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Posted December 9, 2009
CoalEnergy Mining Engineer Steve Dawson is excited about his promotion to VP of Operations for Hemlock Coal-it's the opportunity he's been hoping for and it will be a chance to start over after his recent break-up with a long-time girlfriend. The down side is that he'll be relocating to a remote corner of Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, which is a world unto itself. From the very first day, Dawson rubs the locals the wrong way, voicing plans to implement a safety program and a stricter maintenance schedule for the mine. He doesn't know he's made enemies until he narrowly avoids an accident caused by a cut brake line. What he doesn't know is that the mine is at the center of a private war, led by none other than the brother of the Governor of Kentucky, a retired two-star general, who is using the mine to stockpile military grade weapons with the help of several Hemlock employees. Dawson's world begins to collapse when a sniper rifle and ammunition are found on CoalEnergy's corporate jet and he is forced into a partnership with the FBI when the rifle is used to kill an alleged Al Qaeda cell leader, as well as an FBI agent. With the FBI chomping at the bit to arrest him, a reporter who will do anything for an exclusive and a retired general with an axe to grind, Dawson wonders if he'll survive living in Appalachia.
"Guns and Miners" by Dale Walker takes the reader into the mysterious world of Appalachia. The setting for the novel is in Eastern Kentucky mining country, ironically in a town called Hazard, where everyone is related to everyone else and visitors stick out like a sore thumb. I learned quite a lot about the mining industry from this book and it is readily apparent that the author knows his material. I am impressed by the fact that the typical stereotypes, while utilized, are not overdone to the point of being offensive, i.e., the opinion that such communities protect their own at all costs. The novel is quite short, being only 227 pp. but it starts off fast and doesn't stop until the final page. I am pleased to give this book five of five stars and look forward to more by this author.