Wide Open by Deborah Coates

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Coates’ prose is crisp, spare, and powerful, and moves the story along briskly. A terrific debut
-Chris East


Wide Open by Deborah Coates is the first book in a series of "startlingly original" (Booklist) contemporary fantasy novels set against the sweeping prairies and desolate byways of the American Midwest, creating "a rural backwater where the normal and paranormal seamlessly merge." (Publishers Weekly)

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.

Wide Open has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, appeared on Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading List for first novels, and was chosen as a Tor.com Reviewer's Choice Pick for Favorite Book of the year. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction claimed that it is "one of the best first novels I've read in a long time" and Library Journal agrees that "fans of urban fantasies should enjoy the kick-ass [heroine]."


About Deborah Coates

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DEBORAH COATES lives in Ames, Iowa, and works for Iowa State University. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov's and Strange Horizons, as well as Year's Best Fantasy 6, Best Paranormal Romance, and Best American Fantasy.
Published March 13, 2012 by Tor Books. 305 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Wide Open
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1


Below average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jan 22 2012

An interesting plot and compelling characters are dragged down by unwieldy dialogue and a climax in which the action is not adequately explained, suggesting there will be a sequel.

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Publishers Weekly

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Jan 16 2012

Coates makes her premise believable through her canny and credible depiction of life in a rural backwater where the normal and paranormal seamlessly merge.

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Reviewed by Alex Brown on Mar 19 2012

...a fantastic piece of fiction that has singlehandedly pulled Urban/Rural Fantasy out of the trenches of cheap, lazy paranormal romance mass trades.

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Vibrant Nation

Reviewed by Lesa Holstine on Apr 05 2012

Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates the combination of mystery and fantasy. It’s a winner.

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Lit Stack

Reviewed by TS Tate on Mar 21 2012

Equal parts thriller and mystery with a unique supernatural bent, Wide Open will have readers clamoring for a re-read and with itchy fingers eager to get their hands on the next installment.

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My Bookish Ways

Reviewed by Blogger on Mar 12 2012

The writer’s staccato writing style served the story well, and her grasp on small town life is fascinating,

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Book Equals

Reviewed by Kelly Michele on Mar 13 2012

Coates’ writing style easily absorbs you into the story and, like any great book, makes you believe that you are experiencing everything the heroine is going through.

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Chris East

Reviewed by Chris East on Apr 16 2012

Coates’ prose is crisp, spare, and powerful, and moves the story along briskly. A terrific debut

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Reader Rating for Wide Open

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