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Wide Open (Hallie Michaels) [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Coates
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

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 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]."

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Wide Open:

Wide Open is a good read--full of sound and fury, ghosts and fire. A tough, tenacious heroine who relies on guts and brains rather than awesome cosmic superpowers. I loved it. Deborah Coates is a storyteller in the best sense of the word. (Patricia Briggs, New York Times bestselling author of River Marked)

Twin Peaks meets Dean Koontz... Deborah Coates offers a pitch-perfect sense of place, an uncanny knack for dialogue, and a complex heroine who's mad, sad, tenacious, and tough--exactly the person you'd pick to investigate your own murder. (Sharon Shinn, author of Troubled Waters)

A great blast of fresh air. From the intimate story of a young woman haunted by forces both natural and supernatural, to the grand scope of godlike elementals, Deborah Coates demonstrates a sure storytelling hand.... Wide Open is the impressive debut of a distinct new voice in fantasy. (Greg van Eekhout, author of Norse Code)

Wide Open lures us into the dangerous world of Sergeant Hallie Michaels and her alarmingly real ghosts.... Vivid, suspenseful, and filled with intensely convincing characters, this novel is an unforgettable homecoming. (A. M. Dellamonica, award-winning author of Indigo Springs)

About the Author

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (March 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005XMK7ZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,874 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, eerie, and very atmospheric! March 16, 2012
Wide Open is a compelling, character-driven mystery with a splash of supernatural that will have you hooked from page one with its evocative and flavorful prose, hot South Dakota atmosphere, and brilliantly complex characters. With her excellent storytelling, Deborah Coates smoothly weaves ghosts, secrets, and magic into a heart pounding tale of one woman's quest to uncover the mystery behind her sister's death. Deeply moving and bone chilling, it's a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

The plot line centers around Hallie Michaels, a soldier in Afghanistan, who arrives in Rapid City on a ten day compassionate leave to attend her sister's funeral. Hallie's sister, Dell, wrecked her car up on a tree. There was no one else around. The local police called it a suicide, but Hallie knows better. She's convinced that her sister would never have taken her own life. Something else must have happened, and Hallie is determined to find out what. And she only has 10 days to do that. Not only is her time extremely limited, she's also haunted by ghosts - of her sister, of a fellow soldier/friend from Afghanistan, and a local woman who disappeared without a trace. Hallie soon learns that there's something disturbing going on in the seemingly peaceful town of Rapid City, and she is the only one who can discover the truth.

I had a wonderful time reading Wide Open. I felt entirely consumed by this book, and the feeling was simply wonderful. First of all, I really loved Deborah's expressive and powerful writing style. It was both beautiful and creepy. Abundant in details, vibrant descriptions, atmospheric scenes and settings. The author really did a fabulous job fleshing out the lead protagonist of this story.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An impressive debut March 13, 2012
Hallie Michaels, a soldier in Afghanistan, is sent home to Prairie City, South Dakota, for ten days of compassionate leave when her sister Dell dies in a car accident. Rumor has it Dell committed suicide, but Hallie doesn't buy it. And since her own recent brush with death in the war, Hallie can see ghosts, including Dell's. Hallie is determined to find out why Dell really died and enable her sister to find peace -- and she's only got ten days to do it.

Hallie is a fantastic protagonist: sympathetic yet flawed, honorable but full of jagged edges. She is thrust back into the civilian world at the beginning of Wide Open and finds that she's just not used to it anymore. Her temper burns a little too hot. She is annoyed when friends do things that would be foolish in the war zone, such as when her friend Brett moves too slowly. She's not sure she remembers, anymore, how to navigate the rituals of small-town small talk. Deborah Coates uses lots of little touches like this to bring Hallie to life in three dimensions.

Prairie City is as complex as the woman returning to it. I had a few reservations going into Wide Open; I was worried it would turn out to be one of the "cute quaint small town" books where a heroine returns to her hometown and realizes that it's perfect and all other ways of life are miserable by comparison. That's simply not a genre that does much for me. But that's not what Coates does. Prairie City has its good points and its flaws, like any real place; it's this balance that makes it feel like a real place. There's a lot of human warmth in Prairie City (though it's often hidden under a layer of stoicism), the place has a desolate beauty, and it's easy to see why someone could love living there. At the same time, it can be oppressive.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Contemporary Fantasy - With A Twist March 16, 2012
When I was invited to participate in the blog tour for Deborah Coates' debut WIDE OPEN, I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't heard much (anything) about this book before I received the synopsis in my email. Well, it called to me and told me, "Read this book!" The plot, the setting, the ideas - the synopsis is really good in so many ways. I heartily accepted Tor's offer and received my copy of WIDE OPEN and dove in.

WIDE OPEN is the story of young soldier Hallie, a South Dakota native who has come home on bereavement leave after the death of her sister Dell. The police think Dell committed suicide, but Hallie disagrees. The fact that she sees her sister's ghost - among others - just makes her that much more desperate to investigate what really happened to her sister. What she finds out is something that involves ancient powers, disappearances, and a company with sinister intentions. Along with sheriff's deputy Boyd, Hallie ends up being the only person who can stop things before they hurt more people.

I admit, I am somewhat conflicted about this story. I think the biggest problem I had was with the main character, Hallie. She was almost insufferable. Not only is she rude and brash to the people in her life, but she keeps everyone - including the reader - away, keeping her arms crossed and her mind closed. Likewise, I think the characterization in the story was somewhat off, comprising multiple characters that seemed only like a semblance of a person. Even Boyd seemed slightly off. But Hallie was by far the worst character, and the one that almost prevented me from getting into the story.

But the story... The plot is great, the setting is amazing, and the author's vivid description of the South Dakota prairies is thrilling. I might want to vacation there now!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a little different
Not my normal book that I would choose but could stop once I started to read it. Hope it never turns to a movie or series.. could never live up to the book!!
Published 7 months ago by shannon wolf
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you!
Published 8 months ago by Amy Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
surprising, and fascinating
Published 9 months ago by Pat MacHugh
2.0 out of 5 stars Molasses and Heinz Ketchup
The plot and story seemed promising, however the characters never seemed to develop and the protagonist seemed to be assertive one minute then meek the next. Read more
Published 10 months ago by JOHN DICKINSON
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing supernatural murder mystery
I found this book to be a real page-turner. The plot was nicely twisty, the characterizations very good, and the atmosphere was brilliantly well done- perfectly moody and often... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cissa
5.0 out of 5 stars strong opening for the series
I received book 3 in this series from the publisher to review but decided I wanted to go back and read the previous volumes first. I'm glad I did. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sneaky Burrito
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
I loved the way that Coates showed the protagonist's anger. The characters and the ghosts were all very believable. Read more
Published 12 months ago by adrianne
5.0 out of 5 stars great opening story to a new series!
this is the first Deborah Coates Novel i have had the oppurtunity to read. I will be on the lookout for the next book in the series and other works by Deborah!
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good First Book
This is a very good first book and I ran right out and bought the second one! I always like it when the ghostly plane interacts with reality on a regular basis. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Read It All
3.0 out of 5 stars Wide open
I liked this book well enough. It does leave you hoping there is a sequel. You do wonder how Martin understands magic. Not enough info on this for me.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Writer. Owned by dogs.

Deborah Coates writes science fiction and fantasy. Her first novel, Wide Open, was published by Tor in March, 2012. Her second novel, Deep Down, which features many of the same characters as Wide Open, was published in March, 2013. The third novel in the series, Strange Country, was published in May, 2014. Wide Open has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel for 2012 and is on the 2012 Locus Recommended Reading List. Her short stories have been published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Strange Horizons,, and Best American Fantasy 2, among others.

Deborah grew up on a small farm in western New York and currently lives in central Iowa. She has been a farmhand, a factory worker, a statistician, a researcher, an educator and is currently an IT professional. She has two dogs, both German Pinschers. Blue tracks, does obedience and rally and prowls the back yard looking for Things. Gracie theoretically does the same.

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