Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below

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Animated Book Cover of Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below is book one in the Hell Holes series of apocalyptic alien invasion science fiction and horror 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…


Fiction > Science Fiction > Alien Invasion
Fiction > Science Fiction > Apocalyptic
Fiction > Science Fiction > First Contact
Fiction > Fantasy > Dark Fantasy
Fiction > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban
Literature & Fiction > Horror

#Alaska #AlienInvasion #ArcticCircle #AwardWinning #Demon #Devil #Gargoyle #Geologist #Hell #HellHole #Horror #Imp #ScienceFiction #Survival

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Audiobook Sample

Gary Tredwell has done an outstanding job narrating the Hell Holes series. Enjoy a sample of his narration of Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below.


Format Amazon Barnes&Noble Apple Ingram Smashwords
eBook (.mobi) Yes No No No Yes
eBook (.epub) No Yes No No Yes
eBook (.pdf) No No No No Yes
Paperback Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audiobook Yes No No No No

Book Trailer


2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Recommended Read Award

2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Recommended Read Award


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

Renee Scattergood

“Amazing story! I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I couldn’t put it down.”
Renee Scattergood Shadow Stalker The Dream Crypt Demon Hunt

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.”
Michelle E. Lowe Legacy Legacy: The Reunion The Warning

G.M. Sherwin

“What a great read!!!”
G.M. Sherwin Immortalis The Lazarus Gene

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

Samantha C. Fischer

“That was amazing! I greatly enjoyed reading this book and cannot wait to find out what happens next.”
Samantha C. Fischer Love and Self Discovery

Mark Nutter

“I enjoyed the mayhem… a rousing read that leads breathlessly into the next book”
Mark Nutter Sunset Cruise on the River Styx: Dark, Absurd Tales

Book Shelf Adventures

“Fast-paced and wild ride. The author did a wonderful job building the world and the monsters that appear within.” – Original Review


Review Results
Read all 184 reviews. (4.2 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.


Popular Quotes

  • “I nearly said something but then thought better of it. It doesn’t pay to publicly point out the failings of the person providing your paycheck.”
  • “Woe to any climate denier who called climate change a hoax when she was nearby.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Low demons, like hellhounds and gargoyles, are merely the mindless beasts of Hell. Far deadlier are the high demons, such as imps, fiends, and devils. High demons are humanoids, thinking beings with the ability to use dark magic.”

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 the 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 the 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 the first book.
  • Created sketches of the characters.
  • Ebooks free from Smashwords
  • IngramSpark added as wholesalers for library and large-volume sales

Publishing Information

Publisher: Magical Wand Press
Edition: Fourth edition
Publication Date: 5 August 2015
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. | Pittsburg: Magical Wand Press, 2015. | Series: Hell Holes, Volume 1. | Summary: Oil company sends a 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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