Holy Ground

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
248 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2015
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Karl F. Hollenbach was born in 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. and M. Ed. from the University of Louisville. His esoteric and metaphysical articles have been published in Japan and England as well as the United States. He and his artist wife live on Dunsinane Hill Farm near Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Also by Karl F. Hollenbach


    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Holy Ground is a historical mystery written by Karl F. Hollenbach. David Crist is an attorney whose plans to spend Saturday with his wife and son are put on hold after he gets a message from his secretary that his Uncle Bob needs to consult with him on a professional matter. As he takes the two-hour trip up to Holy Ground, his uncle's land, he remembers hearing his grandfather tell him stories about the Civil War. When he gets to Holy Ground, he can hear voices inside, but no one answers the door. He finally gets inside but Uncle Bob and his aunt are nowhere to be found. The coffee in their cups is still warm, and a few shards of ice are floating in their water. David calls the police who seem unconcerned about the sudden disappearance.

Karl F. Hollenbach's historical mystery, Holy Ground, is a marvelous trip into two eras in the past. There's David's story which is set in 1935, and that of Joshua Applegate, a young Union soldier who enlists in 1862. Hollenbach makes both times come alive with his fluid and smooth historical storytelling. Applegate's story is particularly enjoyable as the reader witnesses the young man's coming of age and watches as he grows into a thoughtful and caring man. The two stories merge well in that house which Applegate built, with its Oriental carpet bequeathed to him by an older neighbor, Martin Talmadage who sold Applegate his land and became his mentor and friend. Holy Ground is a richly textured and compelling read that will thrill mystery buffs and historical fiction readers alike. It's highly recommended.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

In Holy Ground by Karl F. Hollenbach, attorney David Crist is told he must go to Holy Ground, his uncle’s farm. He makes the long drive from Louisville to Kentucky and on the way starts to think about some of the tales he was told by his grandfather, tales about the Civil War. Strangely, when he gets to Holy Ground, there is no sign of his aunt or uncle. A thorough search of the place turns up no clues as to their whereabouts. The story goes back to 1862 and the Battle of Munfordville between Confederate and Union soldiers. Colonel Joshua Applegate finds a chest in a wagon, stuffed full of $1 and $5 bills and he is ordered to take it to the Quartermaster. He is accompanied by a lieutenant who dies after a fall from his horse, and a sergeant who persuades Joshua that they should hide the money in a hole. The sergeant plans to leave Joshua in the hole with the money, but Josh escapes, kills the sergeant and carries on with the battle. But, after he is discharged, he finds he struggles to live with what he has done. What does all this have to do with David and the disappearance of his aunt and uncle? Where does Joshua fit in to the present day story?

Holy Ground by Karl F. Hollenbach was something very different. Highly original story line and great plot to it. It was like reading a historical account written from the first person and I found it one of the most interesting and engaging books I have read. A lot of work has obviously gone into writing this story and it really does show. There are two stories here, entwined together, and all becomes clear at the end. Excellent book, top marks.

Valerie Rouse

Holy Ground is an interesting book about David Crist who was summoned by his uncle to visit him urgently. Whilst driving to the property called Holy Ground, David began reminiscing about the stories of the Civil War he was privy to as a young boy. His grandfather served in the Civil War back in 1861 so he was accustomed to all the many detailed accounts of those war experiences. The previous land owner of his uncle’s property, Joshua Applegate, also served as a soldier in the Union Army. Upon his arrival at the property, David couldn’t find his aunt and uncle anywhere in the house or barn.

Holy Ground is a compelling story outlining the influence of historical events on a southern district. Author Karl Hollenbach inserted numerous intimate historical details. The language is semi-formal to reflect the serious nature of the plot. I love the fact that the author chose to juxtapose the chapters with the present and the past occurrences. This tactic emphasizes the true importance of past experiences on future events. It can help to influence or discourage persons from committing themselves to particular goals or aspirations. The use of poetry at the beginning of the chapters makes the story more appealing to the reader. I love the attention to detail that the author provided, especially with references to the Civil War activities. The contrast between the tactics of the two opposing cavalries was also an interesting feature of the novel. I enjoyed reading Holy Ground and I recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction.