Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Wide Open by Deborah Coates

by Deborah Coates
Release Date: March 13th, 2012
2012 Tom Doherty Associates
Hard Copy Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-765-32898-4
Genre: Fiction / Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from TOR/Forge

3.5 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
Wide Open has an interesting paranormal twist to it that I really enjoyed as I can easily be swayed by anything that has ghosts or witches in the material.   I found this novel to be a very imaginative and creative thriller set in a small town with some pretty interesting dynamics and some very interesting characters and personalities.

One of the highlights for me was definitely the setting as I enjoyed the dynamics of this small town world and the interesting interchanges between the characters, some of whom Hallie has not seen in over six years.  Coming home on leave from Afghanistan in search for answers to her sister's mysterious death (she just happens to see her sister's ghost and knows her death was not suicide), I found the interactions amongst people she hasn't seen in a long while to be quite interesting.  I liked learning, through Hallie's eyes, how things have changed since the last time she was home, and her struggle to adapt to those changes when in her eyes she remembers things how they used to be.

The writing style was sharp and descriptive and I could imagine myself on the plains, feeling hot, cold, tired, as Hallie was experiencing those feelings simply through the imagery. And the author was great at not overwhelming the author with too many descriptions of the ghosts so the paranormal stuff didn't quite take over the regular story as sometimes the paranormal aspect has a tendency to do.  I liked how Ms. Coates didn't waver with her concept of the ghosts either, and they remained elusive but always there, enticing the reader to want to learn the truth about what was going on.

So you're probably wondering where my complaint in this novel lies?  It has to do with Hallie herself.  I couldn't connect with her character as I found her to be quite abrasive and cold, more willing to fight everyone rather than talk to people.  Part of the problem is that I didn't quite understand where the anger was coming from; her experiences in Afghanistan were brushed over although there were hints at some important events that happened there.  I wasn't quite sure how to take her and I definitely didn't like how she treated people she called 'friends'. While definitely loyal and fierce to those she loves, her attitude was sometimes a bit of a turn-off and I found myself more interested in some of the secondary characters rather than Hallie herself.

Wide Open was an interesting, quick, and suspenseful read.  With elements of the supernatural, the premise had some original moments and I really enjoyed many of the secondary characters that were present.   I would recommend it to anyone interested in urban fantasy, and look forward to reading more novels by this author; dare I say, more Hallie Michaels' novels?

Giveaway:  One lucky reader will win one (1) copy of Wide Open.
1) Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
2) Contest closes 08 April 2012.
3) Write a comment leaving your email address in order to be entered.


  1. I've had my eye on this one for the last month. Sounds very promising!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. I have heard about this book. Your review has convinced to add it to my TBR list. Thanks

  3. This one sounds really great! I love stories with ghosts in them. I am putting this one on the wish list. Thanks for the chance to win.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  4. Hope I win; thanks for the chance!

  5. Sounds good. Thanks for the chance!!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  6. The mix of contemporary with the supernatural sounds great to me. There are a lot of things in this book that attract me. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  7. I am very interested to read this one. THanks for the giveaway!:)

    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

  8. I'd love to read this! It sounds good! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  9. Yes, I love mystery books that have a paranormal twist! That's such a cool idea, and I always find those to be some of the most interesting :) Especially when there's a twist thrown in there. I can definitely understand what you mean by being put off by the character, I find it hard to enjoy a book too if I dislike the MC.

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  10. It looks like a good story.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com