This story felt complete; things had been accomplished, a plan settled on. The characters and the army personnel they meet up with all know what needs to be done, which will lead to a thrilling conclusion in the next book, no doubt. The author does a great job ensuring that the weapons and military vehicles etc. are all shown accurately and those moments really shine, especially against the paranormal horror show they are plucked in front of. I also appreciated that the author took the story a bit back to the science fiction arena with the theories around Aileen’s demon amulet. But I wasn’t as surprised, or thrilled, by this book as I was the first. I wanted more personality and growth between the main characters, and there’s not a lot of that, certainly not as much as I was expecting from a second book, either. It was still fun and exciting, the demons are all interesting, even if we have seen them all before, and the flight across Alaska is definitely intense at parts, and described in enough accurate detail that you feel you are there driving with the characters. If you like paranormal horror, and action fantasy, I think you’d enjoy this fast, and easy-to-read series. And while I think I liked the first book a little more, ultimately, when both books ended, I felt pretty much the same, so it’s another 3 stars from yours truly. And thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review!
5) No title ★★★☆☆
By Sam on November 25, 2017 (Original Goodreads Review)
Not the best written book, bit choppy & the parole [sic] was stilted.
4) No title ★★★☆☆
This second installment perfectly picks up where the initial story left off but told now through the eyes of the original group leader’s spouse. There is now a heavy military influence as well as the demons stepping up their killing spree with new horrific tactics and devilish implements. The much-anticipated explanation of how the curatrix heroine came to be is finally revealed. Lots of close calls, kicking butt and action-packed moments to be had still. Look forward to the third suspenseful tale in this series.
3) Packed with action and written very lively so the reader can get involved in the story easily ★★★☆☆
By Kerstin Vollbrecht on March 17, 2017 (Original Amazon Review)
This is the second book of the series Hell Holes, but as it starts with a resume of the previous events, it could perfectly stand on its own.
In this story, the author describes the adventure of Dr. Oswald and his wife, Dr. Menéndez, a geologist and a climatologist, that were investigating the mysterious appearance of holes along the Alaskan Oil Pipeline, having to flee and to fight against devils and demons. They are joined by Aileen O’Shannon, a curatrix of an ancient order dedicated to that purpose, who occupies her magic against those demons and devils they encounter during their journey to the military headquarters where she is joined by the rest of the order.
The story is entertaining, packed with action and written very lively so the reader can get involved in the story easily. There are many repetitions of the geological facts and of the happenings since the demons emerged from the hell holes, that could be shorter. All in all, it’s an entertaining read that is hard to put away.
2) Sequel ★★★☆☆
By Richard Lang on November 5, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
In this sequel to Hell Holes, What Lurks Below, Firesmith writes about the continuing war against the demons. Oswald, Martinez and Aileen O’Shannon drive out on the Dalton Highway in an effort to escape the pursuing demons. Along the way, they pick up two small children whose father was killed. They narrowly escape a forest fire and are rescued by the Army and flown to Eielson Air Force Base. At a high-level meeting at the base, a plan to attack the demons is formulated. The plan is to go into the hell holes and find the demons’ portal and attack them in hell. The ending seems to indicate there may be a third book in this series.
1) Realistic Action, Unrealistic Relationships ★★★☆☆
By Gordon A. Long on June 12, 2016 (Original Amazon Review)
In Episode 2 of the “Hell Holes” serial, Angela Mendez and Jack Oswald continue their mad flight up the North Slope of Alaska, a horde of demonic creatures at their backs. As they trundle their increasingly beat-up 4 X 4 through a carefully researched and realistically portrayed landscape, they are subjected to a never-ending series of attacks. But physical danger is only a part of the conflict of a book.
The problem with serials is often character conflict, or the lack of it. One key element to good writing that keeps us connected is the development of relationships (and conflicts) between characters. It is difficult to keep this sort of thing going over long periods of time, such as over several excerpts in a serial.
This is the problem with the Dalton story. The husband-and-wife team of Dr. Angela Mendez and Jack Oswald are very together in all respects. Rarely even a cross word passes between them, no matter how tight the situation.
So in spite of the horrendous enemy and the non-stop action, this book has an action-comic feel to it. Stripped to basic characters, a terrible enemy, and a chase to safety, it roars through the tundra and over the Brooks Range, mace-carrying imps on the backs of flying gargoyles dogging every move our heroes make. The women can’t even stop for a bathroom break without risking a clawing. The description of their drive through the demon-laced forest fire is true genius.
So it’s all sorts of frightening fun, but it doesn’t go much farther than that. The only new sympathy we gain is due to the insertion of two small children who must be protected by our heroes. This works in a limited way because it raises the stakes. But the best suspense in the whole story is the teaser for the next issue, which promises an even more dangerous and horrifying task. Hopefully, Mr. Firesmith will see fit to add some interpersonal conflict as well to his next offering.
Recommended for fans of paranormal action/adventure, with emphasis on the action.
[Author’s note: The ending has been updated with one such conflict. In addition, a surprise on the demon home world will lead to a major interpersonal conflict in Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back.]
2 Star Reviews
1 Star Reviews