Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Wide Open by Deborah Coates

From the Back Cover:

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 pushes for answers, she attracts more ghosts--local women who disappeared without a trace--and discovers a disturbing pattern. Now she needs to not just figure out what happened to Dell but to make sure no one else shares her fate, even as it becomes clear that someone who wields an unimaginable and ancient power is working against her, and will stop at nothing to prevent her from finding the truth.

My Thoughts:

A very imaginative chiller thriller combining some pretty cool elements--ghosts, the starkness of the prairie, the dynamics of small-town life, weather anomalies--for a spooky, fast-paced mystery. There's a hot cop, too :) The story clips along at a fast pace and features quite a few characters, all of which seem to either be hiding something or avoiding Hallie as she searches for answers in her sister's mysterious death. Only she seems to be the only person who thinks it's mysterious; everyone else accepts the explanation that she killed herself, and everyone seems to have connections to the new environmental company that's sprung up in Hallie's absence, Uku-Weber. Hallie quickly figures out that something is not right in her home town and that something is going on at Uku-Weber. Not only does she have a pile of ghosts haunting her and a couple of angry Uku-Weber guys stalking her, but the weather is acting crazy too. With everyone strangely apathetic to the circumstances, Hallie has no one to confide her suspicions to--no one except Boyd, the handsome deputy who desperately wants to help her but seems to have secrets of his own. Can Hallie lower her guard and accept his help in finding the truth before it's too late?

This was a quick, suspenseful read, but there were a few issues that kept me from enjoying the story to the fullest. I had a hard time connecting with Hallie. She's very abrasive and she holds everyone at arm's length--even the reader. I couldn't really understand why she acted the way she did, and I never felt like I got to know her. So it made it difficult to really root for her when I wanted to slap her at least once in every scene. I also thought the writing style was a bit rough--lots of stops and starts and em-dashes and half-realized thoughts. In a way it matches the subject matter and fits Hallie's personality, but it also made for some choppy reading. But this story is refreshingly different from anything else I've read lately, and I loved the wide open prairie setting. It created a perfect backdrop and really helped bring the story to life.

My Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

*Please note: Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my unbiased thoughts and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.

Stay Tuned--Deborah Coates will be here later this week
with a Q&A and an International Giveaway!


  1. I'm just not sure about those ghosts.

  2. I've been wondering about this one. Sounds like one I might enjoy in spite of its flaws. Sounds like an interesting mix, a thriller with bits of paranormal thrown in.


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