Saturday, January 27, 2018

Book Tour + Review + #Giveaway: Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith @DonFiresmith @SDSXXTours

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below
by Donald Firesmith
Genre: Apocalyptic, SciFi, Modern Paranormal
166 pages

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 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 biologist to protect them from wild animals 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 a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

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After seconds that seemed to stretch into eternity, the cigarette butt tumbled past Mark and eventually reached the depth where the concentration of methane and hydrogen sulfide reached explosive levels.

There was a deafening whoosh, and a huge fireball the size of the hole erupted from the pit. Luckily, the blast from the explosion blew us backwards, away from the hole. That was the only thing that saved us from the intense heat radiating from the colossal swirling ball of fire and smoke that had roared from the crater. It felt like I was standing next to a hundred heat lamps, and I heard the sizzling sound of my hair and beard beginning to burn on the side of my head that faced the flames. Turning my back to the hole, I immediately used my hands to extinguish my burning hair before it could seriously burn me. 

Disgusted by the stench of a mixture of burnt hair and rotten eggs, I picked myself up and looked back towards the hole. Above us, a huge pillar of smoke rose like the ash cloud of an erupting volcano. Looking back down, we saw the burning nylon rope continue to rise until its end slipped over the edge of the hole. Only a little of Mark’s smoldering body harness was still attached to its end.

“No!” We heard Jill’s horror-filled scream coming loudly over our walkie-talkies, followed less than a second later when her anguished cry reached us from across the pit. I could just make out Jill’s wavering form through the turbulent superheated air rising up between us as she raced back around the hole.

I looked over to where Kowalski was standing, staring in disbelief at the fiery pit his thoughtlessness had created. I was beyond furious. The next thing I knew, I had him by the jacket and was screaming in his face, “You Goddamned careless son of a bitch! Weren’t you listening? Didn’t you hear me say there was hydrogen sulfide in the pit?”

“Buh, buh, but…” he stammered as he tried to back away from me.
Without realizing it, I was slowly backing him up to the hole. I might have backed him over the edge had Bill not forced himself between us. “That’s enough!” he commanded.

Suddenly, I realized what I was doing and let go. It was clear from his expression that he’d had no idea that the gasses in the bottom of the hole were flammable, let alone sufficiently concentrated to be explosive.

My fiery rage died as I turned my anger inward. Kowalski hadn’t killed Mark. I had. I was in charge and responsible for the lives of my team. I should have spotted the danger sooner. Mark was my student, so I should have sent him up first. Worst of all, I had seen Kowalski smoking next to the hole and done nothing. I turned my back on the hole and wearily walked away across the empty tundra.

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 his help up on the North Slope near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There are these big wholes opening up all over the place which could spell disaster for the oil companies if they don't figure out real quick like what is going on and try to put a stop to it.

Dr. Oswald gathers up his team which includes his wife Dr. Menendez two students, Mark Starr and his wife Jill Starr and head out for the oil fields. They get themselves a new crew member along the way one photographer Aileen O'Shannon a very attractive young woman who finagles her way into their expedition that has the wives of the two men keep close eyes on this one so she don't forget that their husbands are off limits.

As I said What Lurks Below did take off on slow start but once they reached the first gigantic hole it was on then. More holes started popping up all around them taking all their vehicles and campsite and things coming out of it like you wouldn't believe. They all took off like the demons from hell were coming up out of those holes. The characters adrenaline was pumping but so was mine. The words started popping off the page hitting me in the face the moment the explosions started and I could just feel the heat coming off them. It was as if I was right there with all the characters running for my life with the demons and heat from the explosions on my heel wondering if we were going to make it out alive.

The summary for What Lurks Below does not in any way do this book justice at all. What Lurks Below is filled with so much action adrenaline pumping and horror that it will have you sweating way before it is over.

I would recommend What Lurks Below to anyone who loves to see the words of a book exploding off the pages at you.

Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
218 pages

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight inthe frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O'Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die...

That was when I noticed it: the faint sulfurous smell that was a sure sign I was sitting next to a demon. Somehow a demon had disguised himself as a human! I was too shocked to hide my sudden panic, and he realized he’d been recognized.

His appearance shimmered for an instant, and then suddenly, the injured man disappeared and I could see his true form. He was a devil, one of the higher demons that commanded the hellhounds, gargoyles, and imps. Now I could see him for what he truly was: hideously ugly and doubly naked. Not only was he sitting there without any clothes, he was grotesquely nude because, like all demons, he lacked anything we would call skin. Under a transparent membrane, his dark red muscles and the purplish arteries and veins that fed them were clearly visible. Still, it wasn’t the small horn-like projections of bone on either side of his skull, his yellow goat-like eyes, or even his repulsive body that terrified me. It was the demon’s impossibly large mouth. The monstrous creature was like a python, able to dislocate its jawbones to swallow animals larger than its head. His upper and lower jaws formed a near perfect circle of triangular serrated teeth. He leaned towards me, and I did what any reasonable person would do when facing imminent death by being eaten alive. I screamed.

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 his reasonably safe trying to out run 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 over taken 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 filling 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 ever where kind of action novel.

A computer 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 is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!


Donald Firesmith said...

Thank you for your thoughtful reviews of my two books. Thank you also for copying your book 2 review over to Amazon, as that is where many/most potential readers look for new books.

Mary Preston said...

Great reviews thank you.