I attended Michigan Technological University in the beautiful Upper Michigan in what is called the Copper Country. The area has old mine shafts and mining operations spread out around the area. This is one of the main reasons I chose to read the Mark Allan Gunnells’ book The Quarry. The setting was just too close to where I went to college not to peak my imagination.
The Quarry introduces the reader to what some may call the scariest year of college, the freshman year. It’s when new students flock to a campus and have to get used to their new surroundings. Often they have little to no friends had must find a new group of friends, or become a hermit. There are those who come to school with money and those who must do all they can to stay in school.
The setting being a college that is close to an old mine that had filled in with water to become Lake Limestone. A beautiful setting to some but as you read the book you will wonder is the beauty worth the danger.
The book itself opens with a prologue that will make you wonder about the college. It appears that a landslide, or quake, caused several things to fall into the lake. A couple of old miners show concern over the quake as they talk to each other and you could get a sense of foreboding from their discussions. The truth is, what you may think is coming is nothing close to what lies ahead in the book.
The main characters are a group of friends, Dale, Connie and Emilio. Emilio being the odd man out only because Connie and Dale are couple but Emilio fits in perfect with their group. Also some would see it odd that a popular kid like Dale would have the nervous Emilio as a friend, but it shows the type of person Dale really is. He is a young man who befriends a person not for who they may know but just for who they are. As you read the book you find out Dale and Emilio bonded over the old TV show, Mystery Science Theatre.
Dale is one of those characters that is not only well liked but is a bit impulsive and has no problem getting his friends into trouble for a cause. You get an idea of Dale’s influence when he talks a friend to streak through a woman’s dorm to help distract the campus police while Dale took a “swim”.
The swim leads to a tense moment for not just Dale but for his friends as well. Suddenly the campus not much later the campus is thrown into turmoil. Young girls are missing and possibly murdered. Worst of all one of our group has changed and isn’t quite acting himself.
The Quarry is a good mix of mystery and supernatural as you get to read along as things unravel within the characters world. As you progress you also get to learn more about the characters, and things they may not have known about themselves.
Mark Allan Gunnells’ does a great job of building the setting, intrigue, suspense and most of all his characters. It’s a story that many will enjoy as it includes some pop culture references as the before mentioned Mystery Science Theatre. The book has been published by Evil Jester Press. The one thing that some will find shocking after reading the book is, that this is Mark’s first novel. I say shocking as the book is put together in such a manner you’d believe others have come before it.