Ghost Mine – Hunter Shea
Reviewed By Brian Bogart
I think of Hunter Shea as the King of Monster Men. I’m probably not alone in that sentiment. The author has a knack for cryptids, creatures and such- possibly moreso than most horror writers. You can tell, with many of his books, that he thoroughly loves them and is fascinated by them. “Ghost Mine” (released previously as Hell Hole) has moments that shine in that department, but the bulk of the story works for other reasons, too. It reads like an old-fashioned adventure, two buddies thrown into an unlikely fresh hell- with plenty of loving homage to the Western genre as the backdrop.
Former Rough Rider Nat Blackburn is tasked by President Teddy Roosevelt to get to the bottom of the abandoned mining town of Hecla. We are given a brief glimpse of the evil that awaits from the very beginning, then explore a bit of early 1900’s life viewed through Nat’s eyes. While Nat is one cool character, his partner-in-crime and sidekick Teta steals the show, for me. Cowboys who read stories from the likes of Doyle and H.G. Wells, quipping quotes from books and still kick some ass? Yep. I loved it.
Teta and Nat are both badasses from an earlier era, when the world revolved around men who fight, stand their ground, and get results. I hope the author revisits them someday. Hunter writes these two so well, that once a few later characters are introduced and the duo takes a short backseat- I almost held a grudge. I wanted more Nat and Teta. These other characters end up severely integral to the story, and they are well-written as well. It was just me, the reader, being selfish. It happens. I’m sure other readers will be in a similar boat.
So, just what the HELL is going on in that town? Lots of things. Disappearances, rumors of gold and death, just for starters. I don’t want to spoil too much of the fun, but I will say this: you are treated to not just one type of creature in this wild and weird western.
I kept thinking of Hecla and the mine as a sort of “thinny”, for the Stephen King fans out there. There are many entrances to Hell- and some are closer than you think. The veil is not just thin here, though. It’s busted wide open.
“Ghost Mine” comes jam-packed with a multitude of horrors, and after arriving in Hecla- begins to escalate with plenty of action beats to spare. Once it does get rolling, it unfolds like a good action flick, set in the West and splashed with a coat of blood.
It doesn’t take itself too seriouly, which gives the impression that Shea really enjoyed writing this. That kind of writing is just as infectious to most readers, as well. It has a bit of downtime in the middle, but once the creatures and spirits come out to play- all bets are off.
Lucky for us readers, Nat and Teta came to kick ass, like they always do. Come hell or high water- some evil bastard is long overdue.
Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of the humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigor.
Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.
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