Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review of Wide Open by Deborah Coates

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.
The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment.

The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to.

As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.
As I am sitting here pondering what points I would like to talk about in my review for Wide Open, a word that I could use from the time that I opened up the package that it came in is, "ominous". As I had not heard about this title before, I was instantly intrigued by the foreboding cover. Ehhhhhhhhoooweewewewew... Jeepers, Fred, go pull around mystery mobile. Scooby Doo? Where are you? Well, this little novel here doesn't need the cast of Mystery, Inc., but who doesn't love a little Rooby Roo? Straight out of the box we are introduced to our main character Hallie Michaels and as the book description reads that is Sergeant Hallie Michaels. Hallie is coming home from the war in Afghanistan for ten days. She is told her sister is dead, an apparent suicide, but Hallie knows in her gut that it couldn't be that. Ms. Coates did something really great here by driving the point home from the very beginning that Hallie is only going to be home for ten days. This for me kicked the story into hyper-suspense mode as how do you solve the mystery of your sisters death in only ten days? I mean, come on... get moving already! Something that I have read a few of my fellow reviewers comment on in this story that cannot by any means be overlooked is the backdrop. I have never been to South Dakota, but, I had a really great friend once that grew up there and had described to me on several occasions the type of scenery that he had come from. Our minds fill in made up pictures of these conversations, but as I was reading Wide Open, I felt like I was actually there with Hallie, like I was just another one of her... AHHH! Not going to spoil... Seriously, Ms Coates has a great ability to put you right in the book with her vivid words describing the surroundings. The prairie, the Bob as is it's called is totally imaginable and exactly what you would think of in a relatively small town out in the middle of a seeming nowhere. Pete and his friends even have their own Straw Dog feel to the atmosphere. After all this I think the thing I was most impressed with by the novel was Hallie and the way the picture of her developed for me in my head as I was following her throughout the story. It is a real up-close and personal characterization as your stuck in her head for most of the novel and that does sooooo well for this book. Hallie was a believable character that you can feel compassion for. She is openly strong willed because she has to be. Always holding it together for the sake of everyone else or just maybe appearance, but while we the readers get a closer look inside her ideas and thoughts we know that she is one step away from breaking down. This above all else in the story, kept me reading. Not that we can forget about the mystery of her sisters death. The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question element opens the door for our author to plinko the pages of this book right into its very own urban fantasy... wait, urban? No, rural fantasy! Ladies and gentlemen we have a whole new genre of books! Make the the signs Books-a Million! RURAL FANTASY! Bring on the cowboy hat wearing, tractor driving disembodied space alien heads! Actually, this book doesn't have those, but what a cool idea huh?

That about sums up my review of Wide Open by Deborah Coates. Too much more and I will be giving away plot points that makes this novel what it is, a great new addition to the paranormal urban/rural fantasy, mystery that I think will be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. Whatever your tastes in reading are, Wide Open will surely have something tor you to enjoy. Thank-you Ms. Coates for a great read that I am happily recommending to friends and family.

4 out of 5 Kitty whiskers, because in the hearts and minds of the innocent, they are the strings that bind friendships to make them last through... Well... to stand the unforgivable things we do...

Now here is a little Metallica with The Unforgiven II, for all the unspoken reasons...


  1. I'm really loving your rating system.

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