Sonny McGuiness

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Sonny McGuiness is a character in the novel EarthCore by author Scott Sigler. The character is initially introduced in episode two of the podcast version of EarthCore and chapter one of the print version.

Character Background

Sonny is a middle aged prospector who makes his living by locating valuable mineral sites and selling the information to large corporations. He has forty years of experience prospecting in the American southwest, quickly learning that he could make much more money finding the sites and selling the location to corporations than being a miner himself. He is a shrewd and straight dealer when it comes to the business of prospecting, ensuring that his findings are validated through purity tests done exclusively through Herbert Darker of Darker Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sonny’s largest find came when he located the fabled Silver Spring. He had looked for this storied spring twenty years prior, scanning the Snake, Black and San Francisco ranges, but to no avail. It wasn’t until his chance meeting with Dennis the Deadhead, that he received the exact location. Over a drink, Dennis] confides in Sonny that many local Indians know of the location, however all are warned off against the mountain where it lies. Sonny learns that most Indians wouldn't walk on the mountain much less go to the Spring. Ignoring the warning, Sonny goes to the location and obtains a sample from the Spring, all the while feeling an unmistakable feeling of unease while at the mountain. When Sonny learns from Herbert Darker that the spring yields rich platinum rather than the believed silver, Sonny is ecstatic. Little does Sonny know that Darker breaks their confidentiality agreement and immediately tells Connell Kirkland, of EarthCore, of the find. Kirland uses threats and ulterior means to get exclusive rights to the Spring from unwilling Sonny. After sixteen years Sonny only trusted Herbert Darker with analyzing his find samples, he was betrayed.

After meeting with Kirland, they agree on an upfront fee of one million dollars up front two percent of the profits for the life of the mine. Sonny also negotiates to be able to be on site for the dig, access to the financials for the dig and is asked by Kirland to help with research on the area. Kirland gives Sonny a Cadillac DeVille and an assistant by the name of Cho Takachi


Outward Appearance

Sonny is described as being African American and 62 years old, having an bright white, unkempt beard and the appearance of having a reverse mask on his face due to frequent use of sunglasses and long hours in the sun. His face is cracked and wrinkled, which led to the younger prospectors calling him by the nickname of Saddlebags. He is further described as having two white false teeth and standing just over 5 feet 5 inches tall (approximately 1.65 meters).


It is easy to assume Sonny’s personality based on his appearance, however he is more faceted and interesting upon examination. However, above all, Sonny’s personality and life revolves around his insatiable curiosity.

Loner and Naturalist

Sonny spent most of his time alone and is described as the kind of person who usually drinks alone. He knew the southwest well, having spent over forty years traversing it for mining opportunities. He only really enjoyed the company of Native American Indians knew the land and people so well, he could guess the tribe of a Native American Indian by just looking at them. When Dennis the Deadhead told Sonny of the Silver Spring and the inexplicable feeling of doom the location emanated, Sonny easily located the site and also felt that feeling. He noticed no signs of wildlife on the mountain and labeled Funeral Mountain. Yet still he pursued the site for profit. Sonny also made it clear that he did not believe in the modern technilogical methods that the young prospectors used to locate mine sites. He believed on researching the land and understanding it's history reaped more benefits than new methods of mining exploration.


Sonny showed signs of being superstitious. While exploring the mountains for the Silver Spring, Sonny carried a Hopi Indian charm purchased especially for the trip. He also took along with him his lucky pie tin which he hung from his belt. When Sonny found the Silver Spring, he chalked it up to luck in happening across the information from Dennis the Deadhead.


High Life

Sonny’s appearance belies the successfulness of his prospecting business. As Kayla Meyers uncovers while researching blackmail information on Sonny, he owns a home in Reno, Nevada worth $700,000USD and had $13,000USD in the bank. In about thirty years of prospecting (1970-2002), Sonny earned $7 million dollars and always paid his taxes on his earnings. He owned 2002 Humvee, a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a 1979 Corvette all paid in full.

In addition, to the earnings, house and cars, Sonny routinely traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to enjoy the warm weather and warm company.


In researching information to blackmail Sonny with, Kayla Meyers uncovered that Sonny was quite a philanthropist. He had donated $100,000USD each to the Wildlife Fund and the United Negro College Fund. He also donated $200,000USD to the Paralyzed Veterans of America and $300,000USD to the a Brigham Young University Geological Department.


Sonny had never married and seemed to live the life of a loner, however Kayla Meyers uncovered that he has three children from three different mothers. He put all three through college having two of the children go on to become doctors and one a social worker with a Ph.d.


Sonny had an old conviction on his file for felony assault and battery. He spent time in jail from 1975 to 1976 for that offense. He also had seven arrests for solicitation of prostitutes.

See Also