When a traumatized mining foreman is placed under the psychiatric care of Dr. Vincent Armstrong, the doctor thinks...

Review || The Tunnelers by Geoff Gander

When a traumatized mining foreman is placed under the psychiatric care of Dr. Vincent Armstrong, the doctor thinks he has started just another shift. But as the victim begins to remember what drove him temporarily insane, Armstrong’s interest becomes personal, and he makes a series of discoveries that threaten to tear apart his carefully constructed scientific view of the world, and show in horrifying clarity that his patient is anything but delusional. 

As Armstrong’s world falls apart, his recovering patient learns that he has not escaped the horrors he encountered underground, and that no place on earth is truly safe from the “Tunnelers.”


The Tunnelers tells the story through documentation of one Dr. Vincent Armstrong, a community psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care Center, after his disappearance. We are told from the start that the police who have seen the document, dismissed it as being immaterial to the investigation. However, the narrator believes differently. 

Forty-eight pages. That's all The Tunnelers encompasses. When I first saw that little tidbit, I presumed it was a typo. It was not. In those few short pages, Geoff Gander has given us a great example of a piece that builds suspense without having to rely on blood and carnage. It's certainly not heavy on character building, but the beauty of it is that it doesn't have to be. It's an interesting style to read the story in hindsight through Dr. Armstrong's documentation and one I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy. However, the first few pages quickly drew — and kept — my attention. There's a chilling and uncanny sense of discovery as we strive to discover what befell Dr. Armstrong and his patient. 

I particularly liked the tie in of the Mattigami Legend of the "The Tunnelers" or "Those-who-dig-in-darkness". It gave the story more depth and authenticity. Whether or not you believe as the tribe did in beings that live in "great houses underground", one thing is for certain: If you are underground in your basement, and you hear the muffled sound of voices, you may want to get to higher ground. 

Prior to becoming a published author, Geoff was heavily involved in the roleplaying game community and wrote several game products - some of which have been published by Expeditious Retreat Press.

His first short novel, The Tunnelers, was published in 2011 by Solstice Publishing. He has since been published by Metahuman Press, AE SciFi, KnightWatch Press, McGraw-Hill, Third Flatiron Publishing, and Dusty Wallace. He primarily writes horror, but is willing to give anything a whirl.

Geoff lives in South Mountain, where a lovely and captivating stone-carving, bagpipe-playing witch also happens to reside.