Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits. Former cattle driver, Rough Rider and current New York City cop Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, in the Deep Rock Hills, abound. The only problem-those who go seeking their fortune never return. Roosevelt’s own troops are among the missing, and the President wants to know their fate – and find the gold. 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. Along the way, they are joined by a Selma, a fiery and beautiful woman in search of her brother who was swallowed up by Hecla years earlier. Hecla is an eerie ghost town, its cemetery filled with crooked tombstones, the dusty streets scored by tumbleweed, the windows of the abandoned houses like eyes, following their every move. Terrifying wraiths flit throughout the town at night. Settling into a vacant home, Nat, Teta and Selma are approached by strange, black eyed children who then disappear like twin vapors. A trip to the mine ends with them galloping for their lives, chased by immense, hairy wild men. No, Hecla is far from abandoned – it’s teeming with the supernatural, strange beasts and phantoms both luring them deeper into the mystery and driving them away from the mine. Only when a strange preacher and his hulking mute assistant arrive (on a Godly mission after hearing the blaring horns of Revelation) do they realize they cannot leave the town’s borders, an invisible wall refusing to let them go. There’s only one thing to do – plumb the chilling depths of the ghost mine and find the source of Hecla’s bizarre power. What they stumble upon is a hellish battle of underworld forces while being tortured by the ghosts of their checkered pasts. There’s a mystery in Hecla thousands of years old. Solving it could spell the end of the world.
Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea. Previously titled Hell Hole in 2014. Audiobook narrated by John Chancer. Published by Flame Tree Press, May 2019. Run time is 11 hours and 6 mins. Triggers: lots of animal death.
Hunter Shea is one of my fave authors and my go to guy for epic creature feature fun. I am always up for a book from him. Plus, I’m a sucker for ghosts, so you pretty much had me right at the title for this one.
Love the premise about an old haunted gold mining town and two old cowboys going out to check it out. There are a lot of super creepy elements. The whole setting is very atmospheric and sends chills down your spine. I mean, abandoned ghost towns are eerie enough withOUT any actual ghosts, so as soon as the first slightest hints of the supernatural starts to happen in Hecla, you know you are in for something strange and unusual. This was definitely a very unique take on a ghost town / mine.
Sometimes I felt like there was a little bit too much going on in this book. There are just a lot of different aspects of folklore and religions all thrown in together on this one and it felt all over the place at times. It was cool getting to see so many monsters all wrapped up together, but at the same time, I wished that Hunter had only focused on one direction. It just felt so jumbled up and cluttered at times. There were some super cool monsters I wished had been more of a focus, but because of sharing the scene with tons of other monsters and ghosts, we only see a snippet of their story. That was kind of a bummer!
I was also a little bummed that it hadn’t just been ghosts. That doesn’t make this book good or bad, it was just very different then what I thought I was getting when I went into this book. I was jonesing for some awesome ghost action, and it ended up being way more of a certain horror theme that is not exactly my favorite. Don’t want to give away an spoilers, though, so I’m not going to say what theme that is. It is a cool idea, don’t get me wrong… just, not really for me.
Good and bad, I loved the cast of characters. Lots of great chemistry between them. I really enjoyed watching the main characters interact with each other. Also, the way everyone was written, they felt authentic for their time, while also trying to have a more modern point of view (i.e. not incredible sexist or racist).
The narrator for the audiobook does a really nice job. He definitely felt old timey cowboy. He also did a nice job with accents and keeping the voices distinct from one another. I especially loved the late-to-the-party preacher / ghost hunter. All in all, John pretty much nails the personalities in these voices.
My biggest complaint with this book is the animal deaths. There are a lot. And they are pretty detailed. 😡 This is a complaint I’ve had with Hunter’s books before. I always hate when there is excessive animal death in a book. Dammit Hunter, stop killing the animals! 😛
Ghost Mine was an entertaining read. Interesting take on a ghost town and mine. A good book, but a little bit too jumbled together for me and not really my cup of tea for the main villain. Great atmosphere, fun characters, and a pretty spot on narrator. I would probably give it a 4 instead of a 3 if there hadn’t been so much animal death. -__-