“Shea layers on the ever mounting sense of dread with a master craftsman’s skill, with some excellent tension building scenes.” – Ginger Nuts of Horror
1st time with full trade distribution in all formats. Previously titled Hell Hole. Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits. Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla abound. The only problem – those who go seeking their fortune never return. Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark ghost mine…as well as a sinister force hungry for fresh souls.
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Horror After Dark Review
GHOST MINE, by Hunter Shea, is a Western Horror novel that incorporates historical fiction, along with legends and folklore. A Western can be hit or miss for me, but Shea did his research and the end result was an atmosphere that “felt” accurate for the timeline. Incorporating Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders” gave an even better base for the strong characters created here. At the start, Nat Blackburn and best friend, “Teta”, are working as police in Washington–a boring, monotonous existence compared to what they had been accustomed to.
“. . . Washington was my idea of hell on earth.”
When the President–a friend of theirs–summons them to check out a mining town called Hecla, in Wyoming, they are only too happy to get out. An entire town–and a troop of soldiers sent previously–were never seen again.
“. . . we both know it’s easy to make yourself disappear out here.”
The closeness and banter between our two main characters–along with some that come up later–is what carries the story on so well. Despite the inconceivable . . . things . . . in Hecla, these personalities stay constant, giving us that “reality” to fall back on.
Then there is Hecla, itself.
“. . . This was where nightmares were stored, a place where secrets remained for eternity . . . “
The atmosphere is more than just a neglected ghost town. The descriptions here of premature rot, unknown fungi, black-eyed children, and “beings” that couldn’t possibly be, are so elaborate that I found myself able to picture them quite clearly, mentally. This is just the town–the mines themselves are far worse!
“. . . God has nothing to do with this place and I don’t think he much cares about anyone fool enough to end up here.”
The only thing I didn’t care for here was that near the end, there were simply too many different types of abominations brought in. Personally, I feel that one or two would be easier to focus on, and still keep the actions of the characters in play. As it was, so much was being thrown at them at once that I felt we “lost” their roles in the mayhem for a while.
“. . . Every man had to die, but the way you lived your life should determine how you died.”
Overall, I loved the characters, exploration of the town, and some of the revelations at the mine. As previously mentioned, I did think there was too much going on–pulling the reader in too many directions at once–for a while at the end. However, my general feeling was one of anticipation and excitement throughout.
“. . . Sometimes the move that seems the least logical is the one that gets you to the other side.”
If the obstructions at the end had been more focused on one or two specifics, I believe that it would have made for a more “natural” feeling denouement. Aside from that, this story had everything I could ask for in terms of what makes a great, fast paced novel. The historical fiction worked in really made for a “realistic” setting, and characters that fit their roles.
About The Author
About the Author
Hunter Shea is the author of over 20 books, with a specialization in cryptozoological horror that includes The Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Loch Ness Revenge and many others. His novel The Montauk Monster, was named one of the best reads of the summer by Publishers Weekly. A trip to the International Cryptozoology Museum will find several of his cryptid books among the fascinating displays. Living in a true haunted house inspired his Jessica Backman: Death in the Afterlife series (Forest of Shadows, Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden). He was selected to be part of the launch of Samhain Publishing’s new horror line in 2011 alongside legendary author Ramsey Campbell. When he’s not writing thrillers and horror, he also spins tall tales for middle grade readers on Amazon’s highly regarded Rapids reading app.An avid podcaster, he can be seen and heard on Monster Men, one of the longest running video horror podcasts in the world, and Final Guys, focusing on weekly movie and book reviews. His nostalgic column about the magic of 80s horror, Video Visions, is featured monthly at Cemetery Dance Online. You can find his short stories in a number of anthologies, including Chopping Block Party, The Body Horror Book and Fearful Fathoms II. Living with his crazy and supportive family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to see the skyline without having to pay New York rent. You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com.