Reviewed by Cheryl Russell
The Dead Whisper On by T.L.
"The plot twists like the mine tunnels under Butte and made it difficult to stop reading."
Be careful what you wish for—it may become your nightmare.
Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh is a lonely garbage collector unable to throw out her own towering stacks of newspapers and magazines. A former miner, she used to tempt death daily setting dynamite charges in the mines around Butte, Montana, a job her father had done before her.
But since his death eleven years ago, her life lost its meaning and purpose. Now Canada slings trash into the maw of a loud smelly truck, longing to hear Bud MacHugh's voice once more. Today, as she returns another empty can to its spot on the curb, a whisper floats to her ear, commanding her to be at The Mint, a local watering hole, at seven o'clock. Just as Canada is about to convince herself that her mind is playing tricks, she sees movement. A fluid form separates itself from the can's shadow to the truck's shadow, then is gone.
The voice she's waited years to hear has returned from the dead.
At about nine thirty she leaves The Mint, stood up by the shadow. She almost has herself convinced the voice she'd heard earlier was heat exhaustion, the result of tossing cans in the summer heat, when she notices something different about the streetlights. As they flicker on, movement ripples over the pavement.
Shadows. So many murky figures---they remind Canada of hundreds of black snakes, writhing through the air. Soon surrounded by ever shifting blackness, she wants to flee, but her father's presence stops her. He speaks, but his conversation is brief. He needs her help. He makes her an offer she finds difficult to refuse-a chance to work with her father making the world a better place.
But Bud MacHugh isn't the only one interested in Canada. As she makes her connection with her dead father and his companions, another mythical creature awakens, deep within the tunnels of the Chilean copper mine, Chuquicamata. He listens to the whispers and the screams of the shadows that are unaware that he is in their midst. He will coerce their secrets from him and find out the identity of this woman he must find. Too much is at stake to let her go free.
When the line between allies and enemies blurs, Canada is forced to confront the one creature that if not stopped, will destroy everything and everyone around her. The future of Butte rests on her shoulders alone and the weight is crushing her. Tony Hines, author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus raises the bar in his second novel, The Dead Whisper On. He immerses the reader in the world and culture of Butte, Montana, a former copper mining boom town that has declined as the mines have played out. Unique characters populate his latest book: Canada MacHugh, she makes her living throwing away others trash, but can't part with her own; Joe, the unflappable bartender of The Mine whose been wiping down the bar for as long as anyone can remember; Keros, a figure from Hebrew mythology, and a group of Canada's fellow Butte miners with nicknames like Gumbo, Binkowicz, Hambone, Disco, Pumpkinhead and Lucia. (Kevin Lucia, Title Trakk reviewer and winner of a spot in Tony's novel).
The plot twists like the mine tunnels under Butte and made it difficult to stop reading. Nothing is as it first appears. Tony raises troubling questions that tie in with our current fears and apprehension . Who, or what, is really our enemy? It's an answer that could be summed up in a familiar quotation, but it would also give away the heart of this book. It's a question and answer combo that I've continued to turn over in my mind since I finished reading the book several days ago-one that I'll continue to chew on for days to come.
Cheryl Russell lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Her short stories, as well as a few articles, have been published in print and online. She's loved to read for as long as she can remember and puts all that time to good use writing book reviews for Infuze, Novel Reviews, and Title Trakk. She's also a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, FIRST network, Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's currently working on her first novel. If she could, she'd spend her time hanging out in the thermal areas of Yellowstone in general, Norris Geyser Basin in particular. Another favorite spot is Kennicott, an old copper mining town in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, which is at the end of a 60 mile dirt road, 8 hours west of Anchorage. She and her family are frequent hikers in the national parks, and have pounded the dirt trails in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. You can visit her at her blog, Unseen Worlds or at her website.