The Mouth of the Mine - Book Review

The Mouth of the Mine

Author: Caleb Posten
Genre: Fiction - Thriller - General
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: August 13, 2020
ISBN-10: 1684335345
ISBN-13: 978-1-68433-534-3

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Book Review of :  The Mouth of the Mine


Jackson, Wyoming, is the picturesque setting for The Mouth of the Mine, by Caleb Posten. The psychological thriller quickly engages the reader with a short back-story; the murder of Mike Jefferies, one of many persons who have mysteriously gone missing in the mountainous public lands. 

The rapidly developing plot revolves around ten-year-old Alistair Evans, called Al.  Al, and his wealthy, recently retired parents, have moved from New York City and purchased a seven-bedroom western-style mansion to turn into a bed and breakfast.  The expansive property, which had belonged to the Jefferies, adjoins the public lands. The murder narrative is pushed into the background as the character of Al, and his parents are fully developed. Al is a scrawny, lanky, timid boy with an intelligent, curious mind. He and his father, Wayne Evans, are intrigued with the western culture of the area; however, Al's curiosity quickly gets him into trouble. 

Without definitive parental boundaries, Al crosses the property fence line chasing butterflies. He also crosses into the nightmare world of a manic gold miner, Cyrus Mclanster. He had watched Al "with the threatening eyes of a hawk". Using techniques of friendship, secrecy, and promises of treasures, Cyrus ensnares Al into his world.  Brainwashed and trained to follow Cyrus, Al digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole that could sprout evil.

Posten's ability to create visual imagery is evident in the miner's cave-like gold mine. Al "felt like he was standing in the ribcage of a dusty old snake… eerie and cold". "The sinister shadows dug deep into the grottos of his eyes." Al fears Cyrus's manic sneer, his stormy grey eyes, and rotten, chipped teeth. And his stink of body odor. But Al's curiosity and fascination with his new partner/mentor overcome his dread. Cyrus becomes Al's hero.  Posten uses dialect to develop Cyrus's character; "you’ll be diggin’ a hole for yaself, if ya know what I mean.  Ya do know what I mean, dontcha, partner?” 

 An interest in mining history unearths the story of William DeLaney, a miner in the 1800s who searched for gold in the area.  Al questions the meaning of wealth as his greed grows. He contrasts his family’s wealth with Cyus’ spartan, survivalist existence. He asks his father, “what is wealth”? What does it mean to be rich? His father wisely tells him that being wealthy involves “mature moderation” in spending. Unfortunately, Al can’t distinguish right from wrong when buried in greed.

The themes of loss of innocence affected affection, and the thought patterns of youth make a challenging story. Posten presents a believable, speculative fiction that would interest many young adults. Books serve as windows and mirrors for adolescents. Novels like The Mouth of the Mine are a reflection of the experiences young adults have lived and also a window into the darker experiences that they can live and learn from vicariously.  Posten’s novel is a gleefully dizzy ride.  

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Caleb Posten

A writer's digest award winner for his short fiction, Caleb was born and raised in Wyoming, before moving to Texas to pursue a career in writing. His love for, and knowledge of, the outdoors can be seen through his stories. With his attention to detail, rich characters, and his vivid imagery, Caleb brings a piece of the mountain life to his readers with his debut novel, "The Mouth of the Mine."

Visit for more information on Caleb Posten


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