This review is based on an advance review copy, supplied by the publisher.
Regular readers of my reviews will know by now that I am a fan of William Meikle's work. His writing seems to be made up of all the best things about all the stuff in books, films and TV that I loved in my formative years.
I can see the inspirations for 'The Hole' in 'Quatermass', 'X the Unknown', 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', 'The Twilight Zone', John Wyndham, H.P. Lovecraft etc. etc.
It starts with a hum, which causes the townsfolk to come down with severe headaches and nosebleeds. Then an ever expanding sinkhole appears under a septic tank. The characters are very nicely fleshed out, as I have come to expect from William Meikle. It's one of his major strengths as a writer.. There's the Sheriff, his clandestine lover, the town's new lady doctor--somehow the scientifically trained one always has to be an outsider--the local spinster harridan, who constantly sabotages their plans, a young girl they rescue from the car in which her parents died and two excellently realised town drunks. The sheriff tries to keep this small group of people alive in the face of a terrifying and unknown danger, while they wait for help from the government. When the authorities do finally make their presence known, things just get so much worse.
It's a story of small-town paranoioa, heroism and sacrifice, with all the aspects that would make for a great Stephen King novel, compressed into a short, pulp novella. The ending is open enough to leave room for a follow up, but satisfying enough that it doesn't need to. In short, another Willie Meikle winner.