Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: The Tunnelers

"From beneath you, it devours…"

That’s the kind of subtitle that you guys get when I spend entirely too much of the holiday on the couch watching Buffy reruns.

The Tunnelers by Geoff Gander is a quick read, spanning only 27 pages on my e-reader but it is a gripping sci-fi horror tale that will not disappoint.


Told primarily in first person, The Tunnelers documents the treatment of patient Michael Kirkwood, a miner who is under Dr. Vincent Armstrong’s psychiatric care in the Evaluation Unit at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care Center.  

Kirkwood is being treated for psychological damage because of a mining accident where he witnessed something attack and viciously kill two of his colleagues.

As Dr. Armstrong observes and examines Kirkwood he documents his findings, which is the format of the book. As Dr. Armstrong gets Kirkwood to talk more about what happened to him in the mine, he isn’t quite sure if the man is crazy or simply in shock, but nothing that Kirkwood says makes any sense to the doctor.

Kirkwood is in hysterics about things living deep underneath the earth. Things that see “what we can’t.” Things that can go “where we can’t.” Things that listen in their “caves and tunnels and can hear what we say.”

Dr. Armstrong isn’t quite sure what to make of Kirkwood. He begins to believe that the man is insane until Kirkwood is moved to the first floor of the hospital, and soon becomes apparent to Dr. Armstrong that Kirkwood's nightmare is real.


[Minor spoilers ahead.]

The Tunnelers is chilling without being extremely terrifying or gory. The story itself is written as if the reader is viewing Dr. Armstrong’s case studies on Kirkwood. Despite being a novella, The Tunnelers weaves a chilling tale without leaving out any details. I liked that there was the implication that Kirkwood may have been insane, buy you still aren't 100 percent sure.

The novel reads smoothly until the very end. I will admit I was a little confused when the story changes from Dr. Armstrong’s notes to what I assumed to be the author’s point of view. Once I figured it out I think it’s a neat idea-- an author turning a case study into a novel. However, it wasn’t that obvious and sort of threw me for a loop at first.

I’m usually a big fan of gory horror novels and movies. I don't mean gore for the sake of gore, but gore for the sake of being absolutely terrifying. But I wasn’t particularly bothered by the disappearing act of one of the main characters later on in the story. This was probably the better alternative.  It definitely allowed for a more mysterious ending. 

By the end of the novel I had a new appreciation for my above ground level apartment and the fact that there is some truth in the old saying: what you don't know, can't kill you.

Rating: 4/5

You can also find The Tunnelers on Amazon! And don't forget to 'Like' author, Geoff Gander on Facebook!



  1. I think Buffy's first two seasons were terrible. It's interesting that the show got so good from third season on. How on earth did it survive?

  2. Agreed! Whenever I recommend Buffy to anyone who's new to the show I tell them to start watching from season three on. The first two seasons were missing something.

  3. You had me at "From beneath you,it devours" :)

  4. Emma- I loooove Buffy! There are days when I wish it would come back. :( I don't think any other show will ever be as good as Buffy.



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