Book Review: The Hole by William Meikle

18043356Title: The Hole

Author: William Meikle

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It starts with an odd hum that brings headaches and nosebleeds to the inhabitants of a remote, sleepy country town. Then a sinkhole begins to form…and out from that hole comes the townspeople’s worst nightmares.

Facing their fears and the growing madness, a group of survivors descend into the collapsed area in an attempt to save what is left of their town. Sacrifices will be required, but will they be enough?

The hole is growing…spreading…and the horror within it is growing stronger…

The Hole surprised me. I thought it would be rather straightforward, but it’s actually a more complicated read than I gave it credit for.

Two men help out John Hopman when his septic tank gets stuck in some sort of sinking hole. Unfortunately, it’s not what they think at first, and the hole only grows in size, becoming a giant sinking hole soon threatening the whole city. But like that hole isn’t scary enough all on its own, it’s what’s inside that truly terrifies everyone. From the moment the hole was created, a strange humming sound has reached almost everyone in town. They can’t explain the sound, nor how it makes them feel, or why it causes their noses to bleed. And when what they find in the hole looks different to everyone, they figure their in over their heads.

Even though we don’t get to spend a lot of time in the small country town before things go to hell, Meikle does manage to capture the small town spirit well. The cast of characters is diverse and interesting, but some of them fell a little flat, and were too stereotypical for my liking. For example, the doctor. It seems like you can only go two ways with doctors in fiction: either they’re completely selfless, willing to risk everything for the greater good, or their selfish jerks. Nothing in between. Then there’s the local drunk who turns out to be quite the hero, and the town’s misfit who meets a girl and changes his life around. It was nice seeing these characters mix and mingle, but I wish some of them would’ve left the stereotypes and turned into real, developed characters.

The plot really pulled me in though. I kept guessing what was going on. The action was relentless from page one, with no quiet moments to relax at all. The atmosphere of terror was overwhelming, the randomness of it all making it all the more terrifying. I wasn’t fond of the whole biohazard stuff, but it fit the book. I’m just not a fan of that kind of plot in general, but here I could live with it. I liked how the reader was thrown from one direction to the other – were the creatures in the hole supernatural beings? Were they part of some satanic ritual? Aliens? Nature’s misfits? Plenty of guessing, little of answers until the very end.

An excellent read if you like horror, and especially if you, like me, are terrified of sinkholes.

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