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What Lurks Below

(Hell Holes #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Alternate cover edition for ASIN B012IUE14U

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two
Kindle Edition, 4th, 184 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Magical Wand Press (first published August 5th 2015)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  167 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Start your review of What Lurks Below (Hell Holes, #1)
A good book. I did find it a bit slow at times especially at the beginning. The action does not start really till past half way through the book. This is a more wet your appetite book. Just as I was really getting into the book ended. I am guessing the next book will pick up from where this one left off.

We are told the story from Dr Oswald's perspective, a middle aged geology professor who still takes field work to keep himself active. He is married to an climatologist professor who we are told
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature readers who enjoy fast paced sci-fi and paranormal stories
Recommended to Courtney by: Booktasters
"I'm afraid we're all likely to come out of this with some degree of PTSD, that is assuming we're lucky to come out of this at all."

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

Having been
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hell Holes: What Lurks Below is not in my favorite genre. It is actually in one of my least liked. I tend to find a lot of SciFi-Fantasy gets bogged down with a lot of terminology I don't really know. In trying to figure things out, I tend to come to the conclusion that there are many other books that I could be reading. I decided to read Hell Holes because it sounded interesting and was set in Alaska. I wasn't expecting very much though. I ended up being surprised by a story that held my ...more
Sherry Fundin
Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith was everything I had hoped for and more.

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

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

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to start the next one. It was well written and an easy read. Anyone who loves science fiction or horror would love this book.
Olga Miret
Science,horror, fantasy, paranormal and plenty of action I received a free ARC copy of the book and I voluntarily decided to review it. I am also sharing this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.
Hell Holes is an intriguing book and one difficult to classify. Set in Alaska, the prologue already gives us a hint about what is to come, but once we start reading the account written by Professor Jack Oswald, we get taken in by the mystery of the holes, and by the hypotheses suggested, sending
Naturalbri (Bri Wignall)
This is a great wee book! I read the blurb and though it would be an exciting, yet still scientific read and the author did not let me down.

It was great to see science, adventure, exploration and a bit a fantasy. It's a very thrilling read as well. With all those bits thrown together, it is a book you are worried won't meet the very high expectations you have for it, but this book and author have done very well to hold up their end and really make this book everything it claims to be and a bit
Dr. Jack Oswald is a geologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Just before classes are ready to begin for the semester, Jack receives an urgent call from Kevin Kowalski who works for ExxonMobil drilling oil. There have been a series of mysterious holes opening up around the drilling fields that are affecting operations. The holes are deep and perfectly cylindrical and just plain strange. Jack has been hired to investigate; he assembles his team consisting of his wife, Dr. Angela ...more
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary | "Empathy" - Look it up.
The cover is pleasingly stark. I didn’t even notice the little man scaling down the side until I’d opened it up to a non-thumbnail size. It quite nicely fits this story, which is an unusual blend of modern science (no, I didn’t forget to put the word fiction after science) and fantasy. Hell-Holes read quick and easy, and at 108 pages, for someone who reads at an average speed, it should give you a couple hours of enjoyment.

I loved the premise and the way this book was written for the most part.
Brian's Book Blog
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A modern day mash up of real science and the fantasy world

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

I want to be totally upfront
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review of: Hell Holes
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewer: Amanda (

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

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

So the story is about a group of scientists who have to investigate large holes that haver appeared from
Michelle Lowe
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Geology professor, Dr. Jack Oswald, his wife Dr. Angela Menendez, and grad students, Jill and Mark Starr, are suddenly called to investigate a bizarre phenomenon in the Arctic Circle. Tagging along with them is a beautiful young photojournalist named Aileen O’Shannon. When they arrive at the location, the group sees for themselves a massive hole which had appeared overnight. It isn’t long into their investigation that things go to pot very quickly. What they find is the last thing anyone of them ...more
Laura Thomas
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love unexplained acts of nature. Makes for such a chilling plot. When holes start appearing in the Arctic Circle , a team of experts is sent to investigate. Once they arrive, things get worse as more holes appear. And then something straight out of Hell crawls out. A horde of otherworldly creatures that have only one thing in mind. Killing mankind. With nowhere to run, the team seeks shelter in an old station. But the horde won’t be denied, and like an octopus with a sealed bottle full of ...more
Ian yarington
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won this in the giveaways with another small quick read book and I have to say that I have enjoyed the smaller books because I feel accomplished when I get through them in a few days or in one sitting. I was impressed with the book and my only complaint is that some of it after the half way mark felt a little rushed but other than that it was a good read!
C.E. Clayton
At first I thought “Hell Holes” was going to be a science fiction novella given the cast of main characters are all scientists or researches in the natural sciences. And, admittedly, the first half of the book feels like a true science fiction as the characters explain the science and their reasoning for what the mysterious holes popping up all over Alaska could be or what may be causing them. Then it takes a pretty hard left into pure horror/paranormal action. “Hell Holes” starts off as a quest ...more
Sue Williams
I listened to a computer read version of this book. Every time a "Dr." was in the story, the computer translated it as "drive" and "No." became "no" instead of "north". A sentence such as
Dr. Oswald is from No. California would be read as Drive, Oswald is from no California. Mrs. was mrrs and Mr. was mrr. At first I kept wondering why the person telling the story kept telling Oswald to drive, especially since they weren't in a vehicle most of the time. I wasn't looking at the print version on
I read the blurb of this book and knew I had to immediately read it. Set in Alaska, there is a huge hole that appears suddenly that could conceivably cause trouble to the nearby oil field and pipeline. A team of scientists is quickly deployed to find out the cause of the phenomenon. The team arrives quickly but already hundreds of holes are opening up. From this point, the characters scramble at a breakneck pace for safety as unnatural creatures spew forth amid noxious gas and tectonic quakes. ...more
Helen Calder
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a fondness for stories in which it is revealed that the world is not as it seems. This is one of those. If you also like those kinds of stories then you will probably like this one.

There's a touch of Mathew Reilly about it but with a Dan Brown style hero/narrator and a Micheal Crichton level of research. People who know me might think that the mention of Dan Brown is a thinly veiled insult but it really isn't. Dan Brown is very good at some of the things he does and Donald G Firesmith
Nancy (The Avid Reader)
When I first started reading What Lurks Below started out slow like and it was kind hard to get into. It starts out reading like a textbook and I was like I didn't sign up for this. But I kept reading telling myself to come on give it a chance you just got started. So I kept reading and then the next thing I knew the words were exploding off the pages at me and I was racing through it.

Dr. Oswald a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks gets a phone call from a Mr. Kowalski asking for
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the scientific elements of this book, it was interesting to learn what they were talking about in regards to global warming, sinkholes and what not. It also showed the Author had put in the time to do his research. It was short but it felt like the right amount of pages, you could tell the first was just an introduction to the rest of the series. Highly interested in carrying on reading. Demon apocalypse seems like an interesting story concept. The story leaves you going oo what going to ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I give this 3.5 stars.

Well, wasn't this a complete surprise package! It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover.
After reading reviews as to what this novella would be genre wise, I tend to disagree that it's science fiction. To me it felt more like a horror/paranormal/thriller and kept you on the edge of your seat as to what would happen next.
Written rather like a journal from the male protagonist's point of view, the writing was smooth and the characters quite
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, the first 3 chapters weren’t too engrossing . And you won’t probably read Donald Firesmith’s stuff for a couple of days . But you should give his work a second try . After the first 3 chapters, the book starts gathering up a lot of gravity and the book sorta pulls you inside its own unique universe.The book finishes with an Ellipsis in your brain. Once you have completed the book , you can not stop marvelling the ideas put forth by Donald Firesmith.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
can't quite say I couldn't put it down, but it was pretty close, once I got started. The premise of the story was different, but entirely reasonable, from a sci•fi perspective. The writing was done well, no typos or mis-use of words (think there & their). All in all, very enjoyable…even the cliffhanger on the last page {G}
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hell Holes, Book 1 is an AWESOME read!!

Forget Zombies!! The Demons from Hell are TOTALLY, more scary!! A fast and furious read, very hard to put down, until the very end!!
Our intrepid group, has gone to find out, why monstrous holes are opening in the ground, around the Northwest oil pipelines. The first loss of life will scare you silly!! A MUST READ!!
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Such an exciting and well-written book! I did not want it to end. Now I want to read everything this author has written! Seriously good book here, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Exciting Read!

This book surprised me on where the story went. it was full of excitement and gore. I was shocked throughout the story. The author has a vivid imagination and you will be entertained w it’s this book.
William Osborne
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I now have a new writer to look forward to. I would put him right up there with Cussler or koontz
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not really into fantasy/sci-fi type books (more of a murder/mystery type.) Stumbled onto Hell Holes #1 and I am looking forward reading #2. Good, fast read.
Kerstin Vollbrecht
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
It's a story about a group of geologists that is called tho investigate the massive appearance of holes affecting the zone of the Alaskian oil pipeline. During their investigation, they are confronted with the loss of people of their team due to the surging of demonic creatures that emerge from these precise holes they're investigating.
The book starts with the scientific development of the information about the effect that those holes could have on the environment, to soon develop the shocking
Let me get this out of the way first-for some reason when I downloaded the book, I thought it was going to be about Tremors style giant worms underground and coming to eat people. I'm not sure exactly where I got that idea so I was kind of disappointed to see what actually came out of the holes! Now that is purely my fault for getting an idea in my head, not the fault of the book or author for giving a wong impression, because they didn't! Is that all cleared up? Good, then we can move on to the ...more
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A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He's also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the ...more

Other books in the series

Hell Holes (2 books)
  • Demons on the Dalton (Hell Holes #2)
“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.” 1 likes
“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.” 0 likes
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